Wondering how to wash your baby’s clothes in a public machine? Here are some tips and tricks on how you can clean them effectively.
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Having an in-unit washer and dryer is a luxury for many people living in apartments. For those of us who don’t have that convenience, we often have to use public washers and dryers for cleaning our own clothes. But what about baby’s clothes? Can you wash baby clothes in public machines?
The answer is yes, it’s absolutely fine. But there are some things you need to do to make sure you’re washing your baby’s clothes properly in a public machine, like running an empty machine first on a hot cycle with some bleach, using white vinegar with your baby’s load of clothes, and doing a quick check on the machine before using it.
The main concern we have as moms, especially when it comes to washing newborn clothes, is about the germs that might linger in public machines. That’s because washing machines are not drained completely between loads, so whatever is left in the water from the previous user can be recirculated to the next load.
You just can’t know what the person who used the washing machine before you did with it, and that can be pretty icky to think about when you’re trying to get your baby’s clothes clean. While the right detergent and water do a good job at eliminating most of the germs that can stay in the washing machine, there are additional steps you can take to ensure that your baby’s clothes come out as clean as possible and most importantly to buy you some peace of mind!
Tips for Washing Baby Clothes at A Laundromat
At a public laundry, you don’t know who used the machine before you and what kind of germs can be left out in it. There could be anything from vomit to urine and other bodily fluids. I know people who would take horse blankets and poopy cloth diapers to public laundries just to avoid doing it at home. So, how can you make sure your baby’s clothes come out clean and germ-free? Here are some tips:
Choose a Clean Laundromat
Not all laundromats are equally sanitized and cleaned. Some are very well-maintained while others, not so much. If you’re concerned about germs, it’s best to ask the manager how often the machines are cleaned and what kind of cleaning products they use.
Also, don’t base your choice of a laundromat only on its location. Sometimes it’s worth it to drive a bit further to get to a cleaner and better-maintained facility.
Related: Cloth Diapering 101 – All You Need to Know
Do a Quick Check of The Machine
Before you put your baby’s clothes in, do a quick check of the washer. Make sure there’s no dirt or hair left behind from the previous user. Also, check the detergent dispenser to see if it’s been properly emptied. If you see anything that makes you feel uneasy, it’s probably best to move on to the next machine.
If the laundromat has front-loading machines, they will have a little door that you can open to check the inside. Make sure to check the rubber seal around the opening of the door. You may want to bring some wipes or wash cloth and run it over the rubber seal to get rid of any hairs, or lint that tends to get stuck in there.
Run an Empty Cycle with Hot Water and Bleach
If you’re really concerned about germs, you can run an empty cycle with hot water and some bleach. This will help to sanitize the washer and get rid of any lingering germs.
You can also use a half cup of Borax as a bleaching agent. Borax is an all-natural mineral that has disinfecting properties. It will help deodorize, freshen and clean the washing machine before you put your baby clothes in it and getting static out of them.
Tips for Washing Baby Clothes in A Shared Laundry Room
Even in a shared laundry room where there are fewer people using the machines, it’s still a good idea to take some extra steps when washing your baby’s clothes. Here are some tips:
Vinegar and The Downy Ball Trick
Vinegar is one of those magical ingredients that can be used for cleaning just about anything. And it’s especially good at getting rid of bacteria and germs. Adding a 1/4 cup of vinegar in the machine at each wash will kill bacteria that may be present in the machine and will also make your baby’s clothes extra soft.
I like to pour the vinegar into a Downy ball and put it in the washing machine along with baby’s clothes. This works great for top loading machines that don’t have a fabric softener dispenser, and will also act as a laundry ball to agitate the clothes and make them come out cleaner. Make sure to place it upside down on top of your baby’s clothes for maximum efficacy.
Run a Load of Your Clothes First
If you want to be extra cautious with your baby’s clothes, you can run a load of your clothes first, and then run a load of your baby’s clothes right after. This way you’re sure that the machine is clean and any bacteria or germs present will be eliminated.
You can take this tip a little further, and run a load of whites with some bleach on a hot cycle before washing your baby’s load. This will sanitize that load and ensure that the washing machine is as clean as possible.
Related: How Long do Babies Stay in Newborn Clothes?
No Need to Wipe the Inside of The Washing Machine
I have seen moms bringing disinfecting wipes to the laundry room and wiping the inside of the machine before using it. But that wouldn’t actually help.
To understand why you need to get an idea of how a washing machine works. The inside part that you may be tempted to wipe down is actually surrounded by a whole area that fills up with water that you can’t get to. It really takes a bleaching agent or vinegar to sanitize the water that is left in that outer tub area.
As parents, we tend to be a little overprotective with our babies, but it’s worth noting that babies are inevitably going to be exposed to various germs. It’s just a natural part of them growing up in a healthy way.
It’s also reassuring to know that although public laundromats may sound like a germ wonderland, they do not pose any real risk of cross-contamination or they would have been all closed by now.
The best thing you can do is to make sure that your baby’s clothes are properly cleaned using the tips and tricks above, but without thinking too much about all the germs! Just enjoy your baby and the amazing moments you’re sharing. You’re doing great!
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