A newborn may be small, but he can get through a mountain of clothes in a short space of time. With the arrival of a newborn comes a surge in laundry. Cloths of baby require frequent washing as they get messy during eating, playing, and sometimes even accidentally; and all of these things certainly indicate appearance of stains and odor. Parents have the task of finding products that remove stains and odors without irritating baby’s skin and nose.
It therefore pays to be practical when buying the baby’s clothes and preparing to wash them. You need to use special cleaning agents for clothing so that it will prevent irritation and discomfort in your child. These tips will help tackle the task, from choosing the right detergent and treating common stains to laundering cloth diapers. Additionally it will help you to take care of clothes and will prolong the life of baby clothes.
Tips to keep in mind before Washing Clothes
1. Preparing to Wash
Whenever new clothes are bought for the baby, it’s best to wash them before the baby wears them for the first time. This will help to remove any substances or dust that may irritate the baby’s delicate skin. All of the baby’s clothes should be washed before they are used. Newborns usually have sensitive skin, and washing removes residues and other irritants. Place socks and other small items in a mesh bag during washing and drying. Fasten all hook-and-loop fabric fasteners to keep clothing from getting caught and possibly damaged.
2. Read the Instructions
Make sure to read the garment’s care label when washing something for the first time. There are chances that the fabric which is used for your baby cloth might require special treatment for best washing and for long life. Children’s sleepwear must be flame-resistant as sometimes they are made up of fire retardant material.
So it requires special cleaning so as its flame retardant properties can be preserved. You need to be extra careful while choosing sleepwear for your baby and need to check its tag more carefully. Never use bleach on flame-resistant fabrics — it reduces the effectiveness of the treatment chemicals and might ruin treated fabrics. Follow care-label instructions.
3. Choosing a Detergent
Some parents might feel compelled to buy a baby detergent for their infant’s clothes. But health experts say that is not necessary, as long as the baby does not have allergies or very sensitive skin. Washing the infant’s clothes in regular liquid detergent with the rest of the family’s laundry should not be a problem. A liquid detergent may be preferable. Liquid detergents typically rinse out more completely than powders, which can leave behind flakes that may irritate an infant’s skin.
If one is concerned that regular detergent may be too harsh, first wash one or two baby items in the detergent. After the baby wears the clothing, check his skin for irritation or note whether the infant is acting uncomfortable or itchy. If that’s the case, try a detergent with no dyes or fragrances. If that does not work, double-rinsing clothing or using baby detergent until the baby is at least 1-year-old may help.
Some parents prefer to use non-biological detergent to wash their baby’s clothes. Biological detergents contain enzymes that help to remove stains, but some parents worry that these enzymes will irritate their baby’s skin. There is not much evidence for this, but one may want to play it safe. A gentle fabric softener may help to prevent the baby’s clothes from becoming itchy. If the baby has very sensitive skin, it is probably best to switch to a baby-specific detergent. These are specially formulated for the baby’s skin.
4. Keep your baby cloths sorted
If you sort cloths as per different categories it will help to maintain cloth’s quality and will increase life of that cloth. You can divide cloths into different categories such as loads of white, light and dark colours, flame redundant cloths. Keeping flame redundant garments separate is very much important. If you do not keep flame redundant cloths away from regular laundry then fire resistant property of those cloths will be ruined. You can also make one more category based on temperature.
Some cloths require washing under certain temperature; if that is the condition then you can sort cloths on temperature basis too and keep them into a separate pile. Washing cloth diapers with separate load is always recommended. You may need to keep them separate as they suppose to wash in hot water so that it will improve sanitation.
5. How to Treat Stains
In general, treat stains while they are fresh, making sure to remove as much of the staining substance as possible before laundering.
For proteins (including formula, breast milk, spit-up, most food stains, and faeces):
Fibber of the cloths and protein can bind together so that removing protein strains is difficult. If the protein stain is fresh then wash out the excess protein that is there on your baby cloth and soak stains immediately in cool water using a product containing enzymes.
This will help to avoid setting protein stain into the fabric. To soak cloths you can use soaking container or fill basin with cold water and then add two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar into that water. White vinegar is a very good source of natural cleaning agent which helps at brightening white cloths and erasing odour from cloths.
Once cloths are soaked into cold water and protein stain is loosened from the fabric then apply some baby safe detergent on the affected area. Give some time for detergent to set on the clot. After a while you can wash that cloth. If that does not work, one can try an all-purpose stain remover and launder normally.
For urine and excess excrement:
Removing a urine stain requires a two-step process. Dilute 1 tablespoon of ammonia in 1 cup of water, and use it to treat the area. Remember to dab the mixture in a small area first to make sure the garment is colourfast. Use a stain-removal product, and launder normally. It is very unpleasant to clean a very dirty cloth diapers but they are economical solution for the expensive disposable diapers.
Before proceeding with cleaning of cloth diapers you should always wipe or scrap all excess from the soiled spots from your baby’s cloth diaper, this will give the best results after cleaning them. After wiping or scraping those soiled cloth diapers you can soak them into cold water with distilled white vinegar into it. Natural cleaning agent of white vinegar will help to remove odour from cloth diaper.
Another important thing doing before cleaning cloth diaper is using a dry pail. It is necessary because it is always not possible to wash every cloth diaper the moment it is soiled. So it makes a sense to use a container that will hold a dirty diapers before you actually do a laundry. For this purpose a plastic pail with a lid is excellent choice.
Once your baby’s cloth diapers are ready to into laundry it is advisable to wash them on the hot setting of your washing machine. For more information about washing cloth diapers you can check garment tags on the cloth diaper. Now days synthetic fibbers or water resistant fibbers can be used for manufacture of cloth diapers. For those diapers special washing procedure is required, you can check that procedure on packaging or on garment tag before washing them.
Make sure that you will wash those soiled diapers every two days; at max you can wash them after three days but not more than that. To avoid any negative reaction from residual detergent you can allow diapers to go through a warm rinse cycle one more time.
For baby oil:
Use a prewash stain remover. After checking the care instructions, wash in the hottest water that is safe for the garment.
For fruits and vegetables:
Three methods can be effective at removing these stains. Rinse the stain in cool water. Or place the garment in a 1-to-1 combination of rubbing alcohol and water, and wash normally. The third option is to use a prewash stain remover, followed by laundering, for stubborn stains. If that does not remove the stain, soak the garment in a mixture of 1-part white vinegar and 1-part water.
For removing any dry residue:
If the stain is already dried then it will leave behind a film, crust or excess matter. In this case you first need to remove that strain as much as possible before actually proceeding to clear it completely. This will help to prevent the spreading of stain on other parts of the cloth and will give the best result while cleaning.
Never mix bleach with vinegar or ammonia. The combination creates toxic fumes that can be hazardous.
6. Laundering Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers should be kept and washed separately from other laundry. Immediately rinse dirty diapers in the toilet. One might want to invest in a diaper sprayer, which hooks onto the toilet and is used to spray off the diapers. Store the diapers in a diaper pail (a plastic trash can or large bucket will work) with a tight-fitting lid until it’s time to wash them. One can also use a disposable or washable liner in the diaper pail.
Wash cloth diapers every two to three days. First, do a cold prewash or soak diapers overnight. Do not use detergents with dyes or perfumes. Wash in hot water (30-40 degrees C), rinsing each load twice. Do not use fabric softeners, which can be irritating to an infant’s skin. Line-dry the diapers or put them in the dryer.
Some special outfits or delicate wools may not be suitable for machine washing. One probably won’t want to do any hand-washing with a small baby to care for. So however gorgeous an outfit is, always look for that machine-washable label.
7. Making your own detergent
Baby clothing requires frequent washing due to messy eating, accidents, and outdoor play, all of which can lead to stains and odor. The sensitive skin and nose of a baby, however, require the use of special cleaning agents for clothing to prevent irritation and discomfort in the child. Additionally, special care should be taken with washing and drying so as to prolong the life of baby clothes. The above tips are helpful to new parents to wash and take care of the baby clothes. Happy Parenting!!!!