Skip to content

How to Wash Baby Clothes

Table of Contents

How to Wash Baby Clothes

Table of Contents

Getting ready for a newborn means learning an entirely new set of skills: feedings, swaddling, changing diapers, and more. It could also mean re-learning some things their way. Laundry is just one of them. But fret not because we got you covered with the do’s and don’ts of doing baby laundry: from how to wash baby clothes by hand to how to keep them disinfected, we have brought to you the A-Z of washing baby clothes. Read on to know more!

How to Wash Baby’s Clothes Using Your Hands?

Well, machine washing could seem like an easy option no doubt but since there is a newborn in your life now, you need to be extra careful in everything you do and that includes washing their clothes by hand. So here we have brought you the step-by-step process of how to wash baby clothes by hand:

1. Disinfect Your Hands

First, disinfect your hands thoroughly with a good sanitizer and/or hand wash. Your hands are a good source of bacteria that you don’t want on your baby. Once done head on to the next step of how to set the water’s temperature.

2. Regulate The Water’s Temperature

The water’s temperature needs to be set perfectly while washing baby clothes. Extremely hot water could alter the clothes’ softness and rip and tear them. Also, you may burn your hand. Generally, warm water is recommended for washing baby clothes so set the water’s temperature accordingly.

3. Use Non-chemical and Eco-friendly Detergents

Next comes which detergents to use to wash the baby clothes. Here’s the imperative thing: your body is widely different from a newborn’s. Regular detergents will damage your baby’s skin by causing allergic reactions and leading to cuts. So use a detergent that is cleared medically for a baby’s skin. Add eco-friendly and non-chemical into that criteria and those baby detergents are the ideal ones for your munchkin.

4. Soak Before and After Wash

Before you wash any pile of clothes, it can be the breeding ground for bacteria. So make sure you kill them all and soak those clothes in hot water for 30 minutes before washing them and soaking them in warm water again.

5. Dry in The Sun

Baby clothes must be completely dry before you take them to the cupboard. Drying au naturel is the best way and if that’s impossible (because of rain or other issues) go for the dryer. Remember no damp clothes on the baby; it could lead to fungal infections.

How to Wash Baby Clothes Using The Washing Machine?

Now, hand washing might not be your option sometimes so it is okay to let the machine do the work. Treat it as your cheat day in washing your baby’s clothes and follow these tips on how to wash baby clothes using the washing machine:

1. Wash The Baby’s Clothes First

Washing machines can be a hotbed of a ton of bacteria. So wash your baby’s clothes before the rest of the laundry. Bacteria could shift from the other clothes to the baby’s clothes and that could be harmful to your baby.

2. Pre-soak The Clothes With Soap

Here are steps to pre-soak baby clothes:

  • Take a bucket of water at a temperature of 35℃
  • Add half a cup of baby detergent
  • Soak the clothes for half an hour
  • Put the soaked clothes in the washing machine
  • Run the clothes for a full cycle of washing

3. Use The Rinse Option Twice

You must make sure the clothes are rinsed off the soap completely before drying them. The bacteria and soap can only be washed off 100% by rising twice. Rinse the baby clothes with soap and then with no detergent or soap the next time.

How to Wash Baby’s Clothes: Disinfection and Preparation

Just washing won’t get rid of the bacteria on any cloth and since it’s a newborn baby we are dealing with, these accumulations of bacteria could cause them harm. So along with safe washing, you also need to disinfect and prepare the baby’s clothes for laundry. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Pre-treat Stains

As soon as your baby’s clothes get stained with spit-up, baby food, or poop, (these stains are protein that attracts dangerous bacteria) strip them off and rinse off the mess. Then you have to make a choice. If the stain is small, you can spritz it with some baby detergent and toss it in the laundry bin. If it is too tough of a mess, then soak it in a tub of water laced with detergent. Make sure you wash the stains on newborn clothes before they dry as their skin is extra sensitive.

Soaking the baby clothes in white vinegar is yet another way to pre-treat and disinfect stains. White vinegar is a great natural disinfectant that takes around 30 minutes to work its magic. Add a cup or two of white vinegar to a bucket of water and soak the clothes in it for half an hour before putting them in the washing machine.

2. How to Separate Baby Clothes for Washing?

If you have the ability and time to wash your baby’s clothes separately then doing so will be the best option. That way you can use baby detergent for your little one’s clothes and regular detergent for the rest of the laundry. Just as you would with adult clothes, separate the baby clothes by color. If you have to wash cloth diapers, do them separately.

Minimize the missing-sock syndrome whenever you are washing baby clothes by tossing all their socks into a mesh laundry bag for washing. You could include other small items like washcloths and bibs. But how long does it take to wash baby clothes separately? About 30 minutes.

3. Review The Care Instructions

The best way to extend the life of your baby’s clothes is to follow its care instructions. But do you? The reality is, with a newborn, your house is a mess, they are a mess and you need all your attention to put them in order. And in that hullabaloo who is reading that label? So no need to stress extra on this step. Just wash them with a baby detergent at a low-temperature setting and you are good to go.

4. Choose Your Detergent

Do not add additives to your chosen detergent for your baby’s clothes. Use a hypoallergenic detergent that can be safely used if your baby is sensitive to fragrances and dyes. Whatever you choose, do not additives to it without comprehensive research on its behind-the-scenes.

5. Wash and Dry

You are almost there! This is the simplest of all steps: toss the clothes into the machine filled with cold water, set your machine on a gentle wash cycle, and when you dry them, set the temperature to a low heat setting. By the way, these instructions do not stand valid for cloth diapers; they have their own set of steps to be followed.

How to Wash Baby’s Clothes: Precautions

Washing baby clothes requires extra attention even though it may not take much time. All these major precautions ensure that your baby is safe from bacteria. Here are some tips of precaution you need to follow while washing their clothes:

  • Do not use products with strong fragrances while washing the clothes.
  • Read and follow the care instruction label on their clothes carefully.
  • Dry their clothes naturally, i.e., in the sunlight.
  • Wash the baby’s diapers separately from their clothes because they have a different set of washing instructions.
  • Do not use any chemical detergent while washing; stick to baby-safe detergent powders.
  • Do not use any drying paper to dry their clothes because they contain chemicals that would be harmful to your newborn.
  • Do not use any fabric softeners on their clothes.
  • In case of any skin allergies, visit a doctor as soon as possible to get instructions on how to wash baby clothes for the first time.

The Bottom Line: How to Wash Baby’s Clothes (Wool)

Knit and wool baby clothes have their challenges as much as their style. Here’s what you can do to keep their woolen clothes safe from wear and tear but also clean:

  • You might need to skip washing them at times as it would cause them to tear. But you have no choice if the woolen cloth has spit-up or other stains. To avoid washing them now and again because your baby will make sure it’s dirty, have them wear their woolens only occasionally.
  • Again, reading the care instructions no matter the material of the cloth is very important. You may ignore the label for other clothes but woolens are expensive and you don’t want them ruined so make an exception here: DO NOT IGNORE. You might have to wash some woolens by hand so do not carelessly toss them in with other onesies and pajamas.
  • Detergent is another important factor to preserve baby woolens. Choose your baby detergent wisely so that it is also safe on woolen clothes.
  • Do not use any heat on your baby’s woolen clothes as it could shrink them so always use cold water to wash. Set the setting for wool on your washing machine and wash them separately. Unless the care label says tumble drying is okay do not put woolens in the dryer. Hanging them in hangars can stretch the fabric so no hangars too. Flat dry them on a laundry rack or a table.

How to Wash Baby Clothes FAQs:

1. Do you wash baby clothes in warm or cold water?

Typically, you might want to wash your baby’s diapers in hot water and everything else in cold water. If you are using a machine, you have a gentle-to-normal setting, especially in the first wash.

2. Can you put your baby’s clothes in the dryer?

Yes, it is okay to put your baby's clothes in the dryer but remember to put them in the low temperatures setting. Also, check the washing instruction label on the clothes before being washed. If it is specifically mentioned that they should not be put in the dryer, then you shouldn't.

3. Is baby laundry detergent necessary?

Most parents think they need a baby laundry detergent to wash their child’s clothes. When it comes to newborns, this is true because they have super sensitive skin. Sometimes baby detergents won't get rid of odors and stains and then you can use a regular detergent.

4. Can you use fabric softener for baby clothes?

You may use a “free & clear” detergent to wash your baby’s clothes but skip the fabric softeners (both sheets and liquids). Fabric softeners can irritate your baby’s skin and reduce flame retardance on their clothes.

5. How often do you do laundry with a newborn?

You’ll need to wash one load daily so that they don't pile. Also, baby laundry doesn't take much time. You should wash everything from baby sheets to everything in the nursery every week if it's a newborn you are dealing with.


On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

Share this Article

Disclaimer: All content found on our website is published for informational and/or educational purposes only; not intended to serve or offer any form of professional/competent advice. We put in every effort to ensure that all information is just, accurate, fool-proof, useful, and updated but do not assume responsibility or liability, to loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence of information provided. Parenthoodbliss may earn commissions from affiliate links in the content.

Rectangle 22

Did not find what you were looking for?

Drop-in your request and we will be happy to write it down for you!