Being a new parent entails several responsibilities and constant demands. The daily schedule rotates around feeding, putting the baby to sleep, frequent diaper changes, and doing laundry. It’s estimated that an average person spends 260 minutes, or four hours, on laundry every week. Add a small child into the mix, with several outfit changes a day, and soon you have piles of baby clothes to be laundered, and that’s quite apart from the washcloths, bedding, blankets, and cloth diapers in the laundry baskets of some households.
To be able to prepare for laundry time, parents must first establish their laundry routine, including choosing the best baby detergent to use for their little one. Insert baby safe detergents to the growing list of important matters one should take care of, to keep the sensitive skin of the newest addition to the family safe, and bring peace of mind to the parents as well.
Do You Need Special Laundry Detergents For Babies?
While many parents prefer to use the same detergent together with the rest of the family clothes, it can be worth considering the baby’s sensitive skin.
Keep Eczema At Bay
Having a baby-safe detergent will address the itchiness, rashes, redness, or even swelling worries of parents as well as the child’s skin concerns. Studies show that at least 10% of children in the US have eczema, and 1/3 of these cases range from moderate to severe. Parenting a child included in these data will prevent additional flare-ups and worsening skin conditions.
Babies’ immune system is not yet fully mature so their sensitive skin can react to various chemicals present in regular detergents. Check for labels that indicate they are “baby-friendly” but may contain scents that may trigger allergies, or if these products are kid-safe, they may not be able to do a good job in getting the baby’s clothes clean.
Buying a sample size of baby detergent and washing a single load may be the best way to know if the child’s skin will react when they wear the baby clothes from that load.
How To Choose The Best Baby Laundry Detergents
Check The Whiteners
Optical brighteners are synthetic chemicals that are added to both powder and liquid laundry detergents. Laundry detergent manufacturers add this chemical for the purpose of making clothes appear whiter and brighter, which will make clothes look cleaner.
Bleach and fabric softeners must also be avoided as they contain harsh chemicals that may be too much for the babies. It is safe to use stain-removers that contain mild ingredients rather than using bleach on baby’s clothing especially when it comes to their sleepwear as the law requires them to be flame-resistant, and bleach may damage the fabrics if used. It reduces the effectiveness of the treatment chemicals and might ruin the clothing.
Stay Away From Dyes and Sulfates
Dye-free and sulfate-free products are also recommended as they are safe to use on the baby’s sensitive skin. Sulfates are detergents made of sulfuric salts. They are cheap manufacturing ingredients and produce a rich lather, making them loved by both companies and consumers. These sulfates remove dirt and grease from the skin, but as a tradeoff, also strip off the skin’s natural moisturizing oils. Dyes contain harmful chemicals that have carcinogenic components, Styrofoam, and other toxic elements harmful to both humans and the environment. Both ingredients pose a great risk of harming the little one if used in washing clothes and other baby fabrics.
Is The Detergent Safe For Babies?
Usually, parents and caregivers opt for hypoallergenic labels found in baby products most especially with cleaning products like baby laundry detergents. Hypoallergenic means that there were no allergic reactions caused by either the product or its ingredients during the testing phase. That does not necessarily mean it is allergy-proof, or even that it has undergone specific allergy testing. Still, it’s a safer bet than products that can’t display the hypoallergenic label.
No Artificial Fragrances
Safe for babies also means that the baby detergent is fragrance-free. This means that the laundry detergent is free from fragrance, and this differs from being unscented. Unscented product, on the other hand, means the fragrance is present and has been masked. The baby’s sensitive skin does not require clothes smelling good only to end up having irritation caused by their allergic reaction to the fragrance, no matter how light the smell.
There are also baby laundry detergents in the market that are composed of natural plant-based ingredients. These ‘green baby laundry detergents’ are an easy way to be gentler both to the environment and the baby’s skin. These plant-based detergent products tend to be free of, or contain less of, the chemicals that can cause irritation, damage clothing over time, and pollute the environment.
Type of Detergent
Laundry pods or all-in-one packets containing detergent that is released in the wash instead of measuring in a cup are often used to save time and avoid the hassle of messy measurements per load. However, these laundry pods pose a great risk, especially when children get their hands on them. The most common result of exposure for children below six are poisoning after children ingesting them, and skin disorder in the form of contact dermatitis. Being bright colored objects that attract the little ones, toxicologists suggest that parents and caregivers store them ‘where the child can’t see it, can’t reach it, and can’t get into it’ to assure children’s safety.
Powdered baby laundry detergent is cheaper than liquid laundry detergent. It is also easier to store and is better in cleaning off clay and ground-in dirt that find their way into your baby’s clothes as they are exploring their environment. However, powder detergents, especially inexpensive ones, have a lot of fillers in them. This may result in residues caused by the powder not dissolving properly during the wash.
Liquid baby laundry detergent, on the other hand, is generally a bit more expensive but is more convenient and easy to use. It may also double up as a stain-fighting pre-soak for tough or oily stains.
What Excellent Choices of Baby Laundry Detergent Are Available Today?
Rockin’ Green Classic Rock Unscented Laundry Detergent
An eco-friendly cleaning line, Rockin’ Green baby laundry detergent is specially made for hard water or water that contains dissolved calcium, magnesium, and other metallic elements, commonly found across the US. Their enzyme blend formula is free of dyes, optical brighteners, and fabric softeners, which minimizes skin irritation and makes this detergent good for babies with eczema. Most of the users of this fragrance-free product claim it is helpful for washing or soaking cloth diapers and baby’s clothes.
All Free and Clear Laundry
This liquid baby laundry detergent is specifically formulated for sensitive skin and is free from dyes, fluoride, and brighteners. This laundry detergent product is hypoallergenic and has a stamp of approval from the National Eczema Association (NEA). This fragrance-free detergent claims to remove 99% of common allergens including dog, cat, tree, and pollen allergens as attested by parents and caregivers who have kids prone to rashes. It is also great for the whole family who includes their uniforms and workwear with their baby’s clothes in the wash.
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent
When it comes to the best baby laundry detergents, Seventh Generation offers an eco-friendly option that takes the stress out of making green decisions in your daily chores. Perfect for sensitive skin, Free & Clear liquid laundry detergent is made from plant-based ingredients and is free from dyes and brighteners. Its hypoallergenic formula is quickly gaining users among eco-conscious parents and caregivers who adore the product’s use of liquid detergent enzymes to remove stains and works in both HE and standard machines at all washing temperatures all while being 100% septic system safe. Free & Clear baby laundry detergent is free of dyes and is concentrated enough to run a few more loads compared to other detergents. It is a bio-based product certified by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Simply use 1/2 cap in your cloth diaper prewash and 1 1/2 caps in the main wash. Free & Clear laundry detergent works great on milk spills, spit-up stains, and even poop smears. It is not fragrance-free, but the light scent is derived from plant-based essential oils and botanical extracts. The Environmental Protection Agency also awarded this baby detergent a Safer Choice designation.
Babyganics 3X Laundry Detergent
The Babyganics baby laundry detergent is proven tough on stain removal while taking care of the baby’s delicate skin. It is free from petrolatum, sulfates, artificial fragrances, brighteners, dyes, phosphates, and parabens. Using plant and enzyme-based cleaning power, this baby laundry detergent does a great job on all baby’s dirty clothes. Parents love the laundry detergent concentrated formula and that it does not leave behind a scent on baby’s clothes.
Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent
This laundry detergent from Austin, Texas boasts of its plant-derived ingredients and is specifically formulated for people with sensitive skin and allergies. This laundry detergent contains no brighteners, softeners, phosphates, sulfates, petrochemicals, animal by-products, chlorine, perfumes, dyes, or allergens. Puracy Natural laundry detergent is made of organic ingredients that are gentle to the environment and may be less irritating to baby’s skin, earning it an A rating with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Puracy Natural laundry detergent is extremely concentrated and comes in no-mess pump bottles making it easier for parents and caregivers to have more cleaning power.
Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Liquid Detergent
Dreft, part of the P&G brand family, has been around for over 80 years and has been recommended by numerous households in several generations. The hypoallergenic stage one laundry detergent formula is designed for newborn’s delicate clothes and skin and is made up of biodegradable surfactants, which are ingredients that help clean fabric. Plus, it can be used in both standard and high-efficiency washing machines and comes in a built-in-tap 25% recycled plastic container. The yummy mild baby scent of Dreft Stage 1 Newborn is sure to be loved by parents but may not be suitable for children who are sensitive to fragrances.
Tips for Laundry Time
- Newborn babies are prone to allergies and have super sensitive skin, so it is best to wash baby’s new items before they wear them, especially if they will be in direct contact with the skin.
- Wash cloth diapers alone as regular detergents may cause diaper rashes. After rinsing cloth diapers in cold water, soak them in mild detergent, preferably liquid detergent to avoid leaving residues that may touch the babies’ diaper area. Wash with baby detergent in hot water and make sure to double rinse each load.
- If the baby spits up a bottle all over their new designer sundress, act fast. Prioritize cleaning the stains by either wiping as much of the mess as possible with a baby wipe or soaking the clothes in a mix of water and detergents. This makes it easier to get the stain out in the long-run.
- Keep children away from the laundry area because if they get even a tiny amount of laundry detergent in their mouth or eyes, it can cause irritation, breathing or stomach problems, and even death. It is a good idea to lock up the laundry area when not in use.
- Be mindful of the child’s skin condition when washing the clothes. Always remember to wash every item that will touch the baby’s skin, like bedding, blankets, towels, and plush toys, especially if they have eczema or contact dermatitis.
In your search for the best baby laundry detergent, always check the ingredients list for labels such as dye-free, scent- or fragrance-free, and chemical-free. It is also wise to run all clothes through a wash cycle before wearing them for the first time to remove irritating substances from the clothes themselves or try a single load of clothes to see if their skin might react to it since babies have delicate skin.
The most important things to consider when choosing a laundry detergent for babies are the baby’s unique needs and the family’s budget and lifestyle all together. At the end of the day, the best baby detergents are the ones that work best for you. There is nothing wrong with buying the baby their own detergent if it feels right or using the same detergent for the whole family.