Why We Should Always Pre-Wash Newborn Baby Clothes

Find out why it's important to always prewash baby clothes

Pregnant woman hanging rompers on clothesline, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Stephanie Dillig / STOCK4B / Stock4B / Getty Images

Q: Between baby gifts and hand-me-downs, I've gotten baskets full of newborn baby clothes. I'm wondering, do I really have to wash all of them before my baby wears them? The thought is completely overwhelming given everything else I still have to do before the baby gets here.

A: Yes, you must wash newborn baby clothes before you dress your baby in them.

With hand-me-downs, it can be tempting to skip the wash, but you don't know how long the clothes have been in storage collecting dust or possibly mildew, so it's best to wash them anyway. And who knows, maybe those hand-me-downs weren't washed before arriving in your hands? An icky thought, for sure. If there are any residual stains, you'll want to be sure to attempt to remove them, if possible.

With brand-new baby clothes, washing is a major must. Before clothes arrive at a store, they are often stored in large warehouses and can be exposed to many different bugs and rodents. These pests can get in boxes and on baby clothes.

Baby clothes are also often sprayed with formaldehyde before being shipped; this is done to preserve the "fresh" look of the clothing. Chemicals are not something you want on your newborn's sensitive skin. Washing new clothes will also soften them up and make them feel better on your baby's delicate skin.

All babies should wear newly cleaned clothing that smells ultra fresh, right? Baby laundry detergents like Dreft are gentle on babies' skin, plus Dreft has a nice, subtle clean scent. Now, on to your feelings of being overwhelmed with the amount of baby laundry. I've got good news; you can actually do all the baby laundry with your family's existing dirty clothes. The trick is to use an unscented laundry detergent and include an extra rinse cycle. When you throw the clothes in the dryer, opt for dryer balls instead of fabric softener sheets. 

Washing your baby's clothes is definitely something you want to do prior to your baby's arrival because there will be little time to do it in those first few weeks. Wash a few batches of baby clothes each week and it'll all be fresh and clean and ready for when your baby arrives. If you need help, ask a friend to come over and have a baby clothes wash-and-fold party. It'll be fun looking through all the clothes and the laundry will get done much faster with an extra hand.

Edited by Jennifer Nicole Sullivan, Baby Clothes Expert

Keep up with the latest in baby clothes on Twitter @trendyjenny, Facebook at Baby Clothes at About.com, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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