Do You Really Need to Pre-Wash Baby Clothes Before First Wearing?

Do You Really Need to Pre-Wash Baby Clothes Before First Wearing?

When you have a newborn, get ready to start constantly swapping new outfits – both theirs and yours! But let’s focus on the baby. Nothing fits for more than a few wears, and the kid is always growing! With all of these new duds, many parents find themselves asking if they should pre-wash baby clothes before letting the child wear them.

Today, we’ll tackle this issue and share some tips for gently washing baby’s clothes to keep their little bodies extra safe.

Why Would I Need to Pre-Wash Baby Clothes Before Use?

As most of us realize, babies have very sensitive skin. They call it “baby soft” for a reason!  Their skin can become irritated by certain fabrics and materials quite easily. This also applies to whatever chemicals may have come into contact with your baby’s clothes on the way to the store. Put simply, you just can’t know where those clothes have been or what they’ve touched.

According to an article from Dreft baby detergent: “9 out of 10 dermatologists say it’s important to wash your baby’s new clothes before they wear them.”

Beyond listening to a company that specifically makes baby detergent, here’s an additional warning from a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center: Dr. Donald Belsito. Dr. Belsito told the Wall Street Journal that it is possible for certain bugs to linger in clothing.

"I have seen cases of lice that were possibly transmitted from trying on in the store, and there are certain infectious diseases that can be passed on through clothing."

That goes for hand-me-downs as well as outfits you’ve purchased yourself. You can just never be sure, but if you pre-wash baby’s clothes, you’ll be able to eliminate any lasting residue or harmful irritants. It’s a precaution worth taking.

How to Wash Baby Clothes

At this point, it’s pretty clear that it’s a good idea to pre-wash baby clothes before the first wear.

Now, the chances are high that you already know how to do “regular” laundry in the washing machine. That said, baby clothes require a bit more tender love and care. You should still separate the bright colors from the whites. But there are a few more items to consider beyond basic laundry.

First, consider that all baby clothing is rather delicate. It should be washed separately from your own clothes, and in cooler water. For socks, mittens and other small objects, consider placing them in a mesh laundry bag before washing or drying. These little items are quite prone to “disappearing,” so having a system to keep them together can work wonders.

Also, be absolutely sure to read the instructions on each and every garment. Some items can only be washed by hand. Others require specific instructions.

Use Baby Laundry Detergent

Finally, don’t simply use on your baby’s clothing the same detergent that you would use on your own. Just like the irritants we mentioned earlier, these detergent chemicals can cause harsh reactions to the skin of a little one. Your child could be fine, but they could also develop a painful rash that keeps them up long through the night. Why take the risk? Instead, choose a specially designed baby laundry detergent. There are many on the market.

After your baby wears the pre-washed clothing, check his or her skin. If there is a rash or any sign of irritation, rinse the outfit and try another detergent. In cases when a child is itchy or irritated, look for a detergent that specifically doesn’t use dyes or perfumes. For more information about choosing a baby detergent, here’s a very helpful article on the subject. As you’ll soon find out, there isn’t a one-soap-fits-all solution. 

If you have further questions, and many parents do, speak with your child’s pediatrician.

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