How to Do Baby's Laundry

Baby is on the way and mom is nesting! It's time to start washing clothes for that little bundle of joy. There are a few things you might want to know before you throw everything in the wash.


  1. Image titled Do Baby's Laundry Step 1
    Remove all tags from new clothes, blankets, and sheets. Make sure you check for stickers too. If you leave stickers on your clothes, the adhesive will melt into some types of material, leaving a permanent scratchy crust spot on those cute new outfits.
  2. Image titled Do Baby's Laundry Step 2
    Sort through hand-me-downs thoroughly. Hand-me-downs can sometimes be stained or moldy from sitting for a long time.
    • Since you don't want your new baby wearing moldy clothes, you could try washing these clothes separately with hot water, detergent, and, optionally, vinegar.
    • Make sure all mold is gone and that there is no lingering smell of mildew. It may take a few washes and don't get upset if you can't save them all.
    • Hot water or (for white or pale clothes) chlorine bleach will kill all the mildew, though harmless stains might remain.
    • Wash a final time with the rest of your baby's clothes.
  3. Image titled Do Baby's Laundry Step 3
    Wash baby's clothes as you would any other clothes. It's best to use fragrance-free, dye-free detergent, sometimes called a "sensitive skin" detergent and skip bleaches, softeners, and stain removers. Tide Free and Clear, and Method are all great detergent choices. Watch out for detergents with strong perfumes or bleach because they may irritate baby's delicate senses and skin.
    • "Fragrance-free" generally means without any fragrance, while "unscented" can mean either without fragrance or with only mild fragrance to mask the sometimes-odd smell of active ingredients. Either may well be fine, but all else being equal, go with "fragrance-free".
  4. Image titled Do Baby's Laundry Step 4
    Throw the clothes in the dryer. There's no need to use dryer sheets for baby clothes, but if you do use them use something suitable for sensitive skin, without strong perfumes.
    • Baby clothes can also be dried on a clothes line. Sunshine on diapers is an excellent method to ensure they are thoroughly clean.
  5. Image titled Do Baby's Laundry Step 5
    Fold laundry and put away. Choose an organization method that will be easy for you to use. Be realistic about the clothes that baby will wear most often and where baby will sleep. Put clothes, like sleepers, in the easiest point to access, like a drawer of baby's changing table or the dresser in your room.
  6. Image titled Do Baby's Laundry Step 6
    Keep baby's dirty clothes in a separate basket. Baby will go through laundry quickly in the early days due to diaper leaks and spit-up, or maybe just because you wanted to see him/her in a different outfit. If baby's clothes are kept separate and organized, it's easier to keep track of them and know when you'll need to wash more.


  • If you have animals, keep baby's clothes put up, dresser drawers closed, and closets shut. Scratchy animal hair can irritate baby's skin.
  • Once baby is older, you can start washing his/her clothes with the rest of the family's clothes; or you can wash your clothes with baby's from the get go as long as you are using a detergent for sensitive skin.
  • Even if you are "sure" of the baby's sex, do not prepare ALL clothes before baby is born. Preparing 8-10 outfits is more than sufficient for the first few days after baby's arrival. Preparing gender neutral outfits, and minimal outfits will ensure that you can return outfits just in case.
  • Washcloth diapers separately, using tiny amounts of detergent in a top loading washer on large load. It's also a good idea to let your washer run an extra rinse cycle to make sure all detergent gets out of diapers. Do not bleach cloth diapers or use a dryer sheet in the dryer.


  • Bleach, perfumes, and other washing agents found in detergent can be harsh on a baby's sensitive senses and skin. Avoid using detergents that are not specifically formulated for babies or sensitive skin. Since this consists more of leaving out a few supplements than of using different main ingredients, you shouldn't have to pay much more.

Things You'll Need

  • Gentle detergent
  • Washing machine and dryer (optional: clothes line)
  • Folding space
  • Storage space

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Babies and Infants