You don’t have to use any special laundry detergent for your baby’s clothes, unless you find out later that your baby has had a reaction. Most babies will be fine with regular detergent. If your baby develops a rash and you suspect it might be because of the laundry detergent, then you can switch. Also, babies get rashes all the time so talk to your pediatrician if it’s just an inevitable rash (like baby acne) or if it might be caused by laundry detergent.
Babies have really runny poo, and sometimes, despite the best brand of diapers, you’re going to have a runny mess leaking out the legs or up the back. Here’s my never-fail laundry process for getting out stains:
- Rinse the garment ASAP in warm water. If you’re away from home, rinse it wherever you are (or at least pour some water on it) and keep it in a plastic bag until you get home. You can skip this step if you absolutely have to, and it still might come out okay. But chances of the stain coming out the first time are much higher if you rinse the garment right away.
- Pre-treat the stain with your laundry detergent, or with a special spray designed to pre-treat stains. Saturate the area, rub it in, and then let it sit for a couple minutes. Do not let the spray dry on the fabric. I’ve found that the dollar store version of stain remover spray (“LA’s Totally Awesome Laundry Pre-Wash Stain Remover”) is MUCH MORE effective for these kinds of stains than my Oxi-Clean spray. But when you use that product, you’ll notice that it does have a harsh chemical smell. I make sure to spray it as close as possible to the garment in order to limit the amount of chemical vapors that get into the air I breathe.
- Soak the garment in warm water with laundry detergent for 1-6 hours. My washer doesn’t have a soak feature, so I usually do this by putting the item into the washing machine, turning the water on, pouring in the detergent, tossing in the stained garments, and then leaving the lid open. The tub will fill with water (I usually do an extra small load in these cases), and then it will just sit there doing nothing (soaking) until you close the lid. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. I’ve tried. It just doesn’t work without soaking it. I even tried the Clorox laundry booster that’s designed for laundry loads with heavy stains–even left-in stains–hoping that using it would allow me to skip soaking the garments, but even that didn’t work.
- Run the washer on warm water. Feel free to toss in other clothes if you want to make it a full load. It’s important to run it on warm, and on a regular or ultra clean cycle. Gentle cycle or cold water won’t get the stains out (I learned this the hard way), and hot water may set in the stain permanently.
- Check to make sure the stain came out before putting it into the dryer. If the stain didn’t come out, try the process again. Stains made by baby poop or spit-up always come out for me, as long as I actually followed the process.