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How to Care for Baby Clothes: Essential Tips Every Parent Should Know

Ah the unending cycle of laundry. As a parent you may be in a love/hate relationship with the laundry situation in your home. Perhaps you’re looking for a reprieve from the demand that is washing and folding baby clothes. You need help and we have answers. We’ve compiled a list of essential tips to care for your baby clothes from what detergent to choose to getting tough stains out (easily - the key is ease). It’s laundry, we’re not reinventing the wheel, just simplifying the process. 

Your life is already busy with a baby and the countless other tasks that pop up throughout the day. So, before you read on, grab a coffee (tea, water - whatever you like), take a breath, and we’ll work out the laundry situation together. 

Picture It With Piccolina: How to Care for Baby Clothes 

  • Laundry Essentials
  • Detergents
  • Washing Tips
  • Stain Removal
  • Folding and Storage

baby clothes piccolina

Baby Clothes Laundry Essentials 

You’ll want to choose products that do not contain harsh chemicals, overpowering scents, and additional irritants. As adults we add in products to fight stains or eliminate odor - especially our workout clothes. However, your baby clothes are a bit more delicate in a sense, mainly because they’re smaller and need to be handled differently. Below we’ve listed a few key laundry essentials to think about buying including:

Mesh Laundry Bag 

This is a great option to have to keep socks together and wash with other small hats or bibs.

Gentle Detergent

Babies have incredibly delicate skin so many traditional detergents are too harsh for them, especially in the beginning. 

Stain Fighter 

There are so many options on the market from Dreft to Persil to even dish soap. 

Baking Soda

A wonderful, natural option to keep smells at bay and clothes smelling fresh. 

Vinegar

A great cleaning agent to pair with baking soda or to use alone in your washing machine. 

Small Brush/Sponge or Toothbrush

To get out tough stains or to help your stain fighter work better. 

 

Should I use fabric softener on baby clothes? 

While there are fabric softener options specifically made for babies, you may want to hold off at first. Figure out how your baby reacts to your choice of laundry detergent first and then you can decide if adding a softener is a good idea. 

 

What detergent should I use for baby clothes? 

It’s best to avoid detergents with dyes or fragrances to avoid irritation and potential skin issues. Many pediatricians recommend using Dreft for babies. They have some products specifically designed for different stages of your baby’s growth. 

 

Dreft stage 1

Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Liquid Detergent - Go-to choice for newborns

  • The #1 pediatrician-recommended baby detergent
  • Specifically formulated for newborn babies 
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Formulated for both high efficiency (HE) and standard washers


This is a great option for new parents looking for a safe trusted option. However, there are also two other Dreft options such as:

 

dreft pure

Dreft Pure Gentleness Liquid Detergent - Great for sensitive skin


  • A hypoallergenic plant-based formula that uses 75% plant-based ingredients
  • Contains 0% added dyes like chlorine, phosphates, or brighteners 
  • It’s also fragrance free and works in all washing machines (HE and    standard - both front and top load washers), even in cold water

 

 

dreft stage 2

Dreft Stage 2: Active Baby Liquid Detergent - A must for removing those tough baby stains

  • Formulated for active babies that inevitably have hard to remove stains
  • Removes 99% of baby food stains like dirt and grass 
  • Formulated for HE and standard washers 

 

 

 

 

However, you can also ask your pediatrician for special recommendations based on your lifestyle and baby’s skin. 



Choosing the Best Fabrics for your Baby Clothes 

Cotton, especially 100% cotton, is a great choice for baby clothes because of how breathable and easy to wash it is. It’s also traditionally very soft and a go-to choice for many baby clothes. This is also a popular choice if your baby is suffering from skin conditions or just sensitive skin in general. However, if you’re looking for additional fabrics, think about overall breathability and softness. The options below are also good for babies. 

  • Jersey Knit
  • Muslin
  • Fleece
  • Bamboo
  • Linen

 

Tips on How to Wash Baby Clothes 

Everyone has a different hack or trick to washing baby clothes. If you’re a first time parent looking for advice or just a parent looking for some new tricks, check out our top washing and drying tips below. Take what resonates and leave what doesn’t!

Pre-Wash

Some recommend pre-washing new baby clothes to remove any potential contaminants or irritants from either shipping or manufacturing. Sometimes people just like to remove that new clothing smell. Whatever your preference, you may want to consider washing your baby clothes before putting them on your baby to see how they react to your choice of detergent. 

Regular Wash

If you’re not fighting off a tough stain, you’ll want to check out the label on the individual piece of clothing. You can put small items in a mesh laundry bag to avoid items getting lost in the shuffle. However, you may also want to sort based on darks and lights to avoid the color bleeding, especially with the first few washes. 

Many baby clothes can be washed in a regular cycle with warm water, but this also depends on the particular fabric or how dirty an item is. 

Drying

This is largely based on your preference. Some choose to put their clothes in the dryer on a low setting to avoid shrinking an item. Others choose to let their clothes air dry on a rack or air dry in the sun. 

Piccolina Pro Tip: Air drying in the sun is also a great natural stain remover, but it’s best to avoid sun drying darker clothes that have been treated as they could lighten as a result. 

 

How to wash cloth diapers? 

If you’re using cloth diapers you’ll want to first check the label or look at what the specific brand recommends for cleaning. After that, you should remove any excess waste with a wipe or wet one. Many store their diapers in a pail or bin to wash in a larger quantity, but again, it's all your preference. Whatever works for you is always the best plan!

If you have a load of cloth diapers ready (which, who are we kidding, you probably have loads) you can first wash in a pre-rinse cycle to remove any extra muck. This wash should just be the diapers and water, no detergent yet. You can then add detergent and run a warm to hot wash cycle to actually clean and sanitize the diapers. 

Once everything is washed and clean it’s generally recommended to air dry cloth diapers to keep them soft and the same size. However, check your brand to see what is recommended. 

Piccolina Pro Tip: Adding baking soda to your diaper pail or washing machine can help eliminate odor and keep diapers clean over time. Basically, baking soda is a cheap tool that really does a lot in the baby cleaning world!

 

 

Can you put baby clothes in the dryer?

 

Can you put baby clothes in the dryer? 

Yes! While you should always check the label first, many baby clothes can be put in the dryer. Many choose to use a low heat setting to avoid shrinkage, but check your dryer settings to see if you have a delicate dry setting as well. 

If you’re worried about shrinking clothes you can also wash them for the first time and let them air dry on a rack. But don’t worry about shrinking something, it happens! Test out an item and see what setting works and then go from there. 

 

How to Remove Almost Every Type of Stain 

Stains. The bane of our existence as humans. That’s an exaggeration, but they are annoying. But if you have a baby (or even a pet) you’re going to become a stain fighting master over time. There are countless tips and tricks to consider, but you should keep in mind using safe, light stain fighters to avoid irritating your baby’s sensitive skin. We’ve highlighted some common, and even natural, options to use that won’t break the bank. 

 

Pee and Poop Stains 

Okay, this is probably up there with top terrible stains to tackle. Pee stains are generally easier to get rid of, but poop stains are a bit tougher to handle (physically and, well, the smell is rough too). 

 

Pee Stains 

  • Rinse the item in cold water and wash. You can add a stain fighting addition if you think your babies’ skin can tolerate an additional additive. If not, you can try making a paste with baking soda and a little vinegar. You can also rub the mixture in with a toothbrush (make this a special one for laundry - no teeth brushing with this!). 
  • Remember: The combo of baking soda and vinegar will bubble up so don’t add too much! You can make a paste in a bowl with a few tablespoons of baking soda first and then add a tablespoon of vinegar to mix.

 

Poop Stains

  • It’s best to clean up as much as you can before washing. A baby wipe works wonders for removing the excess before tackling the stain. 
  • Next, put the clothes in the sink and rinse with water, but avoid rubbing the stain in even more. 
  • You can use a stain remover directly on the area if your baby’s skin isn’t overly sensitive to new ingredients. 
  • You’ll want to wash at a hotter temperature than you traditionally do with your baby clothes, particularly because you also want to sanitize the item.

Piccolina Pro Tip: You can add vinegar (about 1 to 2 cups) to your wash for extra help. 

 

Baby Oil Stains 

Baby oil stains are traditionally very tough to remove but we have some solutions including:

  • Add baby powder, baking soda, or cornstarch to the stain and let sit for 20 minutes. Then dab the stain with a clean sponge or towel to let the solution absorb. Wash in a hot water cycle after.
  • Dawn dish detergent is a go-to choice for removing oil stains. Apply some to the stain and rub it in, letting it sit for about 10 minutes. You can then wash in a hot water cycle after. 

Piccolina Pro Tip: Hot water helps to break down oil stains, so try to wash in a hot water cycle after pre-treating. 

 

oil stain removal

Stains from Vegetables and Fruits 

As your baby begins eating solids you’ll probably find yourself inundated with bright colored stains from fruits and vegetables. You can of course use your stain remover to pre-treat the item, but you can also use hot water and dish detergent to remove the stain. 

Remember to blot, not rub the stain. If that doesn’t do the trick, try soaking the piece of clothing in vinegar and water (one part vinegar to two parts water) for about 20 minutes and wash as you would normally. 

 

fruit stains

How to Fold and Store Baby Clothes 

So the laundry is one story, but the putting away is another one. Baby clothes are understandably tiny, but that makes the folding a bit more difficult. We’ve provided an easy way to roll up baby onesies for quick storage and access. 


How do you roll up a baby onesie?

First make sure you have the appropriate room in a dresser or closet to fit your onesies. You can even store in cloth bins for easier access. 

  1. Next you want to lay the onesie flat.
  2. Fold the onesie inwards (lengthwise) so the sleeves can be tucked in behind the torso.
  3. Then, once the sleeves are tucked in you’ll want to smooth out any bumps.
  4. Finally, starting from the bottom, fold the onesie in three sections. If it’s easier you can also just roll the onesie to look like a burrito. 
  5. You can then store in easy rows rather than sifting through tall piles.

How do you roll up a baby onesie

Be a Piccolina Pro 

At Piccolina we understand that laundry is just one part of the amazing journey that is parenthood. With your life in mind, we’ve created clothes that not only empower your baby , but we aim to keep them comfortable too. Our clothes are soft and comfy thanks to our 100% Peruvian cotton that is breathable, moisture-wicking and even wrinkle resistant. 

Don’t let the laundry get you down, there are plenty of solutions from fighting stains to picking fabrics that last. You can always come back to this guide for a refresh over time. 

For additional options, check out our collection of baby clothes ranging from 0-24 months. While you’re looking you can also find some amazing books and toys from brands we love