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4 reasons why you really wash baby clothes before use [+ washing tips]

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In this post, I'll tell you why you should always wash newborn baby clothes before use.

You often get a lot of baby clothes before you give birth. 

Between baby gifts and (often unworn) second chances from friends you often already build up a nice pile of clothes, and then the little one isn't even there!

4 reasons why you should wash baby clothes first

What expectant mothers often wonder is, do you really need to wash them all before you baby she wears?

And you have so many other things to do before the baby arrives!

We also have this post as a youtube video, but be sure to read on for some extra washing tips:

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Do I really have to wash baby clothes before use?

Well, I can give you the answer to that question right away.

Yes, you should really wash newborn baby clothes before your baby wears them. Both for new clothing and second-hand clothing that you receive.

Especially with second-hand clothes, it can be tempting to skip the laundry, but you don't know how long the clothes have been in storage where it collects all kinds of dust and possibly mold.

So it's best to wash those too.

Use a detergent that has been specially made for the best result. I personally think the best detergent for babies this Baby Giant (from White Giant).

Sometimes there are pests

With brand new baby clothes, washing is an important must.

Before clothing arrives at a store, it is often stored in large warehouses and can be exposed to many different insects and rodents.

These pests can get into boxes and baby clothes.

Baby clothes are often sprayed

Baby clothes are also often sprayed with formaldehyde before shipping. This is done to maintain the “fresh” appearance of the clothing.

Chemicals are not something you want on your baby's sensitive skin. Washing new clothes will also soften them and make them feel better on your baby's sensitive skin.

Gives a new, fresh scent

All babies should wear the newly cleaned clothes that smell ultra fresh, right?

Baby detergents like Dreft are gentle on babies' skin, and Dreft has a nice, subtle clean scent.

When do you wash your baby clothes?

Washing your baby clothes is definitely something you want to do prior to your baby's arrival as there is little time to do it in those first few weeks once he is there.

Wash a few baby clothes every week and it will all be fresh and clean and ready for when your baby arrives.

If you need help, ask a friend to come over for a baby clothes wash and fold party.

It will be fun to sniff through all the clothes and the laundry will be done much faster with an extra pair of hands.

I wouldn't do it earlier than 16 weeks in advance.

Baby clothes that have already been washed, fine. But it also collects some dust in your own closet, and then it is best to wait with it until he or she is really almost there.

Wash clothing as well as hydrophilic diapers and all bedding

You should definitely wash baby clothes, blankets and other washable items that come into contact with your baby's skin.

It is not necessarily necessary to do it before your boy or girl is born, but that helps in all the hectic time.

In any case, it is a must to do it before wearing it or they go to sleep in it.

Why is washing clothes so important for babies?

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Why? Baby's brand new birthday suit hasn't hardened yet. The skin is sensitive and the finishing, spray and exposures of dust and pests in the storage of new clothes can irritate the baby's virgin skin.

What was your new baby clothes with?

It's not enough to just put all the baby's stuff in the washing machine and throw in your favorite lavender-scented soap. Use a gentle, baby-friendly detergent that does not contain dyes or perfumes (fragrances) as they can also irritate the skin.

Whether you use a baby-specific cleanser or a gentle everyday solution that leaves out these potential irritants, you can choose.

I myself choose Baby Reus for my little ones.

I also often use White Reus myself and I like it fine, but Baby Reus is specially made for the sensitive skin of your baby.

You can do it buy cheaply in bulk here to save a little on costs.

Some moms double-rinse new baby items. I didn't and my daughter was never bothered, but not every baby is the same and some have more sensitive skin than others.

Can I put baby clothes in the dryer?

Baby clothes can also be tumble-dried, depending on what the label says for the type of fabric, of course. However, when drying the clothes, skip the fabric softener and dryer sheets.

How do you best wash your baby clothes?

Baby clothes require frequent washing due to messy food, accidents and playing outside, all of which can lead to stains and odors.

However, a baby's sensitive skin and nose require that you use special clothing cleansers to avoid irritation and discomfort for your child.

In addition, you should be extra careful with washing and drying to extend the life of your baby clothes.

I have three methods for washing your baby clothes here.

Method 1 - Normal cleaning

check the tag of baby clothes

Read the instructions.

The structure of your baby clothes may require special treatment for the best wash and can often be washed with your normal laundry.

Check the tag on each item of baby clothes and note washing temperatures, drying procedures, recommended cleaning agents, and so on.

Pajamas and nightwear are sometimes made of flame retardant material.

This material usually requires special cleaning to maintain its flame retardant properties, so take extra care when checking labels on sleepwear.

Sort your baby clothes

Sort your baby clothes. Divide all garments into smaller amounts of white, light and dark colors.

Keep flame-retardant garments separate to make sure you don't wash them with regular laundry, as this can ruin the fire-resistant properties of those garments.

If there are differences in the temperature at which you should wash the clothes, sort these clothes in a different pile.

You should always wash cloth diapers in a separate load, but you may want to consider washing them with towels to balance the load of your washing machine's wash drum between loads.

Set up your washing machine

Set up your washing machine. Now that you've checked the tags on your baby clothes and know which recommended settings to use, set both the temperature and wash cycle.

Then turn on your washing machine and let it fill with water. If clothes don't have labels, wash them in warm water except for:

  • Hydrophilic diapers, which should be washed in warm water to improve sanitation.
  • Flame-retardant garments that must be washed in cold or warm water to maintain their flame-retardant properties.

Add detergent to the water. Babies have very sensitive skin, so make sure to use a cleanser made for babies.

Even when you wash it together with your own clothes or towels.

Pay attention to perfumed detergent

pay attention to perfumed detergent

Strongly scented laundry detergent in particular should also be avoided as these can be overwhelming for very young children.

Measure the correct amount of detergent based on the size of the load according to the tag and label instructions.

Baby-friendly cleansers are made by most major brands and are usually clearly labeled as recommended for babies' sensitive skin.

Rinse your baby clothes again. Any remaining soap in the fibers of your baby clothes can irritate your child's skin.

To be extra sure that this does not happen to your child, you should set the washing machine to run the clothes through a second rinse cycle.

Method 2 - Protein stains (milk and food residues)

This method is especially for removing protein stains.

Some may think of "meat" when they think of protein (or egg), but for a baby, this category includes breast milk, most formulas, spit, blood, and most baby foods as well.

Basically everything they get in and bring out again. That means stains!

Protein can bind with the fibers of the clothing, making these stains difficult to remove.

Remove moisture and dry residue

When the stain is fresh, wipe off any excess moisture that got on the baby's clothes and immediately immerse it in cold water.

This is the best way to prevent the stain from getting into the fabric.

Remove all dry residue.

If your stain has already dried and left a film, crust, or excess matter, try to remove as much of it as possible before proceeding.

This prevents the spread of a stain and leads to the best cleaning results.

Do you have protein colored clothing? Heat or chemicals can cause a protein stain to react in such a way that it binds to the fabric you are trying to wash, which can leave a permanent stain.

Rather, soak these stains in cold water to loosen the proteins from your fabric and shake the soaked clothes for best results.

Prepare the stain

Now that the clothes have been soaked in cold water and the protein stain has come off the fabric, apply a little baby-safe detergent to the soiled area.

Let the detergent work for a while and then you are ready to wash it.

Check labels and set up your washing machine. Checking extra and making sure that the clothes you wash are safe for a cold wash in the machine is recommended.

You should use cold water to keep the egg white from binding with fibers, while the cleaners can lift the stain out of the fabric.

Wash your baby clothes according to the label

After you have finished your pre-soapy water and pretreatment, you can add a baby-safe detergent to your washing machine and cycle the laundry.

While you wait for the load to finish, you can prepare the next load, do other chores around the house, or take a short break.

Then run a final rinse. This is to ensure that all potentially irritating detergent is removed from your baby's clothes.

Once this cycle is complete, you can take the clothes out of the drum and dry according to the instructions on the clothes label.

If you are concerned that your tumble dryer might be too uncomfortable for your baby's clothes, consider hanging your clothes dry on a clothesline.

Method 3 (body fluids)

Anything that accidentally gets around a diaper can cause stubborn stains. Therefore, this method to indicate a thorough cleaning here.

In addition, more and more people are using ecological ways of cloth diapers (also read our post about the increasing popularity of organic cotton)

Remove excess excrement.

Cleaning dirty diapers can be very unpleasant, but it is an economical and environmentally friendly solution for expensive disposable diapers.

Before doing anything, wipe or scrape off any excess stains from the dirty areas on your diaper for best results.

Keep your diapers in a bucket

Use a bucket.

You won't be able to wash every nappy the moment it gets dirty, so you'll need a container to hold dirty nappies while waiting for wash day.

A plastic bucket with a lid is great for this purpose, although you may want to turn the lid open slightly to avoid creating potent ammonia odors.

Dirty diapers should be washed every two days, up to three days.

Rub your diapers with white vinegar. You need to fill a sink or a bucket with cold water and add a few tablespoons of distilled white vinegar to it.

White vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that is effective in bleaching and removing odors, making it a solid choice for cleaning cloth diapers and accidental cotton garments.

Also read: Rock quietly in these best baby swings and bouncers

Pre-treating the stains

Dab the toughest stains with stain pretreatment detergent.

Remove the cloth diapers from the cold water first and then dab the remaining stained areas with your child's safe detergent of choice.

Let this solution sit in the fabric for about five minutes before placing it in the washing machine.

Urine stains can be treated more efficiently with a solution of ammonia and cold water.

Dilute a tablespoon of ammonia in a cup of cold water and saturate your stain with it so that it can set for five minutes before attempting to wash.

Set up your washing machine and place your clothes.

Most cloth diapers are suitable for washing on the warm setting of your washing machine, but if you are unsure about this, check the clothing labels.

Add your baby-safe laundry detergent to the water and then place your baby's dirty diapers in it.

Some modern cloth diaper manufacturers use synthetic fibers or water resistant fibers that require a special washing procedure.

If you bought modern cloth diapers, check the packaging or labels before washing.

Rinse and dry your diapers.

To avoid any negative reactions from the detergent, you'll want to run the diapers through a warm rinse cycle one more time.

Then you can put the clothes in your dryer as normal or follow the manufacturer's drying instructions.


These were our tips on how to wash your baby clothes.

From why it's ESSENTIAL to do before putting them on, to some tips for actually washing the clothes.

Hope you can use it to make your life a little easier again :)

Also read: the best sleeping bags for a safe baby

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.