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is it necessary to wash new baby clothes

When expecting your new bundle of joy, you may have had someone ask if you have got your baby clothes washed in preparation for your new arrival.  You may find yourself asking,”do you wash baby clothes before they wear them?”  While this once was common practice among expectant mothers the debate of whether or not to prewash your new baby clothes has been discussed among parents for years.  Some parents may wonder why you would wash clothes that were brand new while others may think it is a health hazard not too.

Why Do Parents Choose to Wash Baby Clothes Before Using Them?

While most parents give clothes bought in thrift shops or borrowed a quick wash to remove residual dirt, pet dander, and smell, they often wash new clothes for entirely different reasons.  Some reasons moms like to wash new baby clothes before wear include:

1.  Newborn skin is delicate.

Your child’s skin is becoming exposed to the sun and elements for the first time as well as learning to adapt to the feel of even being covered in clothes.  New clothes may not be as soft or could have residual dye or chemicals that have been used during the manufacturing or packaging process that can cause rashes or irritation.

2.  Your baby may have unknown allergies.

As mentioned above, new clothes may have residue left from the manufacturing process as well as dust and debris that may have entered the fabric due to the storage or shipping process.  Your newborn has not had much of a chance to build up their immune system so even slight amounts of allergens can trigger a reaction.

3.  Your baby may not care for the scent.

If you have ever opened a sealed package on a new outfit, you may immediately be overwhelmed by a combination smell of fabric dye and plastic.  While this nasal offense may seem small to you, to a baby who is just now discovering their world through their senses, it may be too much for them to bear.  Washing baby clothes in the appropriate detergent can leave them with a fresh less-offensive smell that will not be an assault on their developing senses

How to Wash Baby Clothes

The first time I saw information on how to wash baby clothes, I dismissed it, believing that it must be for people who have never had to do laundry.  Well, apparently the joke was on me as there are certain tips that should be followed to not only ensure that your baby’s clothes are properly cleaned, but also make them wearable on sensitive skin.

1.  Choose the proper detergent.

Many companies will advertise that their formula is the best for your baby’s sensitive skin but the rule of thumb is that you want to find a detergent that is labeled free and clear.  This means that the detergent is free from fragrances and dyes that your child may react to.

2.  Wash all clothes and baby articles before use.

This includes blankets, sheets, burp clothes, etc.  Anything that you may put in contact with your child’s skin should be washed before using.

3.  Rinse everything twice.

By rinsing the articles twice, you will remove the dirt with the first round and then remove any of the additional debris or residual detergent that may be left after the initial wash.  As your child grows, you can slowly discontinue this step unless your little one has allergies or problems sensitivity to soap.

4.  Be sure your fabric softeners are fragrance-free as well.

Choose a fabric softener without out additional chemicals or fragrance that can irritate your child’s skin.  If you want to eliminate fabric softener all together, you can opt for dryer balls which work to soften your clothes and prevent wrinkle without chemicals and with the added benefit of them drying more quickly.  I use these in most of my laundry and it can cut the drying time in half.

The Verdict

So when it comes down to the question of when to wash baby clothes, the answer should be always.  New or used, taking the time to give the clothes a thorough cleaning will avoid possible skin or allergy issues with your little one and help them feel comfortable in the already new feeling of wearing clothes.  I suggest buying a baby detergent early and washing your clothes as you get them so that it will not seem like such as large task and you will be ready in case your bundle of joy decides to make an early debut.

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