From the dribble to burping spills and blowouts, life with a baby gets mighty messy and the laundry piles up fast. When it comes to washing baby clothes, many parents choose to throw everything in with the rest of the family’s and that’s perfectly OK – but if your little one is prone to skin irritations, a specially formulated baby laundry detergent could be in order.
Baby laundry detergent is created with sensitive skin in mind and contains fewer chemicals, dyes and fragrances than regular washing liquid. If eczema and rashes are common sights on bub, it might be time to consider a baby-friendly laundry detergent.
First, let’s take a look and when and how you should start caring for baby’s sweet essentials.
When to wash baby clothes
The nesting instinct kicks in pretty early for some mums, and by mid-pregnancy, they’re itching to get those baby clothes washed, folded and neatly tucked away in the drawers and wardrobes. But is there such a thing as washing them too early? Will that fresh, just-washed smell and feel fade before bub arrives?
Generally, that fresh-just-washed smell should last a good couple of weeks, maybe even up to a month or more. It all depends on how the clothes are stored, and if they have access to air movement. It’s really difficult to pinpoint a timeline, so if you’re concerned about the clothes being a little stale when your bundle arrives, it’s best to wash them as close to your due date as possible.
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule on the best time in pregnancy to wash baby clothes, the expert consensus is that all baby clothes should always be washed before they’re worn. Newborns have sensitive skin and it’s not known who has handled bub’s clothing before you purchased it.
Tips for washing baby clothes
Here are some simple steps to follow before you start washing:
- Always read the washing instructions on the label – some things like swaddles and sleeping bags have specific washing methods to make sure all the bugs are gone.
- Pop tiny socks into laundry bags so that they don’t get lost in the wash.
- It’s a good idea to wash newborn clothes separately from other clothes, just to keep the chances of dirt from other clothing settling on them and possibly causing irritation.
- Most experts agree that there’s no need to use fabric softener or dryer sheets on baby clothes.
- Choose a specially formulated laundry detergent that’s safe for sensitive skin.
9 best baby laundry detergents in Australia
To help in your search for a gentle laundry detergent for your poppet’s washing, we’ve put together a handy list of detergent brands available in Australia to get you started.
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Here are 9 gentle laundry detergents for baby clothes:
Enriched with 100% Australian eucalyptus oil, Euky Bear laundry liquid removes germs and makes light work of milk, nappy and food stains. It’s suitable for warm or cold loads and free from synthetic fragrances, enzymes, optical brighteners and bleach.
Combining the antibacterial goodness of eucalyptus and rosemary, this plant-derived, biodegradable laundry wash is just as heavenly on the nose as it is for cleaning baby’s delicate clothes. It’s cruelty-free, vegan and packaged with recycled materials.
The Dirt Company
Formulated with 100% plant-based and biodegradable ingredients, this liquid detergent is kind to the planet and tough on stains. Refillable packs use at least 30% post-consumer recycled waste and cost you nothing to post back to The Dirt Company for reuse.
This all-natural and Australian-made baby laundry detergent is pH-neutral, antibacterial and deodorising. Lightly fragranced with Blue Gum and Neroli, it’s effective for both machine and hand-washing and contains no nasties that could bother bub’s precious skin.
b clean co
Designed to tackle cloth nappy stains and general laundry, this plant-based detergent delivers ultra-clean results with its plant-based formula and deep-cleaning enzymes. With eucalyptus, it’s ideal for sensitive skin and smells just like the Australian bush.
In a combo pack containing four litres of earth-friendly, plant-based laundry liquid, this will have baby’s clothes taken care of for months. The pack includes a dispenser and two refill pouches that can be posted back to Zero Co (at no cost to you) to be reused and refilled.
Using advanced ‘odour elimination technology, Chicco baby detergent leaves baby’s clothes squeaky clean and smelling fresh, even in cold water. Hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested for sensitive skin, it’s available in liquid or single-use gel capsules.
Infused with the essential oils of lavender, mandarin and camomile, this laundry liquid is loved far and wide for its beautiful, calming fragrance. It comes in a concentrated formula for improved cleaning and gives you 40 washes out of a one-litre bottle.
Made in New Zealand and ideal for baby clothes, Ecostore’s highly concentrated laundry liquid uses plant-based ingredients for a fab clean and low environmental impact. Powerful in cold or hot water, it’s effective on stains and kind to sensitive skin.
If you want to know when the best time to start washing baby clothes all you have to do is ask other mums for recommendations. So we did.
We asked the Mum’s Grapevine Pregnancy and Baby Facebook Group members when they started washing all their baby’s clothes and this is what they said …
Ashlee said: “I’ve just done mine, mainly because I packed my hospital bag. I’m almost 32 weeks. Everyone has said I’ll probably wash them again when I start nesting properly.”
Georgia said: “I’m nearly 23 weeks and I’ve washed all mine and all of babies wraps and blankets. I’ll rewash them another couple of times out of boredom and nesting before he’s here.”
Kelly said: “I was 31 weeks on Thursday and it’s all done, folded and put away in her room.”
Hayley said: “I’m 31 weeks today and am doing it at the moment. Have all the nappies hanging out to dry.”
Giverny said: “I’ve washed mine. Am 24 weeks. I know in the third trimester I’m going to get tired as hell and not want to do anything. So have smashed out most things already.”
Tamika said: “I’ve started washing, I’m 27 weeks tomorrow.”
Katie said: “Last pregnancy I washed them once I started maternity leave … so around 34 weeks.”
Laura said: “I’m 29 weeks and wash them today. I couldn’t wait any longer.”
Jacqueline said: “By 23 weeks I had everything washed, including all blankets and bedding etc. Glad I did because I’m 31 weeks and no energy to do anything (twin pregnancy).”
Jess said: “I just started at 31 weeks on the terry-towelling nappies and face washers but have twins so there is so much to wash and dry in this damp weather and maybe not a lot of time to go. It took me about two hours just to remove tags last night from all their new clothes.”
Hollie said: “I washed all my babies clothes, wraps and blankets at about 20ish weeks and I’ve just gone through another phase of nesting and washed it all again at 27-28 weeks. I’ll probably end up washing them again.”
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Know a brilliant laundry liquid that’s safe for baby clothes we should add to our list? Contact us and let us know.
Find more helpful baby products …
If you’re on the hunt for more practical gear for baby’s early years, you’re in the right spot. From nappies to skincare, our roundups list Australia’s most coveted baby products and brands.
Read this: Why you should iron baby clothes
Continue your search for the best baby detergent
Looking for the best laundry liquid for baby and still not sure if any of these are right for you? Join one of the Mum’s Grapevine Facebook Baby Groups and ask thousands of other mums what they recommend. They are grouped together by baby’s birth date so everyone is going through the same stages at the same time.
Click here >> Mum’s Grapevine Facebook Groups << and find your group today!