So should you use a disinfectant to wash baby’s clothes?
Short answer – you can, but you need not.
Many disinfectants actually do help to kill most of the bacteria present in the clothes – mostly “99.9%” according to their claims. Killing bacteria in the clothes is absolutely important, especially if you are washing your babies’ clothes in water that is in room temperature, or below 60º C. And you are not alone to wash clothes at low temperatures- given the rising costs of energy. At a low temperature, bacteria survive the hand or machine wash and even transfer themselves from one cloth to another. By adding 1-2 capfuls of a disinfectant to the final wash cycle, you could avoid having microbe-rich clothes. Now, the side effect here is that your baby’s skin is so sensitive that clothes soaked in disinfectants tend to be, at times, harsh on him, leading to rashes. That said, we still feel that the benefits outweighs the risks, if, we repeat, you are washing clothes in low temperature water.
Why It Is Necessary To Disinfect Baby Clothes?
First, you should know that bacteria do build up on the clothes during day to day activities. A baby will spill milk, burp, vomit, wipe her nose on his clothes. He will pee and poo in the diaper and all these situations present a contaminated laundry to be taken care of. These bacteria can sustain washes and detergents would not be enough to get rid of them. Again, when you use these clean clothes’ for your baby, the chances of him getting an infection soar drastically high. This is so because these bacteria come in direct contact with your baby’s skin and make him sick. Hence it is essential that your baby’s clothes are not just visibly clean but are hygienically clean as well.
Can I Wash Baby Clothes With Rest Of The Laundry?
Though it is highly advisable to wash baby clothes separately, if you do have to wash them with some other clothes, then also they will need to be properly disinfected. You need to have your baby’s clothes washed separately from contaminated socks, undergarments, kitchen towels, sports gear etc. Also, you will need to wash the baby’s clothes separately if someone is sick in the house, or someone has a skin wound or allergy.
Is It Safe To Use A Disinfectant For Baby Clothes?
This brings up to the second part of our answer. While using a disinfectant is definitely a great way to ensure that your baby’s clothes are germ and bacteria free, there are other ways to ensure that your baby’s clothes are disinfected and clean. Follow the below tips to ensure that your baby does not get any rashes or infection from the clothes he/she wears:
- Wash all the clothes prior to using them for the first time
- Use a fragrance-free washing powder. General rule of thumb is the more chemical in the detergent, higher chances of rashes. There are some detergents available that are specifically for baby clothes (like Surf Excel Gentle of Genteel)
- The higher the temperature of the water, better the chances of killing the germs. If it is not possible to use hot water for washing all clothes, at least ensure that the ‘high-infection-risk’ items like nappies are washed in hot water
- Wash nappies or wet cloth diapers separately. Always –this is a thumb rule
- When cleaning soiled nappies, make sure all the solid particles are discarded in the toilet and the nappy is once washed under water before you put it in the machine. Click here how to hand-wash nappies
- While it is a good idea to wash other baby clothes also separately, it is alright to combine it with adult clothes in certain situations. However, follow the same rules in choosing a detergent
- If a member of the family is unwell, wash that person’s clothes separately from that of the baby
- Whether you wash baby clothes with adult clothes or separately, always make sure to give baby clothes an extra rinse so that all the detergent is positively washed away and no residue remains
- Clean the interiors of the washing machine (or bucket if you hand wash) once in a month to avoid bacteria build up inside the machine
- Don’t leave the washed clothes damp, put them in the sun and open air as soon as possible to avoid germs from multiplying the damp clothes
- If you must use a disinfectant, then try to dip the clothes in a bucket full of water and 1-2 capfuls of it prior to washing with detergents. This will kill the bacteria, and remove the residue from clothes as well
- Alternatively, you can also use branded laundry cleansers which are specifically designed to be used for baby clothes
In the end, we’d say that it would be ideal to clean your washing machine after every cycle, and use the sun to dry the clothes as much as possible. Though this could seem like hard work, remember your little efforts can go a long way to keep your baby clean and healthy.