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How to Wash Baby Clothes [What You Must Know]

How to Wash Baby Clothes [What You Must Know]

As mothers, we want nothing but the best for our little bundle of joy, and that starts with ensuring their clothes are clean, soft, and safe!

In this article, I’ll guide you through the ins and outs of washing baby clothes and share helpful information and practical tips to make the process a breeze.

This guide on how to wash baby clothes is here to equip you with THE KNOWLEDGE YOU NEED to keep your little one looking adorable and feeling comfortable.

Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to washing!

Laundry Essentials for Washing Baby Clothes

Laundry Essentials for Washing Baby Clothes

Before we get started, gather these supplies to ensure your adorable baby clothes are as clean and comfortable as possible!


  1. Mild Detergent. Opt for a gentle and hypoallergenic detergent specially formulated for baby clothes. Using the right detergent ensures your little one’s delicate skin stays safe and irritation-free.
  2. Laundry Basket or Hamper. A designated basket or hamper helps you keep the baby’s clothes separate from the rest of the laundry.
  3. Stain Remover. Babies are notorious for creating messes. A trusted stain remover helps tackle stubborn stains and keeps the baby’s clothes looking fresh and clean.
  4. Wash Basins. These are perfect for gentle handwashing of delicate baby clothes. You need these for items that require extra care or if you prefer a more hands-on approach to cleaning.
  5. Clothesline or Drying Rack. If you prefer air drying or want to maximize the sun’s stain removal powers, a clothesline or drying rack provides a gentle and eco-friendly way of drying.

Optional Items:

  1. Washing Machine and Dryer. Investing in a reliable washing machine and dryer simplifies the laundry process and ensures efficient cleaning and drying of the baby’s clothes.
  2. Mesh Laundry Bags. These handy bags are perfect for keeping small baby clothes, like socks and mittens, together, preventing them from getting lost or tangled during washing.
  3. Vinegar. Adding a small amount of vinegar to the final rinse can help make the baby clothes even softer and reduce static cling. Bonus: you can even use vinegar as pre-treatment to remove stains!
  4. Baby-Safe Bleach. If you’re dealing with tough stains or want to give the clothes extra disinfection, a baby-safe bleach can be used sparingly and as directed.

These optional items can enhance the laundry process, but that may depend on your preference or specific needs.

Choose ones that fit your lifestyle and make the laundry experience more convenient!

How to Wash Baby Clothes With a Washing Machine

How to Wash Baby Clothes With a Washing Machine

A washing machine is a godsend to busy caretakers! If that’s you, here are foolproof steps to cleaning your baby’s clothes thoroughly with minimal effort:

Step 1: Sort

Separate baby clothes from adult clothing to avoid cross-contamination and ensure appropriate washing.

This maintains the hygiene and safety of your baby’s clothes while preserving their quality.

Step 2: Treat Stains

Check each item for stains and pre-treat them using a baby-safe stain remover or a gentle detergent.

Gently rub the stain remover into the fabric and let it sit for a few minutes before washing to allow the product to penetrate the stains effectively.

Step 3: Load the Washing Machine

I highly recommend using a mesh laundry bag for this! It prevents small items from getting lost, tangled, or stretched during the wash cycle.

Place the sorted baby clothes into the bag or directly into the washing machine if you choose not to use a bag.

Step 4: Set the Water Temperature and Cycle

Select a gentle cycle with a cool temperature setting. This ensures thorough cleaning while minimizing any potential wear and tear on the clothes.

Step 5: Measure the Detergent

Follow the detergent manufacturer’s instructions and measure the appropriate amount of detergent based on the load size and the level of dirtiness of the clothes.

By using the correct amount, you can have optimal cleaning results without leaving residue behind.

Step 6: Start the Wash Cycle

Close the washing machine and start the wash cycle. Allow the machine to complete the full cycle when carefully cleaning and rinsing baby clothes.

Step 7: Dry the Clothes

Once the wash cycle is complete, quickly remove the baby clothes from the washing machine to prevent wrinkles or mildew.

Air-dry the clothes on a clothesline or drying rack, or use a dryer on a low heat/delicate setting to preserve the fabric’s integrity.

Step 8: Fold and Store

Once the baby’s clothes are dry, neatly fold them and store them in a clean and organized manner. This genuinely helps preserve the freshness and quality of the clothes.

Separate different types of clothing to make it easier to locate specific items!

How to Hand Wash Baby Clothes

How to Hand Wash Baby Clothes

Are you one of those moms or secondary caregivers that aren’t totally confident with machine wash cycles? No worries, I got you! Here’s how to handwash baby clothes effectively:

Step 1: Sort

Separate baby clothes for appropriate hand washing. Sort them by color and fabric type, such as cotton or delicate fabrics, to maximize gentle handling during washing.

Step 2: Pre-Treatment

Check each item for stains and pre-treat them using a baby-safe stain remover or a gentle detergent.

Gently rub the stain remover into the fabric and let it sit for a few minutes before handwashing to allow the product to penetrate the stains effectively.

Step 3: Fill the Sink or Basin

Fill a clean sink or basin with lukewarm water. This should help maintain the fabric’s integrity while effectively removing dirt and stains.

Step 4: Add the Detergent

Add the appropriate amount of detergent to the filled sink or basin. Dissolve the detergent in the water by gently agitating it with your hand.

Step 5: Wash the Clothes

Submerge the sorted baby clothes into soapy water and carefully wash them. Pay extra attention to stained areas and lightly rub them to help remove any remaining stains.

Avoid scrubbing too vigorously to prevent damage, especially on delicate fabrics.

Step 6: Rinse and Remove Excess Water

Drain the soapy water and refill the sink or basin with clean lukewarm water for rinsing. Rinse each garment individually by swishing them gently in the water.

Repeat the rinsing process as necessary to avoid detergent residue!

After rinsing, gently squeeze the excess water out of each garment. Avoid wringing or twisting the clothes to prevent stretching or fabric damage.

Alternatively, you can roll each item in a clean towel and press gently to absorb excess moisture.

Step 7: Dry the Clothes

Lay the baby clothes flat on a clean, dry towel or use a drying rack for air drying. Avoid direct sunlight if possible, as it can fade colors and damage delicate fabrics.

Step 8: Fold and Store

Make sure the clothes are fully dry before folding and storing them. Go ahead and organize your baby’s clothes in a way that’s helpful for you!

How to Wash Baby Cloth Diapers

How to Wash Baby Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers often come into contact with “dirtier” types of messes. Therefore, it’s vital to use cleaning methods that maintain their functionality and hygiene.

This can also apply to burp cloths or bibs, which are often subject to a baby’s spit-ups.

To ensure that cloth diapers stay clean and fresh, they require special attention to address substantial messes. Check out these practical steps:

Step 1: Prepare Cloth Diapers for Washing

Start by removing any solid waste from the diapers.

If it’s solid, just tip it into the toilet. If it’s not solid, you can splash it with water from a toilet bidet to remove soilage.

NOTE: Keep all soiled diapers in a diaper pail or waterproof bag until laundry time.

Step 2: Pre-wash the Cloth Diapers

Before the main wash, rinse the diapers with cold water; no detergent is needed.

This helps prevent staining as it disturbs any settling that has occurred or is still occurring to the fabric.

Step 3: Wash

Machine wash: Set your washing machine to the hottest water setting. Use a gentle detergent made for cloth diapers. Follow the instructions on the detergent to be able to place the right amount.

Let the washing machine finish the main wash, and consider an extra rinse if you think your baby’s clothes need it.

Handwash: If you prefer to handwash the diapers, fill a clean basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a gentle detergent suitable for cloth diapers.

Gently agitate the diapers in soapy water, paying attention to stained areas. Rinse them thoroughly with clean water.

Step 4: Drying the Cloth Diapers

The best way is to air dry them outside in the sunlight, which helps disinfect and remove stains.

If you can’t do that, hang them indoors on a line or drying rack. Avoid using a dryer, as it can damage the diaper’s waterproofing and elasticity.

How to Wash Heirloom Baby Clothes

How to Wash Heirloom Baby Clothes

When washing heirloom baby clothes, you first need to assess how delicate they are.

If the clothes are highly delicate, made of sensitive fabrics, or have intricate details, it’s best to PRIORITIZE HAND WASHING or use a gentle cycle at home.

A professional cleaning may be too harsh for fragile heirlooms, so you can ensure careful treatment by taking control of the process.

However, getting help from a reliable laundry service can be a good idea if you’re uncertain about cleaning them yourself.

If you decide to hand wash these precious items personally, here’s a simple step-by-step guide for GENTLE YET EFFECTIVE cleaning:

  1. Get care instructions. Check the garment’s label for specific guidelines or contact the previous owner, who may have specific knowledge and tips on the garment’s care. Follow any special instructions or restrictions.
  2. Pre-treat stains. Inspect the garments for stains and treat them with a mild detergent or stain removers. Lightly rub the stain with a soft cloth or sponge.
  3. Hand wash or use a gentle cycle. For delicate heirloom clothes, handwashing is often the safest. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and mild detergent. Gently agitate the clothes, avoiding excessive rubbing or wringing. Alternatively, use a gentle cycle on the washing machine with cold water and place clothes in a mesh laundry bag.
  4. Rinse thoroughly. After washing, rinse each item under cool water to remove all traces of detergent. Rinse individually to prevent soap residue.
  5. Dry with care. Air drying is best for heirloom clothes. Lay them flat on a clean towel or use a drying rack. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources that could damage the fabric.

Do I Need to Pre-Wash Baby Clothes?

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND pre-washing for several reasons!

First, it removes any residues from the manufacturing process. Think of dyes or chemicals that can be unsafe on your baby’s delicate skin.

It also helps soften stiff fabrics to make them more comfortable to use, especially items like pajamas, onesies, and sun hats that touch your baby’s skin directly.

Pre-washing also eliminates potential irritants like dust, allergens, or lint that may have accumulated during storage or transportation.

Finally, it allows for size adjustments, as some fabrics may SHRINK after the first wash. You can ensure a proper fit and avoid surprises when your baby wears the clothes for the first time.

What Items Should You Pre-Wash Before the Baby Arrives

What Items Should You Pre-Wash Before the Baby Arrives

Aside from baby clothes and cloth diapers, here are items that you should pre-wash before use:

  • Beddings. Sleep sacks, sheets, blankets, crib skirts, and mattress protectors should be pre-washed to remove dust, allergens, and chemicals. By pre-washing these, you can create a clean and cozy sleeping environment for your baby.
  • Towels and Washcloths. Pre-washing ensures these are soft and safe on your baby’s sensitive skin. This is especially important for bath time and gentle cleaning.
  • Swaddles Blankets. Since swaddle blankets come in direct contact with the baby’s skin, pre-washing is essential to remove chemical treatments or fabric finishes. This guarantees these items are safe, gentle, and suitable for your baby’s daily use.

How to Pre-Wash Baby Clothes

How to Pre-Wash Baby Clothes

Pre-washing is SIMPLE AND EASY because you’re just removing surface dirt! Here’s how I do it:

  1. Separate clothes by fabric type and color to prevent color bleeding and damage.
  2. Read care labels for washing instructions and unique care details. Make sure to follow them!
  3. For delicate fabrics, hand wash in lukewarm water with mild detergent. Soak and gently agitate, then rinse thoroughly.
  4. For regular clothes, use the pre-wash or delicate cycle setting on your washing machine or hand wash as usual. Use baby-safe detergent in both cases.
  5. Rinse clothes thoroughly to remove any detergent residue. Gently remove excess water.
  6. Hang them to air dry, and you’re done!

How to Wash Wool Baby Clothes for the First Time

How to Wash Wool Baby Clothes for the First Time

Wool can be tricky to work with, especially in baby clothes. Fortunately, here are some tricks I’ve learned to simplify the process! Check them out:

Step 1: Read the Care Label

I’ve gone on and on about these labels, but this is especially important for wool. Some wool garments call for specific washing instructions.

Following the manufacturer’s recommendations is vital to help you treat the wool items correctly and maintain their quality.

Step 2. Spot Clean if Necessary

Before washing the entire garment, spot-clean any visible stains or spills using a mild wool detergent or a mixture of gentle soap and lukewarm water.

Gently blot the affected area with a clean cloth or sponge, being careful not to rub or scrub vigorously. 

This targeted cleaning will help address specific stains and prevent them from setting further.

Step 3. Handwash

Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of gentle wool detergent. Submerge the wool clothing in the water and gently swirl it around to distribute the detergent.

Allow the garment to soak for a few minutes, then gently squeeze the water through the fabric without twisting or wringing.

Rinse thoroughly with cool water. Handwashing helps PRESERVE THE DELICATE FIBERS of the wool and prevent shrinkage.

Step 4. Drying Process

After washing, avoid wringing or twisting and, instead, gently squeeze out excess water. Lay a clean towel flat and place the garment on top.

Roll up the towel to absorb more moisture. Then reshape the wool clothing to its original shape and lay it flat on a drying rack or a clean, dry towel away from direct heat or sunlight.

Allow it to air dry completely. This gentle drying method will prevent stretching or misshaping.

What to Consider When Removing Stains from Baby Clothes

What to Consider When Removing Stains from Baby Clothes

Banishing stains from baby clothes can be a breeze with the right approach!

Start by identifying the type of stain, like formula, spit-up, or poop, as different stains require different treatments.

Before going all-in on the stain, test your treatment on a hidden spot to minimize damage.

If you want to pack more punch, let the sun work its magic by using natural sunlight to bleach and fade certain stains.

Remember, persistence pays off. Repeat the stain removal process if needed but go easy on harsh chemicals and strong detergents that could harm the fabric.

But sometimes, stains just won’t budge. Accept that it may be there for good if you’ve given it your all and the stain still won’t surrender.

If that’s the case, you can instead shift your focus to keeping the garment CLEAN AND FRESH OVERALL!

How to Clean Poop and Poop Stains on Baby Clothes

How to Clean Poop and Poop Stains on Baby Clothes

Cleaning clothes with poop is a common task for parents! These simple steps can help you tackle it more effectively:

  1. Act quickly. Remove any excess poop from the clothing immediately to PREVENT IT FROM SETTING.
  2. Rinse with cold water. Rinse the stained area under cold running water to flush out the residue and avoid setting the stain.
  3. Pre-treat the stain. Apply a baby-safe stain remover or gentle laundry detergent directly to the stain and gently rub it in.
  4. Soak in cold water. Soak the clothing in a basin or sink filled with cold water and mild detergent for 30 minutes to an hour to loosen the stain further.
  5. Wash the clothing. Choose between machine washing or handwashing according to the garment’s care instructions.
  6. Check for stains BEFORE drying. After washing, check for any remaining stains. If stains persist, repeat the pre-treatment and washing process until the stain is gone.
  7. Dry the clothing. Air dry the clothing outdoors and let the sun beat down on any potential stains.

Safety Tips When Washing Baby Clothes

Safety Tips When Washing Baby Clothes

Follow these tips for a gentle and worry-free laundry experience:

  • Choose gentle detergents. Pick mild and fragrance-free detergents specially formulated for baby clothes. They’ll keep your baby’s delicate skin happy and irritation-free.
  • Sort it out. Keep baby clothes separate from other laundry items. You don’t want harsh chemicals or overpowering scents sneaking into their wardrobe.
  • Bag it up. Pop those tiny socks, mittens, and delicate garments into a laundry net or bag. That way, they will avoid going on an adventure and getting lost during the wash.
  • Avoid fabric softeners. Steer clear of fabric softeners and dryer sheets. They may leave unwanted residues and irritate your baby’s precious skin. This works best for organic baby clothes as well!
  • Inspect and protect. Give baby clothes a regular once-over for signs of wear and tear, loose threads, or faulty fasteners. Keep your little one safe by fixing or retiring worn-out garments.
  • Let the sun shine. Take advantage of natural sunlight by air drying baby clothes as it helps disinfect and remove stains without the need for harsh chemicals or high heat.
  • Properly store clean clothes: Once clothes are clean and dry, keep them in a hygienic and dry environment. Avoid scented liners or mothballs that may irritate your baby’s skin.

If you have any specific concerns about fabrics, laundry products, or care instructions, it’s best to consult your pediatrician or seek advice from trusted caregivers or baby care experts!


Washing baby clothes isn’t as straightforward for some parents. Let’s address common questions many have:

Can I Machine Wash Baby Clothes?

Yes, you can machine wash baby clothes!

Just be sure to use a gentle cycle and a mild detergent formulated for baby clothes to ensure delicate fabrics are treated with care.

Do Baby Clothes Need to be Washed Separately?

It’s not necessarily a need for baby clothes to be washed separately, but it’s ADVISABLE to keep them separate from your laundry items.

It’s also a good practice to keep them away from items with harsh chemicals or strong fragrances that are potentially irritating.

Do I Need to Wash Baby Clothes in Warm or Hot Water?

It’s generally recommended to wash baby clothes in cold or lukewarm water. This helps protect delicate fabrics and prevent shrinkage.

It would be better to use warm or hot water for washing cloth diapers as the heat helps kill bacteria.

Should I Wash Baby Clothes Regularly?

YES, this is very important! Regular washing helps remove dirt, stains, and any potential irritants that may accumulate on the clothes.

As for frequency, washing at least once a week is generally considered regular. But it also depends on the baby’s activity level, the climate, and the extent of dirt or stains on the clothes!


To me, laundry care is an ESSENTIAL part of creating a cozy and healthy environment for your baby.

Using this complete guide on washing baby clothes, you can confidently navigate the world of laundry care for your little one!

Follow these tried-and-true methods to keep your little one’s garments fresh, clean, and safe for their delicate skin.

Embrace the confidence that comes with mastering this skill, and let the joy of caring for your precious baby extend to every adorable outfit they wear!

Sky Bustillo
Sky Bustillo

Hi, I’m Sky!
As a Filipina in her mid-20s, a sister to young ones, and a tita to my nieces and nephews, I somehow share the same sentiment as other parents. I have a growing aspiration of becoming a mom someday!
But there also comes a worry that you won’t be able to give the best to your children, especially with the food they eat, the products they use, and the new habits and hobbies we introduce to them.
Your kid’s safety and welfare are your top priority, that’s why I always make it to a point to learn from the stories and experiences of other moms.
It’s a delight to share what I learned and know to help the moms close to my heart, and this time, I’m writing to relay advice to you from the insights of other moms and my experience around kids, too.
I’d love to be a part of your journey, and I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful for you and your young one!