Big Ideas For Tiny Laundry: Cleaning Baby Clothes and Toys

Small Clothes and First Toys

A new baby brings joy and laughter to family life. Many new parents are floored by the messes and stains produced by their small new family member, but there’s nothing to fear. The main idea to remember is that your child’s skin is delicate, and clothes and toys that come into contact with the baby should be soft, clean and free of allergens, germs or dirt.

Baby’s Room

While preparing the nursery, all fabric items should be laundered. Check the labels and use the highest temperature setting to remove any dust or chemical residue.

It’s advisable to clean the washing machine first to remove any remaining dirt from previous loads. This is done by pouring a cup of vinegar into the wash drum and running one cycle on the hottest setting.

Choosing the Right Detergent

While a trip to your local supermarket will yield detergents formulated for babies, many families simply opt for one free of dyes and fragrances. Fabric softener, however, is likely to irritate and should be left out of the baby’s laundry. If garments need softening, simply add half a cup of vinegar to the wash for gentler results.

Stain Treatment

Stains are better treated the sooner that you can address them; the following steps will reduce or eliminate many that you’ll encounter.

  1. Scoop, scrape or wipe away as much of the staining material as possible.
  2. Using cold water, soak for at least 20 minutes; add vinegar if odors are present.
  3. For more severe stains, a paste of baking soda and water should be applied to the area and allowed to work for 20 minutes. Stains such as body waste may require the use of enzyme-based commercial stain remover.
  4. Rinse away applied treatments before laundering according to the directions on the tag.

Playtime Cleanup

Soft toys are often favorites and accumulate a surprising amount of grime; their regular cleaning can help keep your little one healthy. Place toys in the freezer overnight before taking the following steps:

  1. Protect the toy in a pillowcase. Sprinkle with baking soda if odors are present.
  2. Using the hottest recommended setting, wash with baby-safe detergent separately from laundry.
  3. To keep the toy soft, add vinegar during the rinse cycle.
  4. Air dry.