A young baby sleeping on a blue blanket.

How to Wash Your Newborn's Clothes for the First Time: New Parent FAQs

There’s a lot to do – and learn – in the busy, exciting weeks after your first child is born. Washing newborn baby clothes is one of those early challenges: little ones tend to create a lot of laundry (and fast), but they also have delicate skin that can be irritated by rough clothes and the wrong detergents. So what’s a new parent to do?

Don’t worry – we’ve put together the ultimate guide to washing newborn baby clothes here, so all the information you need is right at hand. Let’s get started.

How to wash newborn baby clothes: Your questions answered

What detergent is best for baby clothes, and what temperature should you be using? When do you need to wash baby clothes for the first time – when they get dirty, or before they’ve even been worn? All these questions and more are answered below.

1. Do I need a special detergent for newborn baby clothes?

The key thing to remember when choosing a detergent for newborn baby clothes is to go for a non-biological detergent. This is because babies have very delicate and sensitive skin, which the stain-busting enzymes in biological detergents can irritate. Try Persil non-bio instead: it’s highly effective, but still gentle to sensitive skin. Our skin care research is even recognised by the British Skin Foundation.

Intrigued? Find out more about why non-bio is the best type of detergent for newborn baby clothes here.

2. Washing baby clothes before use: is it necessary?

The short answer to this is yes: it’s always best to give new clothes a wash before your little one starts wearing them. Baby clothes can easily pick up dust, dirt, and other irritants between the warehouse and your home. When washing baby clothes for the first time, use a gentle non-bio detergent and wash according to the instructions on the garment care label.

3. What temperature is best for washing newborn clothes?

When you’re washing newborn baby clothes, it’s tempting to use the highest temperature the care label says they can withstand. While this is useful if your little one has been ill, or the garment is heavily soiled, Persil non-bio leaves clothes brilliantly clean at lower temperatures as well. Try washing at 30C for an effective clean that’s kinder to the environment – and your wallet. 

The exception here is washing reusable cloth nappies. These should be washed on a low temperature to remove stains, then again at the highest possible temperature to make sure they’re ready for re-use.

4. How to wash newborn clothes and keep them soft – do I need fabric conditioner?

Fabric conditioner is a great help when you’re washing newborn clothes a lot, but want to keep them snuggly soft. Just check the label before adding fabric conditioner to your wash: some baby clothes have a flame-resistant coating on them that can be damaged by fabric softener. If the label gives you the all-clear, try using a gentle, hypoallergenic fabric conditioner like Comfort Pure.

5. How do I remove stains when washing newborn baby clothes?

This depends a little on the spill. Many stains can easily be removed by pre-treating the area with a dab of neat Persil non-bio detergent, but others need a little extra work. Let our baby stain removal guide help you out.

There you have it – everything you need to know about washing baby clothes before use, and keeping them clean in the months and years ahead. With your laundry worries at rest, you can really make the most of those first precious months in your little one’s life!

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