Care Clothes

Why You Should Wash Baby Clothes Before Use

The younger a baby is, the more sensitive their skin is likely to be.

In fact, a baby’s skin can be up to 30% thinner than that of an adult.

Given your baby has such delicate skin, to avoid any unnecessary irritation you will want to do everything you can to ensure what they are wearing is both soft and clean.

Because both brand new and second hand clothes may have dust and dirt particles on them, and could have been in contact with other irritants in storage, you should wash all of your baby’s clothes and other washable items before use.

Should You Wash Baby Clothes Before Use?

Brand New Baby Clothes

It is strongly recommended to wash brand new baby clothes before use.


Because the clothes have probably been stored in a warehouse before they were shipped to the shop, and at these warehouses they may have been in contact with bugs, rodents and other nasties.

Hopefully that isn’t the case with any new clothes you’ve been gifted or purchased.

But even if the warehouse had good levels of cleanliness, there’s still a chance the new clothes could have collected dust or other dirt particles.

In addition, to protect clothes during shipping and storage, some manufacturers apply chemicals during manufacturing, and these chemicals could irritate a baby’s sensitive skin.

So a wash before use will ensure your little one’s new garment is as hygienic as possible.

Second Hand Baby Clothes

You might be thinking there’s no need to clean second hand baby clothes, especially if you know where they’ve come from and they are stain free.

But even if they were washed after their last use, these clothes could have been sitting in storage for a long time collecting dust.

So although they may look and smell clean, it’s still best to clean second hand clothes before adding them to your little one’s wardrobe.

What Temperature Should You Wash Baby Clothes?

If you’re washing re-suable diapers, then it’s best to use hot water as this will kill most of the bacteria.

Unfortunately the “best” temperature for cleaning baby clothes isn’t something all parents agree on.

For everything else it’s better to use cold or warm water (typically between 20 to 40 °C).

You also shouldn’t go too far wrong if you follow the temperature listed on the care label.

A cooler cycle is not only a better option for the environment, but it will also clean the items while keeping them soft (more on this below).

Can You Use Fabric Softener On Baby Clothes?

There is conflicting advice on whether to use fabric softener when cleaning baby clothes.

While the brand owners naturally want parents to use fabric softener to increase sales, many experts warn that using softener can irritate your baby’s skin and reduce the fire resistant properties of the fabric.

If you do want to use fabric softener, only use baby-friendly softener and carefully check the care instructions as there may be a specific warning advising against the use of softener.

But if you don’t use softener, is there another way to help keep baby clothes nice and soft?

Fortunately yes, if you wash your baby clothes at a low temperature using liquid detergent, and let them dry naturally (without using a drier), they should remain soft time after time.

Should You Wash Baby Clothes Separately?

Assuming you don’t use a detergent specially designed for baby clothes, you will probably want to clean your baby’s clothes with the rest of the family’s laundry.

But is it necessary to wash baby clothes separately?

While some parents do opt for separate cycles, many moms and dads clean their baby clothes with all their other laundry.

Just remember to separate the whites from the colors, use a gently cycle and follow any drying instructions found on the label.

Related: The Complete Guide To Buying & Caring For Baby Clothes

Should I Wash Baby Blankets Before Use?

Yes, just as with baby clothes, you should wash baby blankets before use.

What Else Should I Wash Before Use?

As well as clothes, it is recommended to clean any washable item that comes into contact with your baby’s skin.

The list of items you should clean before use includes:

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

Pin It