What Temperature Is Best To Wash Newborn Clothes At?

The short answer is the lowest temperature possible, but there’s way more to it than that. In this article we look at how to wash a newborn baby’s clothes, what detergent to use, whether to hand wash or machine wash and much more.

Becoming a parent for the first time is quite a daunting experience, all of a sudden you are responsible for a brand new life. It seems like there’s so much to learn and one area that can cause concern is getting baby’s clothes clean. 

How To Wash Baby’s Clothes

Before you get anywhere near the utility room you should consult the wash care label in the baby clothes. This will give you all the information you need to get baby’s clothes clean without damage.

There will be a symbol on the label that looks like a bucket full of water along with a number. That number represents the recommended highest temperature that the item can safely be washed at. If the number is 30 it means that the highest temperature the item can be washed at is 30 degrees C. 

If it’s a 40 it means the safest temperature that item can be washed at is 40 degrees C and so on.

In some cases, you might find a symbol that shows the bucket symbol full of water with a hand inside the water. That is the symbol that signifies the item can be hand washed only. Which is also an indication of a low temperature wash cycle.

Many baby clothes are either hand wash only or cold water wash only which is why it is important to check the wash care label before commencing any laundry functions.

You will also need to separate whites from colours as these can often have different washing instructions.

What Should You Wash Baby Clothes With?

Washing Machine

As babies often have sensitive skin, it’s best to use a non-bio detergent as these have no enzymes that can cause irritation. It is also better to use liquid detergents instead of powders. Liquid detergents are gentler on fabrics and work better at lower temperatures.

You should use a non-bio liquid detergent formulated for use at low temperatures. It should also be free from dyes and optical brighteners and ideally fragrance free as well.

Is It OK To Use Fabric Softener On Baby Clothes?

You shouldn’t need a fabric softener on new baby clothes. However, as they will spend a lot of their lifetime in the washing machine (babies tend to attract dirt), your baby’s clothes could become harsh and scratchy over time.

Using a fabric softener can help prevent this but you should always check the wash care label first. As some baby clothes are treated with a flame-resistant coating that can become damaged if exposed to fabric softeners.

If it is OK to use a fabric softener, choose one that is designed for sensitive skin. Or better still, add a ½ cupful of white vinegar to the wash load because white vinegar is a natural fabric softener.

Should You Wash New Baby Clothes Before Use?

You should always wash new baby clothes before use to prevent any dust, irritants or pollutants being transferred to the baby. This will protect the baby’s sensitive skin from any allergic reaction.

What Is The Best Temperature For Washing Baby Clothes?

Baby Clothes

You might think that washing baby clothes at the highest possible temperature is the safest way to ensure they are clean enough for putting next to baby’s skin. However, a 30 degree delicate wash cycle using a non-bio liquid detergent is perfect for washing baby clothes. 

Not only is it better for the baby clothes, it’s environmentally friendly and saves you money too! The only real exception to this is reusable terry nappies which should always be washed on a hot wash to remove all germs and bacteria.

Another good tip is to always run an extra rinse cycle if possible to ensure all of the detergent has been completely removed from the fabric. This will prevent any allergic reaction from the detergent on the baby’s skin.

Can You Wash Baby Bibs In A Washing Machine?

You can wash baby bibs in a washing machine but remember to close any velcro straps before washing to prevent them catching on any other items in the drum. 

As some bibs are plastic backed, you will need to check the wash care label before washing to be sure it is safe to do so.

What Would Happen If I Washed Baby Clothes On A Hot Wash?

The most likely outcome if you were to wash baby clothes on a hot wash would be that the clothes would shrink. It’s bad enough that the average baby outgrows their clothes every 8 to 10 weeks as it is.

Some items are more prone to shrinking than others, wool for example can shrink at quite low temperatures. Many cotton items are slightly more robust, but it is best if you stick to washing baby clothes at relatively low temperatures.

SEE ALSO: What Temperature Is Best To Wash Clothes At?

Frequently Asked Questions

What setting should I wash baby clothes?

You should wash baby clothes on a delicate wash using a low (20 to 30 degree) temperature.

Is it OK to wash baby clothes at 40 degrees?

It is best to wash baby clothes using a cool (30 degree) or warm (40 degrees) wash cycle. As long as you use the correct detergent, this will get the clothes clean without causing them to shrink.

Can I wash newborn baby clothes in the washing machine?

You can wash newborn baby clothes in the washing machine as long as the wash care label indicates that it is OK to do so. There are some newborn baby clothes that should only be hand washed which is why you should always check the wash care label before washing.

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