Babies sure do cycle through a lot of clothes — and generate loads (upon loads) of laundry. What’s the key to keeping up? Work smarter, not harder! From choosing fabrics that go the distance, to treating stubborn stains, our tips will make you an instant expert in caring for baby clothes, so you’ll spend less time scrubbing and more time playing peek-a-boo.
Treat It or Trash It? You Be the Judge
“Treating stains right away will usually prevent them from sticking,” says Jennifer Linney, a mom of two in Fort Worth, Texas. “But when those really messy blowouts happen, sometimes it’s easier to just ball up the soaked bodysuit, toss it in a plastic grocery bag, and bid it farewell for good.”
Use an Unscented Detergent
Scented detergents can irritate babies’ sensitive skin; opt instead for your favorite brand’s unscented variety, or a detergent made specifically for babies. If baby’s wet or soiled clothes smell particularly, er, pungent, run them once through your machine’s soak and rinse cycles before washing as usual. Ahhh — don’t you just love the sweet smell of clean?
Know Your Enclosures
“I’ve learned to keep a few things in mind while shopping, or just when choosing the day’s clothes for my girls,” says Casey Mullins, a mom of two in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Zippers are best for quick changes, but they have to be covered so they won’t pinch a baby’s skin; Velcro under the chin can cause scratches, so I avoid that; Lastly, buttons can be infuriating when dressing a tiny baby — opting for snaps instead will save a lot of frustration!”
Fasten Velcro in Advance
Unfastened Velcro in the washer and dryer will stick to other clothes in the load, causing unsightly pilling on those other items. The Velcro will also lose its stickiness more quickly, as the dryer’s friction and heat will damage its little hooks. The solution? Simply fasten any Velcro enclosures and tabs before putting them in the wash.
Cloth Diapering: Keepin’ it Fresh
There’s no need to wash cloth diapers separately from the rest of your family’s clothes (provided you remove significant solids in advance), but you can keep baby’s bum-wraps extra fresh by occasionally washing them in an ammonia-busting detergent like Rockin’ Green’s Funk Rock, or pre-washing the diapers with a bit of baking soda. This will neutralize the urine that’s soaked into the fabric. Drying diapers in direct sunlight, too, will eliminate residual odors.
Just Breathe, Baby
Natural fabrics like 100% cotton ‘breathe’ better than blended or synthetic fibers do; choosing natural fabrics over polyester will help prevent clamminess, rashes and discomfort for your baby’s delicate skin. Happy baby? Happy Mommy! Outfit accordingly.