Is Regular Detergent OK for Babies?

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Babies can be an intimidating bundle of joy because you are never totally sure of how they will react to their environment. Even the most prepared parents – the ones who have read every book and taken every last precaution before their little one’s arrival – are still in for some surprises.

All the planning in the world cannot determine whether or not your newborn will have an aversion to cow’s milk or other allergies. If you discover that you are the parents of a baby with sensitive skin, is it OK to use regular laundry detergent? What are your alternatives?

Before your little bundle of joy arrived, you followed the new parent handbook that instructed you to wash all of your newborn’s clothing, sheets, blankets and towels. With each of these miniature items clean and folded neatly in the closet, you are ready to bring him or her home from the hospital in sanitary garments. Upon changing your little one’s clothes though, you notice he or she has a rash. What should you do next?

Free and Clear From Dyes and Perfumes

If you were using regular laundry soap to wash your newborn’s clothing, and you notice your tot’s skin is irritated, you may want to switch to a dye-free/fragrance-free version instead. There are several brands on the market that do not contain harmful ingredients or chemicals and are specially formulated for baby’s clothing. Also, consider washing your newborn’s items separately from the rest of your family’s laundry to minimize contact with whatever is causing the irritation.

As another option, you can select a completely natural soap product – one that meets “green living” criteria. You may have to do some research and experimenting to find one you really like, since sometimes a natural alternative may not work as well on tough stains. But, keeping your little one free from itchy rashes is certainly worth the trade off.

Soaps and Shampoos

You will also want to be careful about the soaps and shampoos you use for bathing your infant. Remember to search for more natural options – ones that are specifically made for a newborn’s delicate skin, or ones that are made of only natural ingredients such as essential oils and plant extracts.

Baby Items Need to Be Free from Irritants, Too

With your little one having dermal allergies, you will want to keep everything the child comes in contact with as clean as possible. This includes stuffed animals and equipment such as swings, bouncers, car seats and play mats. It is a good idea to invest in these items by choosing ones like a Ingenuity washable playard that’s easy to keep clean. Be sure to select a infant-friendly disinfecting wipe for quick cleanings of changing pads and other items, and use that ‘baby’ laundry detergent to wash any pieces that you can disassemble and throw into your washing machine.

Since babies do not come with instruction manuals, some of what you do as a parent will be based on trial and error. Ask more experienced moms and grandmas what they do for sensitivity issues, or speak to your pediatrician for recommendations on the best baby-friendly products. Remember not to get discouraged if the first thing you try doesn’t work. Keep trying until you find what works to give your baby relief from rashes. When your little one is happy, you will be happy, too.

Domonique Powell, a mom of four, remembers the days of babydom well. There was a time when her home was full of specialized washing powder and home cleansers, as two of her children has allergies. Using those products are long past, with the exception of her Ingenuity washable playard, which now serves as a handy sorting hamper.


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