Skip to main content

Here’s what to avoid when buying baby laundry detergent

Whether you want to wash all those itty-bitty onesies in anticipation of Baby’s big debut or are already knee-deep in poop-stained PJs, one thing you will definitely need is laundry detergent. Of course, you might not want to use the generic or on-sale brand you have been using for your own soiled clothes. Your newbie’s sensitive skin warrants the use of a gentler, milder detergent.

And while there are some specific ingredients you will want to avoid entirely, you can still find a formula that is effective at eradicating those unsightly mystery stains (is it pea puree or something else?). Want to get the scoop on the best detergent for baby clothes? Read on for our top tips, tricks, and picks.

mom and baby doing laundry
Evgeny Atamanenko/ Shutterstock

What to look for (and avoid) in laundry detergent for babies

First and foremost, know that you do not need to get a separate detergent that is specifically labeled for babies. There are plenty of formulas that meet this mild criteria without being marketed specifically to new parents. You can find a product you like and use it for the whole family. Here are some options:

  • Go hypoallergenic: A detergent that is hypoallergenic has been tested to yield fewer allergic reactions than competitor brands. Better yet, you can find one that is hypoallergenic and dermatologist-recommended.
  • Opt for fragrance-free: Your baby mostly smells sweet on their own, so they do not need any added perfumes that could harm their soft and delicate skin barrier. Look for the phrase “fragrance free.” The word “unscented” simply means that a fragrance has been subdued or masked. Most fabric softeners are scented, so you will want to avoid these options, too.
  • Choose dye-free: Your detergent should be free of skin-irritating dyes and brightening ingredients (i.e., optical brighteners).
  • Pick plant-based: If you find that your baby’s skin is still sensitive to your chosen detergent, you could opt for a formula that is plant-based and chemical-free. Bonus: This is the most environmentally friendly option, too.
drying baby laundry
Melinda Nagy/ Shutterstock

Other tips for laundering baby clothes

Ready to do that first adorable load of rompers and onesies and jumpers and jammies? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Wash before use: It is not a nesting cliché. You should wash those new baby clothes before first use.
  • Act fast to erase stains: Parents have a lot to juggle, and they are not always able to stop everything to soak a soiled onesie. But if and when you can, working fast can salvage a stained piece of clothing. Simply soak in water to loosen up a stain. You can also use a soft-bristle brush.
  • Do a quick skin check: If your baby tends to react to bath or skin products or has eczema, you might consider testing a new detergent on a single piece of your baby’s clothes before using it on a whole load of baby clothes. If there is any resulting irritation after your baby wears that specific piece, you will want to avoid using the detergent again.
  • Avoid laundry pods: You may have grown used to those nifty laundry pods you just plop right into your washing machine. They are convenient, but they can pose a significant danger to babies and toddlers. They are colorful and squishy, and look like toys or candy, but of course they’re toxic if consumed. While you certainly keep them out of reach from children, there is always a small chance of you accidentally losing or dropping one. To this end, stick with liquid or powder detergent varieties.
  • You can combine loads: You do not need to separate your baby’s clothes from yours. You can do them in one big load if you choose. However, if you are using cloth diapers, you will want to launder them separately.

All those sweet mini styles are going to look adorable on that little love of yours. But to keep them looking nice and new — despite spit-up and blow-outs and formula-spill stains — you will need to care for each precious piece diligently. Having the right detergent will help ensure your child’s wardrobe stays clean and cute. Just be sure Baby’s skin won’t pay the price for that fresh wardrobe by reading the labels carefully — no fragrance and no harsh chemicals, no problem.

Editors' Recommendations

Lauren Barth
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Lauren Barth is a freelance writer and digital editor with over a decade of experience creating lifestyle, parenting, travel…
Musical baby names that will make your heart sing
Share your love of all things melodic by giving your child one of these musical names
Baby listening to headphones

If you thought picking out a nursery theme was hard — just wait until you start thinking of what you are going to name your baby. It is one of the most meaningful and personal decisions you'll make for your little one, where some people like to carry on familial traditions, certain parents love a musical baby name, while others like to choose something truly unique. It's not uncommon to have the baby's name selected long before they even become pregnant, with others needing the entire nine months of pregnancy to decide on the perfect name.
People also turn to their personal tastes when it comes to choosing a name, and there is no shortage of inspiration if you go with a musical theme. Music-inspired names are great for anyone looking for a boy, girl, or gender-neutral option because the possibilities are endless. If you're looking for a melodic sound to call your bundle of joy, look no further than these musical baby names that will make your heart sing.

Names that come from musical words
Aria is the perfect name for any music lover's daughter because it means "song" or "solo melody" in Italian. It typically refers to a musical solo in an opera and has found quite a bit of popularity over the recent years, thanks to characters of the same name in hit shows like Pretty Little Liars and Game of Thrones.
If you're looking for a more unique name inspired by your love of music, Chord may be just what you're looking for. A chord is a group of notes or sounds strung together. While not a common name, it did become more popular when actor Chord Overstreet joined the cast of Glee.
What better name to give a sweet baby girl than Harmony, which means the "musical combination of chords." It's an ideal name for the child of two music lovers. The name derives from the Greek word "Harmonia," the daughter of Ares (the god of war) and Aphrodite (the goddess of love) and was the immortal goddess of harmony and concord.
Lyric is a beautiful gender-neutral name for someone who wants to express their love of music through their child's name. Lyric derives from the Greek word lyre which is an ancient stringed instrument. While many feel Lyric is a female name, celebrities like Soleil Moon Frye and Jeremy London both have sons named Lyric. Backstreet Boy singer A.J. McLean has a daughter named Lyric, which seems perfectly fitting.
Your baby will be as sweet as a song if you name her Melody. The name, which derives from the Green Melodia, means song tune and is a sweet and feminine ode to music and songs. The name has waned in popularity since it peaked in the 1980s, which means it's the perfect choice for someone looking for something a bit more mainstream yet not uber-trendy.
If you want something a bit more rock-n-roll for your child, Strummer has the perfect pitch. While it literally means one who strums a stringed instrument, it's a match for an edgier name that still carries a musical tune.

Read more
What is soy formula, and is it good for your baby?
Soy formula is one option for your baby's meals, but what exactly is it? Find out here
Dad feeding his newborn with a bottle.

If you've made the decision to bottle-feed your baby, then you're probably wondering about soy formula. Soy formula is one of the formula options available to parents. Formula is for babies up to 12 months of age and is designed to provide growing babies with the nutrients they need.

Baby formula options include milk, protein hydrolysate, specialized, and soy. The protein hydrolysate formulas are typically for babies unable to digest milk or soy-based formulas, while specialized formulas are for premature babies and infants with certain medical issues. Soy is a popular formula for babies, but many new parents may be wondering what exactly soy formula is and if it's a good choice for their baby.

Read more
When should babies start wearing shoes?
Here's when little ones can start fashioning footwear
Child wearing baby shoes outside

Everything about baby clothes is simply adorable, but many agree that baby shoes are probably the cutest part of an outfit. After all, few things are more endearing than a pair of teeny tiny baby shoes. They can certainly serve to accessorize all those cute outfits you've purchased for your little one, but many wonder when baby shoes go from fashion to function. Besides being wonderfully charming, baby shoes do serve a purpose by protecting your little ones' precious toes while helping them on the journey to independence and mobility.

The decision of whether to buy those adorable shoes for a baby does come with some questions. When should you buy baby shoes for your cutie? When should babies wear shoes? Should babies wear shoes when learning to walk or are bare feet better? Let's take our shoes off and find out.

Read more