Can I use regular detergent to wash my baby's clothes?
- April 12, 2020
- Ally Cohen
- Parenting Advice
"Unless your baby has allergies or very sensitive skin, this shouldn't be a problem for her, no matter how young she is," says Mary Spraker, a pediatric dermatologist at Emory University in Atlanta and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology. Many new parents find that baby detergents don't always get the job done. Others just can't stand the extra expense of buying a special product just for the baby. If you decide to try regular detergent, choose a liquid — they tend to rinse out more thoroughly, especially if you have "hard" water. Powders have a tendency to leave flakes on fabric that can irritate you baby's skin. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics says soap flakes can strip away the flame retardant properties of sleepwear.
If you're worried about whether your baby's skin is too sensitive for regular detergent, do a test by laundering one or two articles of baby's clothing along with the rest of your family's wash. If your baby's skin seems fine when she wears those items, go ahead and toss in all her clothes. If her skin seems irritated (especially if it's marked by red spots) or she seems uncomfortable or itchy, try a detergent that's free of fragrances and dyes. If you still notice a reaction, try double rinsing the clothing or go back to the baby detergent your child is at least a year old. "Allergies to fragrances in laundry cleaners are rare, but they do occur occasionally," says Dr. Spraker.
If your baby has eczema (symptoms include red, scaly, dry patches of skin, especially on the face and in the bends of the elbows and knees), ask your pediatrician to prescribe a treatment and to recommend a bathing and skincare regimen. Children with eczema can be particularly sensitive to the ingredients in lotions and soaps.
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