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Laundering Your Baby's Clothes

After a baby arrives, it can seem as if the laundry doubles! Many parents think they need to use baby detergent to clean their little one's clothes. And when a newborn's skin is sensitive, this may be true. But it may be reassuring to know that this isn't necessary for many babies.

If baby detergent isn't getting rid of stains and odors on your baby's clothing as well as you'd like, it may be time to switch to a regular liquid detergent. Unless your baby has allergies, eczema/topic dermatitis, or another condition causing sensitive skin, washing your little one's clothes with the rest of the family's clothes isn't likely to irritate your baby's skin. Liquid detergents sometimes rinse out easier than powder detergents do, so may be better for sensitive skin.

Before making the switch, though, be sure to test one article of clothing. And try using a detergent that's free of colors and fragrances. If you notice a skin reaction, stick with baby detergent for a little while longer. Whatever detergent you choose, avoid anti-static products or fabric softeners, which often have chemicals and fragrances that can irritate the skin.

Cloth diapers are the only items that need to be separated from your regular laundry because harsh detergents can cause diaper rash. Wash them with mild baby detergent. Also, use hot water and be sure to double rinse each load.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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