My wife is due to have our first child in 6 weeks and our neighbour has kindly given us a lot of their old newborn and 1-3 month baby clothes.

We're keen to rewash them all before use.

Does anyone have any recommendations on washing baby clothes for a newborn? E.g. should biological or non-bio powder be used, should they be washed above a certain temperature, and should we include fabric softener?

Also should brand new baby clothes be washed before use as well?

Thanks in advance! :o)

asked 31 Jan '10, 14:51

johnsibly's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 01 Feb '10, 17:17

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

What do you mean by biological or non-biological detergent?

(02 Feb '10, 14:20) mkcoehoorn

Sorry it seems like it is a UK term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_detergent

(02 Feb '10, 23:12) johnsibly


I never used anything but regular laundry detergent to wash my son's clothes, but I always made sure everything of his was washed before he ever put it on.


answered 31 Jan '10, 14:56

Matthew%20Jones's gravatar image

Matthew Jones
accept rate: 18%

+1 for washing everything!

(31 Jan '10, 14:59) Emi

With my first born, I did everything by the book. Bought Dreft, yada, yada yada. Then I started using All Free & Clear. I was told by our pediatrician that Tide leaves a residue on the clothes that can cause irritation, which my son got when he was first potty training and was wearing underwear.

I have liked All (Free & Clear) which I still use today. I always let their clothes air dry that way they are less likely to shrink and will last longer. It's really just up to you. I always used cold water on everything but the underwear and that gets washed on HOT water.


answered 01 Feb '10, 05:50

Lisa%20C's gravatar image

Lisa C
accept rate: 0%

edited 02 Feb '10, 04:25

I would like to add to the answers that we use no special detergent, but when washing stuff for our son we use a special setting on our machine which rinses twice to get all of the detergent out of the cloth. We also try to avoid perfumed detergent and don't use fabric softener.


answered 31 Jan '10, 17:06

brandstaetter's gravatar image

accept rate: 24%

+1 We also never used fabric softener. It appears to leave a film on the clothes that irritates our daughter's skin.

(01 Feb '10, 15:01) Tammy ♦♦

We used All Free Clear for the first several months then started putting the baby clothes in with the rest of the laundry. When we were in the store deciding which detergent to get we compared Free Clear to All Baby and Dreft. The only difference in the ingredients was that the ones marketed for babies had a perfume in them. The Free Clear was less money for a larger bottle and perfume free.


answered 31 Jan '10, 15:49

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 01 Feb '10, 05:39

To clarify: we bought one container of the stuff and used it exclusively for baby clothes until it ran out (which was a long while). Definitely don't waste your money on anything fancier.

(08 Feb '10, 03:51) Joel Coehoorn

According to these studies on the Proctor and Gamble website (they may have a vested interest) biological detergent is not more likely to cause irritation than non-biological. In general I think there's no harm in making sure that everything gets rinsed thoroughly after washing. If you are wary about using fabric softener you can put white vinegar in the rinse drawer and that helps to get any detergent residues out and so softens clothes.

From a personal experience point of view - I wash most of our clothes and our son's nappies in non-biological. Only using biological on my husband's shirts, which seem to get very smelly otherwise. On the unfortunate occasion when I had forgotten to take detergent with us on a visit to relatives, and our son's nappies got washed in biological detergent, his foreskin became rather red and inflamed. The inflamation went away once I had rewashed all the nappies in our usual, non-biological, detergent. That's quite an extreme case though - the most sensitive part of his anatomy in wet contact with possible detergent residues for several hours.


answered 01 Feb '10, 16:05

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

We also washed everything, new things were washed with the short cycle with mild detergents and fabric conditioners to begin with. Once it was more evident that she didn't have very sensitive skin we used our normal detergents and fabric conditioners. For articles of clothing given to us, these were washed at 50 degrees on a longer wash cycle and then rinsed with fabric conditioner as well.

I cannot say whether using milder detergents would be better or not, but I would definately recommend starting with the milder detergents first. Best of luck!


answered 31 Jan '10, 15:16

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 07 Feb '10, 22:50

I use Dreft because it's what my mom always used. She defended the cost by explaining that it's better for baby skin and it's better with getting out certain biological stains. (Apparently my grandma starting using Dreft again when she was having trouble maintaining her bowel movements.) However, I'm having trouble getting it to just take out those stains. I'm going to try soaking the soiled onesies in warm water and Dreft. I'll post back later on with the results.

Results: Soaking worked for one of the four garments, but it was the one I'd scrubbed immediately after it happened.


answered 31 Jan '10, 17:05

Artemis's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%

edited 02 Feb '10, 04:26

Thanks for the advice-we're in the UK and I'm not sure they stock it here, but I'll see if they have something similar.

(31 Jan '10, 18:01) johnsibly

Actually I remember when my brother was a baby/young he had skin rashes which seemed to go away when my mum switched to a non-biological washing powder. So the milder powder may help for those babies with sensitive skin

(31 Jan '10, 18:04) johnsibly

20 years ago Dreft was the only baby forumala out there. The brand All has two formulas that are nearly identical to it which cost a lot less money and one is fragrance free. There is also the brand 7th Generation that may also work. They promote themselves as been an all natural alternative to many cleaning agents.

(31 Jan '10, 20:55) mkcoehoorn

To get out the stains, try putting clean, damp clothing in the sunshine for a couple of hours - preferably outside, but if that's not possible, then near a sunny window. This gets out stains better than any chemical I've tried!

(01 Feb '10, 14:43) Fun2Dream
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Asked: 31 Jan '10, 14:51

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Last updated: 07 Feb '10, 22:50