I’m pretty sure that the average adult knows how to handle laundry. Wash with similar colors, don’t over fill the washer, and use the appropriate level of soap. So when it comes to tiny clothes, it should be just as easy right?
Well, it didn’t start off that simple to me. A few weeks before Samson was born, I decided to wash his first load of clothes and blankets. I loaded the washer with clothes, snapped a pic, added detergent and turned the washer on. I sent that picture to my mom and aunts. Shortly after, my Aunt Vea text back, “you mix the colors with the whites?” Wait, what?? I looked back at the picture, and immediately freaked out. The washer had already started. I waddled to the machine, and glanced up on the shelf to see an open box of Shout Color Catchers. I grabbed a couple, threw them in the washer and hoped for the best. Thankfully, those sheets worked and none of his clothes were ruined.
First time mom questions I’ve had were: Do I have to use baby detergent? How do I treat clothes with spit-up and diaper blow-outs? Do I have to wait for a load of whites? How do I keep track of all these little socks?! Over the past 18 months through trial and error, I’ve learned some ways to make laundry days effective, safe for his sensitive skin, and preserve his clothes. Below I share my 4 go-to products and tips to make laundry day a win.
Tiny Laundry, Big Load: My Go-To’s
Do I have to use baby detergent? Nope! Save money, space on your shelves, and avoid skin irritating detergents, by using a “Free and Clear” laundry detergent. Samson has sensitive skin, so we had/have to be mindful of detergents, soaps and lotions that we use. My friend Damaris (mom of 4), suggested Free and Clear detergents. These detergents are free of dyes, fragrances, and some brands also are free of softeners, and optical brighteners. We’ve been using them for well over a year, without complaints. I may miss the “baby smell” on his clothes. But I rather him have clear skin, than irritated skin. I love the fact that it’s safe to use on baby clothes, and that the entire family can use the same detergent. Money Saver! There’s a brand to fit every budget and preference.
How do I treat spit-up, blow-outs and other stains? Pre-soak! Samson was a “happy spitter” so we went through a ton of heavily soiled clothes, bibs, burp clothes and hand towels. I wasn’t a big pre-soaker before, but realized it was the best way to make sure no residue was left after washing and drying. For the past few months we’ve been using Bleach Alternative Pods by Grab Green (found on Amazon). It’s made of naturally derived ingredients and non-toxic formula. In short, it’s safe for his skin. I fill the sink with hot water and a pod. Once the pod dissolved I add in his soiled clothes and let them soak for at least 1 hour. If you want an extra boost you can add a little bit of detergent. Within a couple of minutes, you can see the dirt filling into the clean water. I’m obsessed with these pods! You could also use Dreft Laundry Stain Remover. Spray the remover to saturate the stain and let it sit while the sink is filling. Once the sink fills add the clothes and soak for at least an hour. When I used Dreft, I’d make sure the washer was set for a 2nd rinse cycle, to make sure all of the residue from the Dreft washed away.
Do I have to wait for a load of whites? Not at all. Like I said in my story above, using Shout Color Catcher saved Samson’s laundry! The sheets look and feel like a thick dryer sheet. The dyes from clothes leak out into the water, and the sheets soak up the dyes. When the wash is done, the sheet is completely filled with all of those runaway dyes. I’ve never had any of his clothes get messed up from mixing the wash. This makes life so much easier, because I don’t have to separate his clothes or wait for a big enough load of similar colors to do laundry.
How do I keep track of these little socks? Simple, use Safety Pins. I wish I could remember who I got this idea from, but it was a great one. I make sure to pin the pairs before adding them to the wash. I like this because, not only do the pairs stay together through washing and drying, but they also are together when I put them away. Of course you can also use a small lingerie bag or mesh bag for wash and dry, but if you don’t pin the socks you still have to match the pairs after. By pinning them before wash, you’ve already taken care of that step… which makes putting away laundry that much quicker.
Bonus Tips to preserve clothes: 1. Always follow the directions on the labels. 2. Wash clothes inside out to keep the outer fabric from chaffing during wash. 3. Air dry pants/shorts/skirts with tight elastics on hangers with clips. It’ll dry in the stretched form and keep the elastic from shrinking too tight after drying. 4. Wash on light cycle, and dry on low heat/delicate cycle. The light cycle will avoid extra friction of clothes in the wash. The low heat will save the clothes from premature fading and reduce shrinkage.
What are your go-to products or tips for making laundry day more effective? Share with me!