Top mom tips from Finn + Emma…
Baby clothes = adorable. But, in order to keep them in good condition—and keep baby’s skin safe and healthy—there are a few things to consider when laundering and caring for them. Here are a few top tips to get you started.
Wash everything before baby wears it.
Have you ever bought a new sweater for yourself and worn it once or twice before washing it? If so, no judgment! BUT…don’t do this with baby clothes. New clothing can contain chemicals and other residual nastiness from the production and shipping process. And, baby’s skin is a lot more sensitive that yours—so you want to make sure their clothes are as pure and clean as possible. Meaning: wash any and every item of baby clothing that you buy online or in a store, or receive as a gift, before baby wears it for the first time. (Of course Finn + Emma clothing is made with 100% organic cotton and non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes—but we still recommend that you wash it before use.)
Use a detergent that is free from perfumes, dyes, colors, and other harsh chemicals or ingredients.
Yes, there are special “baby detergents,” but it’s also possible, and increasingly easy, to find “adult” detergents that are gentle and meet the above criteria. By avoiding perfumes, dyes, colors, and harsh chemicals (which also means avoiding most fabric softeners and dryer sheets), you are steering clear of some of the most common potential irritants and allergens. And, once you find a detergent you like, stick with it. If you’re constantly switching between brands, it can be hard to identify the source of an adverse reaction your child may be having to a particular ingredient. BabyGearLab offers a rundown of some of the most popular detergents, both good and less so, for laundering baby clothing, here.
Tackle stains and spills ASAP.
Sorry to tell you, but those adorable new clothes are going to get stains and spills on them in short order. To keep baby’s clothes as clean, sanitary, and long lasting as possible, try to rinse off spills and stains as quickly as possible after they happen. Use cold water—and, if water alone does not do the trick, have an eco-friendly stain-remover at your disposal. Mindful Momma put several to the test, here.
Follow the care instructions on the tag.
This might sound obvious, but the care instructions are printed on clothing for a reason. The manufacturer knows best as far as how a particular item of clothing should be cared for. If you follow the printed recommendations for water temperature, drying instructions, etc., you’re undoubtedly on the right track. In many cases, you might be inclined to use hot water for baby’s clothes (and yes, it’s a must for underwear and tough stuck-on dirt), with the idea that you’re disinfecting them. But, in truth, cold water is often best as it is more delicate on the clothing (and on the planet, since it requires less energy!). Also, know that hot water alone does not disinfect fabric—in order to truly sanitize it, you need to select the “sanitize” settings on your laundering machines.
Preserve the clothing for future or other little ones.
Once your little one has sized out of a particular item of clothing, and assuming the piece is still in good condition, it’s time to put it away for future children of your own, or someone else’s. If you’re storing it for later, or to hand down to another family member, check out these great tips from The Spruce on How to Store Baby Clothes and Keepsakes.
Or, maybe you’d like to get rid of well-loved baby clothing that you have no further use for—and pass it along to those who could use it. The Vietnam Veterans of America run a program called Pickup Please that offers a simple and great way to give your baby’s outgrown clothing new life while helping families in need.
Of course, if you’re crafty, you can also upcycle to your heart’s content. We absolutely love lots of these ideas from DIY & Crafts that let you create keepsakes from your children’s outgrown clothing.