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Your baby has an immune system that is still evolving; they can catch infections and diseases from almost anywhere. This is why you need to be careful about how to help keep your child healthy. One of the most overlooked germ nests that your children are exposed to are their clothes. For young children, just washing clothes in the washing machine does not do enough to clean their clothes from bacteria that their under-developed immune systems are yet too weak to combat.
How to Prepare to Wash your Baby’s Clothes?
The first step towards cleaning and disinfecting your child’s clothes is to understand how important washing your baby’s clothes for the first time is. Washing the child’s clothes for the first time requires preparation. Before you prepare your child’s clothes for a wash, it is important to remember that you must wash their clothes for the first time before they wear it and not after. This is because these clothes are exposed to a lot of harmful bacteria from before buying them to during the journey or even at home. Here are some things to keep in mind when washing your baby’s clothes:
- Check the brand label for washing instructions. This will help you understand the material and the manner in which it can react to a wash.
- Be wary about the kind of detergent used. If you can help it use non-chemical laundry soap that is specially made for infants.
- Pre-soak in water. If the material allows it, the pre-soak in hot water will kill a lot of the germs.
- Wash the baby clothes separately. This way, the bacteria from the other clothes do not transfer to the baby’s clothes.
- Soak in warm water after the wash. This ensures that the detergent and other allergenic bacteria are killed.
- Dry in the sun or in heat. Sunlight acts as a natural disinfectant. Ensure you dry your baby’s clothes in natural sunlight if possible, if not, ensure the clothes are dried in a clean, sterile room that has heat.
How to Hand Wash your Baby’s Clothes?
It is highly recommended that you hand wash your baby’s clothes rather than washing it in a washing machine. Most of you might be asking yourself how to wash newborn baby clothes? Here are a few easy steps to make sure you properly hand wash those baby clothes:
- Disinfect and clean your hands
Remember, the human hand is a source of bacteria, before handling your baby’s clothes sanitize and wash your hands thoroughly.
2. Measure the temperature of the water
While washing baby clothes, it is essential to check the water temperature. If you hand wash clothes in extreme heat, it could alter the integrity of your baby’s clothes causing rips and tears, additionally, extreme heat may cause you to burn your hands.
3. Use eco-friendly, non-chemical detergent
Remember, your body is extremely different from that of your newborn’s. Using regular detergents could damage your baby’s skin, cause allergic reactions and maybe even cut your baby’s skin. Ensure you use a detergent that is cleared for baby skin, making it non-chemical and eco-friendly is an additional safety measure.
4. Soak before and after the wash
Bacteria can build up before a wash, to ensure you kill most bacteria, soak your baby’s clothes in hot water before a wash for 30 minutes, wash and finally soak in warm water after the wash.
5. Dry the baby clothes
It is extremely important that you make sure that your baby’s clothes are completely dry. Dry in sunlight if possible but do not put damp clothes on your baby as it can cause fungal infections.
Tips to Machine Wash your Baby’s Clothes
While it is recommended that you hand wash your baby’s clothes, it can be time consuming and exhausting. For the parents who aren’t able to hand wash their baby’s clothes here are a few tips to machine wash your baby’s clothes.
- Wash the baby’s clothes before you wash yours
Washing machines can be a hotbed of bacteria, to avoid some of the bacteria from your clothes shifting to theirs, ensure the baby’s clothes are washed first.
2. Pre-soak with soap
A great way of ensuring that the clothes run a full cycle is by taking a bucket of water at the temperature of 35 degrees Celsius, adding a half cup of baby’s detergent and soaking it in there for half an hour before adding it to the machine.
3. Use the rinse option twice
To ensure the soap is fully removed from the fabric and the bacteria is washed off, run the rinse cycle two times. Once with the soap in the washing machine and another time with no soap or detergent, the second spin and rinse cycle should only be with water.
Remember, it is always helpful to ask your doctor how to wash baby clothes in the washing machine for more references and guidelines.
How can you Disinfect Baby’s Clothes?
It is important to not just wash but disinfect your baby’s clothes, here are a few ways you can disinfect your baby’s clothes.
- The first step in disinfecting your baby’s clothes is to identify and pre-clean potential stains. This is extremely important considering that most stains are protein based like meat or breast milk and that protein attracts the most dangerous kinds of bacteria. This must be done before you soak it. Ensure you scrub the stains with a disinfectant baby detergent that can be found in most pharmacies.
- Scrape off any drool, snot and other bodily fluid. This is because, like protein stains, bodily fluid is full of harmful bacteria. This can also be a breeding ground for bacteria that got your baby sick in the past. Scrub thoroughly with a detergent that has disinfectant and is baby safe. Do this before you pre-soak your baby’s clothes.
- Pre-soak with white wine vinegar. White wine vinegar is a proven disinfectant that is natural. Remember to add a cap or two of white wine vinegar with a bucket of water and then soak clothes for 30 minutes before putting it in the wash.
Precautions to take while Washing Infant’s Clothes
It is extremely important to understand that you need to take some major precautions before and while washing your infant’s clothes. Here are a few precautions to take while washing them:
- Do not use fabric softeners during a baby’s wash
- Don’t use drying paper with chemicals to dry your clothes
- Stay off chemical detergents
- Wash the baby’s nappies separately from their clothes
- Dry clothes in the sunlight
- In case of skin allergies, consult your doctor on special requirements when washing your child’s clothes
- Read the clothes washing instructions carefully for material integrity purposes
- Do not use strong fragrance products during the wash
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about washing your baby’s clothes.
1. Do I Need to Wash Baby Clothes Before Using it First Time?
Yes, it is safer to wash your baby’s clothes before using it the first time, this is because your baby’s clothes are exposed to numerous bacteria from the stores, production lines and other external elements before purchase.
2. Is it Safe to Use Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets?
No, Fabric Softener is a product used to make clothes much softer and is used along with detergents and is full of chemicals that can harm your baby’s skin and dryer sheets are used in order to reduce static electricity with clothes when dried in a dryer, these sheets also contain harmful chemicals for your baby’s skin. It is best to dry your baby’s clothes in natural sunlight or hang dry them. It is best to avoid washing baby clothes with fabric softener.
3. What to do if Baby has Skin Allergy?
If your baby has skin allergies, it is best to consult a doctor to understand the reason of a skin allergy, it is also recommended that you use special baby detergent for babies with skin allergies. These can be found in most pharmacies; your doctor may recommend some companies in case they feel the need to switch from the regular baby detergent.
It is important to never forget that chemicals can have drastic reactions on your baby’s skin, this means it can cause allergies and infections that result in rashes, scabs, scars and cuts. If you notice any of the above on your newborn, please consult a medical professional immediately. It is also extremely important not to use strong fragrance detergent on your clothes while nursing your baby. This is because the chemicals in your clothes can transfer to your baby. This can be further concerning due to the fact that when you carry your baby their mouths have access to your clothes, this means they could ingest these chemicals. Please do your research before picking a baby detergent to use for your baby’s clothes. Follow the mentioned instructions and remember to keep an eye on how your baby’s skin reacts to detergents. Different soaps can use different ingredients that react in various manners on your baby. Trial and error can help you narrow down and pick a specific detergent to use long term for your young one.