Yes, If your baby has an extra-sensitive skin or if the baby is suffering from skin rashes, eczema, or any types of skin allergy, then, it is recommended to use baby special laundry detergents till the baby grows to about 5 years. My review of top & best baby laundry detergents which are organic and safe for your baby alongwith in-depth information on how do I selected them will be definitely useful for you all mothers.
And if your baby’s skin does not have any allergy or less sensitive skin, then go ahead and use a regular family detergent for the laundry.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to start washing baby’s clothes even before she arrives! What it means is that newborn skin is generally super sensitive and everywhere the baby skin is going to touch shall be taken care from allergies and rashes.
As the baby arrives, within few minutes it generates first contact with something called as fabrics!
So as you start wrapping the baby, dressing her up, fabric begin playing an important role in baby’s life. So as the skin begins absorbing any irritants or residues left on the clothes, this may be beginning of an issue.
As an example you may like to take care of the clothing, bedding, towels, bibs, car seat and even the stroller covers! Each of these thing is going to be in touch with baby’s sensitive skin which may (or may not) cause allergic reaction causing rashes.
What did I do?
My plan was simple and conservative. To begin with I started using a special laundry detergent for my baby and the entire family. I thought that the baby will be in touch with most of the family members and obviously their cloths! So I played safe, using special detergent for the entire family. But only for the first three months.
This precaution really worked well and my baby didn’t had any rashes or allergies at all 🙂
After this initial safety period I began using regular family detergent for all and did not face any issues at all.
My first baby – Washing the cloths!
I realized that irrespective of the detergent I was using, cleaning my baby’s cloths thoroughly was the most important factor in avoiding rashes.
To enlist the fabrics that I washed over time period of first year are
– Baby Clothes
– Sheets and Blankets
– Baby towels or face cloths
– Sleep or Swaddle Sacks
– Burp rags
– Cloth Diapers
My learning’s which will be surely useful for you too!
- For the first month, while you do machine wash, best way is to wash only baby’s cloths separately (do not mix with regular laundry), from second month I began mixing it with family laundry load.
- Keep the water temperature at minimum 140 Fahrenheit during wash cycle. This is minimum recommended to get the job done as well as save some money.
- Pre-treat stains if possible.
- I used to put baby socks and small wash clothes in a mesh bag this way they never entangled and lost in washing machine.
How I handled different types of Stains?
Before the baby, my life was free from thoughts about cloths! I never ever imagined that I will have to face challenges of all fronts including the cloth stains! They come in variety and need separate solutions too!
So here is laundry list of stains and countermeasures which I tried and tested!
Best way was to clean baby’s cloths regularly even they do not look dirty, this way you save time and detergent too.
- Poop: Remove poop residues from nappies using health faucet, best way is to soak them in Luke warm water to completely remove poop stains.
- Urine: Mix 1 tablespoon of ammonia with one cup of water. Treat stained area with diluted mixture.
- Baby oil: Apply a stain remover, then put on the hottest water cycle permitted for particular cloth (Look for maximum allowed temperature for that garment on the attached wash care tag)
- breast milk, formula, food, spit-up, feces: Any enzyme-containing detergent works here. Because enzymes dissolve bacteria that cause odor and stains, hence you can wash the laundry at lower temperatures or even cold water and get the results.
- Fruits & Veggies: First you can try a stain remover, if it does not work, go for 1:1 mix of rubbing alcohol with normal temp water, Rinse the garment for a while, now put in in washing cycle. If still problem persists, try washing with a 1:1 vinegar to water mix.
Do I need special laundry detergent for baby clothes?
Its Yes & No. For the first month, till you get an idea on your baby’s skin sensitivity, best way is to use separate laundry detergent for baby cloths. Now from second month you can switch to regular detergent if baby has no issues.
Since most of the families have no choice but to load dirty cloths at the same time (due to time and cost constraint), sustaining for a month is always possible with some difficulty.
Its quite possible that when you use standard laundry detergent for baby cloths, the chemicals and fragrances in standard family detergent can cause irritation to baby’s delicate and sensitive skin.
In case the baby is eczema-prone or have super-sensitive skin, probably baby may react negatively to harsh detergents.
Best way is to use Special Family Detergent:
Here I am suggesting one golden mean for you, takes care of baby as well as the entire family.
To save on costs and time, what you can try is using a Special Family laundry detergent which are hypoallergenic, chemical- and fragrance-free. Mostly this shall work and it will be hassle free, no need for laundry-separating. This also helps since most of the times while you handle your baby, she is in close contact with your cloths only.
What are the indicators of baby’s reaction to detergent?
Following are the skin reactions your baby may have and you need to carefully watch, take immediate countermeasures to avoid aggravation of an issue.
A red, itchy rash appears on baby skin immediately after exposure to the product or material (in this case a fabric). It will mostly disappear shortly once the irritant is removed, so easy to check and confirm.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis:
A red, itchy rash appears on baby skin, but not immediate! The allergic reaction can take up to a week for symptoms to appear as exposure to the irritant builds up over time in your baby’s system.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis meaning the body is having an immune response to an allergen.
How to choose the best baby laundry detergent?
While you head down to the stores for selection of detergent, make sure you read declarations on the pack carefully, generally it contains list of ingredients printed over it.
Look for the following things and decide which one to buy for your family (and new baby)
Fragrance free (It should not be unscented!)
United States Environmental Protection Agency EPA has issues detailed guidelines on what is Fragrance free vs unscented products. (Refer Reference section at end of this post to read the official guidelines by EPA)
You need to look for Fragrance-free on the product, it is specially recommended by EPA for those with allergy or sensitization concerns. It implies meeting a strict safety criteria for both human health and the environment.
In simple terms, Unscented detergent means the fragrance has been masked, however we do not want any masking here, so go for Fragrance Free, means free of chemicals that impart or mask a scent.
Go Organic (biodegradable)
Organic products is a trend which is good for environment as well as personal use. So selecting a Plant-based or chemical-free detergent will be best.
Although Natural baby detergent does not guarantee comfort for baby, to my experience mostly human body does not directly react to DNA of nature, so very little chances that baby gets some skin irritation.
Your expectation from a detergent is getting white, bright cloths after washing, this is achieved by simply adding synthetic chemicals to liquid and powder laundry detergents. But using such Optical brighteners may linger in fabrics causing an irritation to baby skin!
So best way is to avoid laundry detergent with any Optical brightener in it.
Hypoallergenic products are claimed to be created with fewer chemicals and hence causes fewer allergic reactions.
Such detergents are supposed yo be more gentler on the fabrics of your baby’s clothes.
However please note that Hypoallergenic is purely dependent upon manufacturer claims on producing fewer allergic reactions.
FDA clarifies that the term “hypoallergenic” means whatever a particular company wants it to mean! There is no mandate by Federal standards to the manufacturers to submit substantiation of their hypoallergenicity claims!
FDA also states that “dermatologists say it has very little meaning.”
So in nutshell, even though you choose “hypoallergenic detergent”, it does not necessarily mean its the best laundry detergent for babies with sensitive skin!
Regular or High Efficiency?
It depends upon the type of washing machine you are using.
Simply look for an “He” designation on the front of the detergent package, indicating it is safe to use in high-efficiency machines.
Liquid or Powder or Packs – Which type?
In market you will get three types of laundry detergents – liquid, powder, or packs (pods).
About 75% of market sales happen with Liquid type detergents due to its convenience of use and other benefits.
They are generally packed in a bottle facilitated by a pouring spout or tap. Simple measure using a plastic cup and you can get fairly accurate mixing.
Typical old school Powder detergents packed in a cardboard box with a scoop! They are cheaper than liquid and slightly over-perform on ground-in stains.
If you have a hard water you may need to go for powder once.
3. Packs or pods
This is modern age outcome, you need not think for a while, simply throw these pre-measured detergent packs into the washer before adding cloths and forget.
They are super convenient, very much effective, however expensive to the pocket.
Warning ! Being small packs, if you have children at home, I do not recommend to use laundry packs. Being small & colorful, children often tend to mistake it for candy.
Read here on multiple incidents of children experiencing poisoning after ingesting pods
Where To Buy Baby Detergents?
To begin with I looked for baby detergents in local stores like Walmart or Target, finally I found and ordered them online, this way it was easy and quick, and anyway I didn’t had time to spend in stores with baby at home!
So even though I wanted to avoid adding product links to my post (to make it completely non-commercial intent), its required that I provide at least glimpse of what I tried and why? This is mainly to save time for you to go through hundreds of options available online.
So, here is my own list of some best detergents which I found safe, and non-irritating for my baby with no issues with skin rashes or any allergic reactions.
The sequence itself indicates my own priority, remember this is my own opinion, you may decide buying and trying on your. But do not forget to put comments on this post about which one you chose and why?
6 Top Best Baby Laundry Detergents 2018 – Organic & Safe
My Own Choice – Charlie’s Soap
While I tried different detergents, Charlie’s Soap topped in my list due to its value for money and perfect results.
Don’t go by its ordinary look, but remember that its safe, non-toxic and chemical free and works great on baby cloths cleaning.
It satisfies all my cafeterias like fragrance-free, no chemical brighteners, non-toxic and non-irritating to my baby. Further it’s biodegradable hence safe for the environment.
During first use, you may feel the detergent smell, however the clothes after laundry are completely odorless, so no issues at all.
Practically I used each pack for about 75-80 loads laundry wash cycles, which is great, even on the cloth diapers.
In fact from the second month I used all my family cloths also washed using Charlie’s Soap! It was easy and economical that way, and I also thought its safe for my baby.
Charlie’s Soap (click here to check price on Amazon)
Second winner – Biokleen Laundry Liquid
For those who love to use liquid detergents, Biokleen is a best choice.
Its also satisfies my basic cafeterias being chemical, fragrance and dye-free, so you can use it for the baby as well as all family members.
Although I used the powders one, if you are super comfortable using only liquid detergent, Biokleen will be best choice to go for.
The best thing about buying a Biokleen big container is, once bought you will not have to order for about 2 months! (assuming you do laundry about 4 times in a week.)
My thought to go for this detergent if your child has sensitive skin or eczema. Again please try it before buying a big container.
Click here to check it on Amazon.
Organic choice – Eco-Me
For those who love to be organic and eco-friendly, I have recommendation of Eco-Me.
Its an all-natural laundry detergent, with no dyes or colorants, preservatives, perfumes or sulfates, simple organic formulation contains natural food-grade and plant-based ingredients.
Although Eco-Me have options with fragrance, I recommend to buy one without any fragrance. Baby clothes shall smell natural in that case.
Its a perfect once for baby cloths, only hitch is being so gentle you need to fight if the stains are too stubborn! But in that case stains will disappear after few washes. I think that’s fine being organic.
Biodegradable – Seventh Generation
Another choice for the organic and biodegradable preference is the Seventh Generation Free & Clear
96% of it is made from plant-based ingredients, being part of nature it works great and babies will ever have complaints of rash or irritation. It human DNA which generally identifies parts of nature on its own.
Unlike Eco Me, this works well on soiled stains like poop and spitup. It gets diapers clean.
To me for those who really loves to be organic, Seventh Generation proves to be the choice.
Natural plant-derived – Method
Honestly I did not use Method for the reason that it comes only in fragrance, however it is one of the most sold detergent as on date, hence it is necessary to be in part of my list!
Most of the people who love fragrances use this and works great for babies cloths too.
Method detergents are work well on grass stains, and spitup.
So those who want to be natural, still love fragrances, go for Method one.
Last but not the least – Dropps
Although I have already warned on washer sacks, sometimes it is inevitable for working ladies, so I did researched on the best once and here is my recommendation for you.
Dropps, washer sacks goes well with each load of laundry, with a small price premium.
You have a choice of convenience using these detergents sacks, no more measurements, handling of powders or liquids. No more maintenance of big jumbo boxes and bottles.
They are super light to handle, if you are alone handling things, then convenience supersedes the price paid.
Dropps are also free of perfumes, enzymes and dyes, works gently on baby clothes. Excellent for baby’s delicate skin, no skin irritations at all.
Also for those having high-efficiency washer at home, this works perfect.
Warning : Remember that already I have warned on accidents with use of Detergent pods, so take extra care that they are out of reach of children.
References for this post are taken from the following websites:
SAFER CHOICE Fragrance-Free – https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/saferchoice-factsheet-fragrancefree_0.pdf
Is laundry detergent causing your child’s skin rash? – https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-laundry-detergent-causing-your-childs-skin-rash/
The problem with laundry detergent pods – https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/07/the-problem-with-laundry-detergent-pods/index.htm