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How To Wash And Dry Baby Clothes (Keep Clothes From Shrinking)

Doing laundry is a pretty simple task for some people. Simply sort the colors, throw them in the wash, and then dry them. However, washing your baby’s clothing is not that simple.

You have to pre-treat clothing with stains. If you don’t sort them, be prepared for discoloration. Then, if you accidentally shrink them, your tiny one suddenly needs a whole new wardrobe. 

Washing and drying baby clothing isn’t the daunting task that it might seem like. Once you get used to these tips, you’ll be a pro at making sure your bundle of joy always has an adorable outfit clean. 

How To Get Stains Out Of Baby Clothing

It’s inevitable that you’ll have to deal with stains. Your little one will puke and poop on almost everything at some point, including their adorable clothing.

These tips will help you make sure that their clothing looks brand new when you’re ready for them to wear it again. 

Always Pre-treat Stains

You never know if a stain is going to come out in the washer. If you accidentally dry the clothing with a stain on it, the stain will be set in the clothes.

That means that you’re stuck with it. Instead, pre-treat every stain before tossing the clothing in the washer. I keep a spray bottle of shout beside the washer. Every stain gets a quick spritz. 

Double Check Stains Before Putting Clothing In The Dryer

Once a piece of clothing with a stain on it makes it into the dryer, the stain seems to be set into the clothing. It’s next to impossible to get out after that.

Make sure that you look at clothing before putting it in the dryer to avoid this. If it still has a stain, pre-treat it again and wash it again. 

Wash Stains On The Hottest Water Possible

Normally, it’s recommended to use the coldest water possible for baby clothing to avoid shrinking them, and to make them last longer. However, the hot water gets stains out better.

If you have clothing with stains, particularly items with stubborn stains, use the hottest water you can that won’t damage the clothing. This can help you get the stain out easier. 

How To Wash Baby Clothing

When you wash baby clothing, you’ll want to take special care to make sure that the colors don’t bleed on one another.

You’ll also want to be able to guarantee that their clothing is in good repair so that it lasts until they outgrow it. These tips and tricks can help you avoid common laundry mishaps. 

Sort Clothing According To Color

Instead of throwing everything in the washer together, make sure to sort it. Even if you wind up with one pile that is not large enough for a full load, it’s better to do a small load of laundry instead.

Sort according to lights, darks, and anything red. Red clothing can also be washed with darker colors, but it should never be mixed with lighter colors. If you do this by accident, it can turn all of your whites a light pink. 

Read The Tag On The Clothing

Almost every piece of clothing has care instructions on the tag, including baby clothing. This can tell you what temperature of water to use, and whether you’ll need to hand wash the item.

Some pieces of clothing, like those that are made out of specific fabrics or that have a lot of lace, will need to be hand-washed.

Others will usually be fine but might do best in the delicate setting. (This helps them last longer. The washer and dryer wear down clothing quicker.)

Hand Wash Clothing If Need Be

It’s going to be a pain to hand wash all of your baby’s clothing, but there are certain items that might call to be hand washed so that the washer or dryer does not destroy them. To do this: 

  • Fill the sink or a basin up with cold water and laundry soap
  • Put the clothing in the basin and knead it together, as if you were kneading bread
  • Rinse it using either a basin filled with non-soapy water or water from the running faucet
  • Wring the clothing out to remove excess water
  • Hang it to dry

Here’s an awesome video I found that can show you how to hand wash clothing if you need to learn how, but are a visual learner. 

Wash Using Gentle Settings

If you don’t need to hand wash clothing, put it in the washer in the coldest setting you have. The delicate cycle is also preferred. The more heavy-duty the cycle is, the harsher it will be on the clothing. 

You Can Use Any Laundry Soap

One child of mine had Tide for most of their infant years. Not special Tide without all the chemicals, etc. Plain old Tide. Another one Gain. Sometimes it was whatever was on sale.

If your baby isn’t allergic to anything, you can safely use almost any laundry soap unless they have a bad reaction to it.

However, make sure that you wait a few days after trying a new laundry soap to determine whether they will have an adverse reaction. 

How To Dry Baby Clothing

When it comes to drying baby clothing, you have two options: the dryer or hang drying the clothing. You’ll probably need to do one or the other at some point, so it’s best to have some knowledge about both. 

Using The Dryer For Baby Clothing

When using the dryer, put it in the least hot setting possible. This will take longer to dry the clothing, but the clothing won’t shrink either.

You won’t have to worry about the heat wearing down your clothing either. Air fluff is usually the preferred setting for things that you don’t need to dry immediately. 

Air Drying Clothing

Air drying clothing is what you’ll need to do if you have delicate clothing that will be damaged by the washer and dryer. If anything needs to be hand-washed, you’ll also need to air dry it.

To do this, simply hang it up and wait until it’s dry. Some people hang clothing on a clothing line outside. I don’t have a lot of things that I have to air dry, so I put them on a hanger in my laundry room. Do whatever is best for you. 

Laundry Tips You Need To Know

There are basic ways to do laundry, but there are quite a few laundry hacks for washing baby clothing that can make your life a lot easier. These are some of my favorites, and ones that I use with my grandson or other children. 

Put Socks In A Laundry Bag

Keep an extra laundry bag in the laundry room or nursery. Every time you take off your little one’s socks, toss them in the laundry bag. You’ll never have to worry about losing baby socks in the dryer again!

Aluminum Foil Works As A Dryer Sheet

If you have a little one with eczema or sensitive skin, you’ll quickly discover that dryer sheets seem to leave a residue on clothing. This can instantly lead to a breakout or rash.

Instead, crumple up some aluminum foil and toss it in the dryer. Your clothes won’t have static, and you can re-use them as many times as you want to. 

Treat Stains Immediately

As soon as you take the clothing off your little one, spray stain remover on it. This will save you from having to pre-treat the stains before tossing them in the washer because it will already be done. 

Throw A Towel In The Dryer For Faster Drying

If the clothing is still soaking wet and you need it to dry faster, toss a dry towel in with the load. The towel will naturally absorb the water, helping the clothing dry faster. 

Give Each Kid A Basket

If each child has their own basket, it instantly saves you from having to sort out laundry according to which room it goes in.

Instead, you can wash it, dry it, and then transport it back to the designated room to put away. This makes doing laundry so much easier when you have multiple children. 

Pick Up Separate Baskets Or A Laundry Hamper For Pre-Sorting

If clothing is sorted as it makes it to the laundry room, it saves you from having to do this before putting it in the washer.

Separate baskets or hampers are one option. Another great option is picking up a laundry hamper that is designed specifically for sorting laundry. 

In Conclusion

You wash baby clothing much like you wash your own clothing. Sort it, avoid letting stains sit, and make sure to take care when using the dryer.

Remember, heat is what shrinks clothing so you’ll want to avoid it whenever possible to help make the clothing last longer.