How to Wash Baby Gear

washng baby gear__1451439095_108.89.137.58Keeping baby gear clean is an important part of ensuring your baby remains healthy.  While some exposure to germs is good to boost the immune system gradually, an overwhelming dose of pathogens can get your baby sick.  It is vital to wash baby gear – including clothes, bibs, burp cloths, sheets, carriers, seat covers, blankets, swaddles and other surfaces where your baby spends time – periodically to help reduce your baby’s contact with harmful germs.

Today we’re breaking down the best way to wash baby gear in several key categories:

Clothes, Burp Cloths and Sheets:  These items can usually be washed in the same manner as you’d wash any other clothes or sheets.  Some families choose to use a baby detergent for newborns and young infants to ensure a less abrasive formula free of dyes, fragrances and chemicals.  Others toss baby items in with the rest of the family’s clothes, especially if they already use a natural detergent in their household.

Be sure to wash ALL baby clothes, sheets and anything else that will touch your baby’s skin before using them.  Manufacturing, shipping and sitting on store shelves can leave various residues, chemicals and other unwanted substances that could be dangerous for your baby.  For convenience, most parents choose not to buy too many baby clothes that require hand-washing, but for a few special items, be sure you’re using a soap-free hand washing detergent.  If you find your baby has particularly sensitive skin, consider replacing your laundry detergent for one that is hypoallergenic for at least a few months.

Bibs and Swaddles:  While these items are also machine-washable, be careful with their Velcro.  It can snag other items in your wash and cause runs and fraying.  Be sure to close the Velcro straps before washing and consider separating them into mesh bags to keep them away from other clothes.

Nursing Bras:  When you are breastfeeding, what you wear will also touch your baby’s delicate skin.  Plus, nursing bras have extra clasps that should be protected.  The best approach is to hand-wash your nursing bras with other delicate baby items.  If you need to machine wash them, put them in a machine-safe lingerie bag on a delicates cycle and never run them through the dryer as this can cause pieces to melt, bend or misshape.  Instead, hang to dry.

Blankets:  You’ll probably want to hand-wash your nicer baby blankets or even dry-clean them every now and then.  Be sure you select a dry cleaner that uses a baby-friendly formula.

Seat Covers:  Many car seats, bouncy chairs and swings have removable fabric covers that can be easily washed.  But parents often forget to wash them!  Take the time to wash them several times a month according to their washing instructions.  Many are machine washable and can be line dried.  This also goes for highchair and shopping cart covers and any nursing covers that you may keep in your diaper bag.

Play Spaces and Toys:  Many play spaces cannot be tossed into the wash but should be wiped down regularly.  Between normal germs we track in, drool and spit-up, play spaces can get icky pretty quickly.  This includes play mats, chairs and swings, plastic toys, bath tubs and bath toys, etc…  As your baby gets older, she will put more and more things in her mouth, even things you would not expect.  Use natural cleaning formulas or ones that are marketed as baby-safe to ensure you are not introducing harmful chemicals into your play space.  If you have other babies over to play often, keep a spray bottle of cleaning solvent or a container of wipes nearby to wipe things down easily after playtime.

Stuffed Animals:  Definitely wash new stuffed animals before handing them over to your baby.  You can usually put them in a gentle cycle in the washing machine and line-dry them or hand wash them.  Every month or so, round up the stuffies and wash them to ensure they stay clean enough for all your baby’s snuggles.