Before you had a baby, your biggest laundry problem was how to get the chocolate smudge off of your favorite white shirt. These days, you're trying to remove stains
that are of the "biological" sort, i.e., baby's poop, puke and spit-up
stains. To keep up with your never-ending pile of laundry, try these tips:
While there are a lot of special products you need to buy for your baby, it turns out laundry detergent isn't one of them. Just like you don't need to buy special detergent and wash your lingerie in a pretty mesh bag (and if you do, we bow at your feet—heck, we'll kiss your feet if you're still doing that three months from now!), unless your baby has very sensitive skin or specific allergies, you probably don't need to keep buying special baby detergent to wash her clothes.
Save the extra cash for something you really need (maybe new lingerie
Try a detergent without fragrances or dyes (most popular brands like Tide and All have added these to their product lines) and wash items a couple of items to test them. If there are no indications of skin irritation (red spots or itchiness), you're probably OK.
Make sure you use the minimum amount of detergent needed for the size of your laundry load and use a liquid instead of a powder, which will leave less detergent residue on clothes.
Don't use dryer sheets (they also leave residue).
Tackle stains promptly
—before they have a chance to set in and turn those cute baby jeans into play clothes. If you're at home, surrender yourself to the fifth clothes changing of the day and hit the stain with a stain remover
before you toss it in the hamper. If you're out, keep the diaper bag stocked with a travel stain stick and a change of clothes.
Consider using bleach.
When used correctly, chlorine bleach can be an indispensable laundry tool. Unfortunately, using it incorrectly can result in ruined clothes. Consider buying less harsh versions (such as Clorox Ultimate Care) to help get clothes clean and also protect fabrics. Rinsing bleached items twice can cut down on potential skin reactions. "Bleach pens" are great for spot-treating and easy to handle.
Some of the most common childhood stains come clean with uncommon stain removal
solutions. For instance, WD-40 will take out crayon, rubbing alcohol can help you tackle sidewalk chalk, and a paste made of cold water and powdered dishwasher detergent works as a stain remover
for almost anything. Check online for stain-removal guides (like this one from Mrs. Stewart's
), print one out and tape it up near your washer so you'll be ready for whatever messes baby gets into.
You may never be as care-free about laundry
as you were pre-baby, but with a little help from your stain-removing friends, your baby's clothes might just have a fighting chance.