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Ask the Pediatrician

Dr. Jennifer Shu and her team of pediatricians answer your health questions.

Dr. Jennifer Shu

Question & Answer

Question

At what age can I start washing my baby’s clothes with regular detergent?

Answer

By: Heidi Román, MD, FAAP

It is commonly recommended for baby clothes and blankets to be washed separately with a gentle detergent, however, the reality is that this is not necessary for most babies. 

Even during the newborn period, you can start washing your baby's clothes with the same detergent you use for the rest of the family (which definitely makes things easier and saves money!).  It is also a good idea to wash your baby's new clothes and blankets prior to using them.

Some babies have more sensitive skin or conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis).

  • If your baby develops skin irritation that you believe is related to laundry detergent, try using a detergent that is fragrance- and dye-free. 
  • If you are concerned about skin irritation, skip the fabric softener and dryer sheets. These products typically contain fairly potent fragrances and there is some concern regarding their potential for toxicity. 

Additional Information:


About Dr. Román:

Heidi Román, MD, FAAP graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and completed pediatric residency and chief residency at Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, CA. She then spent 6 years as a general pediatrician at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA and Clinical Instructor for the Stanford University School of Medicine. 

Dr. Román is passionate about providing high quality primary care for children and enjoys teaching medical students and residents. She is interested in the use of new technologies to improve care and communication with patients and families. Dr. Román blogs about child health, parenting, and medicine at MyTwoHats.com. She lives with her husband and son in Dallas, Texas.