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The Best Way to Wash, Dry, and Care for Baby Bedding & Baby Towels

woman and her child with towels
Written By
PARACHUTE TEAM
Photographs By
JESSICA SCHRAMM FOR PARACHUTE
@parachutehome

Of course you want the best for the baby in your life. All those tiny blankets, sheets, towels and more need to be as soft, cozy and safe as possible every time they touch your baby’s skin.

By learning how to wash baby bedding and bath linens the right way, you’ll keep your little one comfy and ensure the longevity of the fabric. That’s an important point when you’re investing in high-quality materials.

Here’s what you need to know about caring for your baby’s bedding and bath linens.

How to Wash Baby Bedding

Properly caring for your baby’s bedding is essential for providing your child the optimal conditions for a good night’s sleep. And because your baby’s skin comes into contact with the bedding for long stretches of time in the beginning (the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants should sleep 12 to 16 hours every day), properly sanitizing bedding is important for protecting your little one from unwanted germs.

Here’s how to wash baby bedding so it’s clean, fresh-smelling and safe for your precious little one.

What Laundry Products to Use

Before getting into the specifics of any type of bedding, it’s important to note that all baby linens should be laundered using safe, non-toxic products.

Products to Use When Washing Baby Bedding

By using a mild, unscented liquid soap free of dyes, you’ll avoid irritating baby’s sensitive skin and help protect the delicate fibers of the bedding’s fabric. 

The good news is that you don’t have to buy a separate detergent for your baby and the rest of the family if you use a gentle but powerful, non-toxic laundry detergent formulated to be safe and gentle enough for baby’s skin — as well as for anyone else in the house with sensitive skin or allergies. But this concentrated liquid can still get laundry clean and smelling fresh. 

Inevitably, your baby’s bedding and bath linens may get stained (it comes with the territory when you have a baby). Do not use bleach, as the chemicals can irritate delicate skin and damage the fabric’s fibers. Instead, soak items in a solution of OxiClean and water for up to six hours, then launder the item using a mild liquid detergent.

Products to Use Drying Baby Bedding

When it’s time to dry baby’s bedding, you have a few options. The key thing to remember is that you want the linens to dry completely. Damp fabric offers an environment for mold or bacteria to grow, so ensure your baby’s sheets, towels and blankets are completely dry.

Line drying is an option, particularly if you have the space and live in an area where the clean air will naturally freshen your baby’s bedding and bath linens. The sunlight can work to naturally disinfect the material.

However, not everyone has the space or optimal environment for line drying. Also, depending on where you live, dust and mold spores in the air can attach themselves to linens that are left outside to dry. If the spores become trapped in the fibers, they can exacerbate issues for those with asthma and allergies. 

As an alternative, you can dry clothes in a dryer on a low setting using Wool Dryer Balls to keep bedding and towels feeling soft and fresh. In addition to reducing drying time, Wool Dryer Balls provide a natural alternative to a dryer sheet’s harsh chemicals that coat fibers and reduce the longevity of bath towels and bedding.

For more information on the best laundry laundry products for you and your family, read on: Laundry Room Essentials 101:  Laundry Accessories You Need for Clean Living.

How to Care for Specific Kinds of Baby Bedding

Now that you know the basics about how to wash baby bedding, read on for specifics on how to care for the different types of baby bedding products.

How to Wash Baby Crib Sheets

As a general rule, you can wash baby crib sheets using the same method as you would washing your own high-quality bed sheets. (Also see this guide to washing and caring for bedding.)

If you prefer your baby to sleep on the light and breathable Percale Crib Sheet, for instance, you can machine wash it in cool water using a mild, liquid laundry detergent, and tumble dry on low. When the drying cycle is complete, remove the sheet promptly and iron on low heat if desired. 

Keep in mind that you should wash baby crib sheets separately from the rest of your household linens to avoid the transference of germs to your baby’s linens.

When washing baby crib sheets, separate them by color and wash separately from clothing to avoid tears and snags.

For advice on washing popular crib sheet materials like linen, percale, and brushed cotton, read on in these material specific wash and care instruction guides:

How to Wash and Care for Percale Sheets

How to Wash and Care for Linen Sheets

How to Wash and Care for Sateen Sheets

How Often Should I Wash Cotton Sheets

How Often Should You Change Crib Sheets?

You should wash crib sheets at least once or twice a week — or whenever one becomes soiled. It’s best to have at least four crib sheets to ensure you always have a sheet ready, particularly in case of an unexpected quick-change.

How to Wash Baby Blankets and Quilts

Blankets and quilts are ideal for a quick snuggle or long nap — and should be durable enough to be dragged around when your little one becomes mobile. 

You can ensure your baby’s favorite blanket stays soft for years to come by learning the proper way to wash baby blankets.

For swaddling your baby, stick with a fabric you can easily machine wash at least one to two times per week. Look for a super soft Muslin Swaddle Blanket made with pure cotton that’s designed to be durable enough for frequent washings.

A Waffle Baby Blanket is the perfect weight for keeping your baby cozy when heading out in the stroller. It can be machine washed in cool water and tumble dried on a low setting. Do not bleach to whiten baby blankets — stick with OxiClean for stains.

The most luxurious of all bedding options for babies is a super-soft Cashmere Baby Blanket, but note that these items should only be dry cleaned.

A Baby Linen Quilt can offer the perfect amount of fluffy comfort for your baby’s tummy time. To clean a quilt, machine wash in cool water using a mild, liquid detergent and tumble dry on low. The Baby Linen Quilt can also be ironed using low heat. 

How to Clean a Baby Mattress

Although your crib sheets will protect your baby mattress on a day-to-day basis, it’s important to clean the mattress regularly. A clean baby cot mattress will be germ free and more comfortable. 

If there’s a spill or leak, clean the mattress immediately to prevent mold or bacteria from growing on or within the mattress. And regardless of any accidents, you should clean your baby’s mattress at least once a week during their first few months when the immune system isn’t developed enough to fight off common germs.

To clean a baby cot mattress, remove the crib sheet. Use a vacuum attachment to remove dust and dead skin from both sides of the mattress. Then wipe the mattress with a damp cloth and allow it to air dry. 

If there is an obvious spill, absorb as much moisture as possible first, then wipe up the spill using a damp cloth with a little mild liquid detergent. Follow up with a separate damp cloth and allow the mattress to air dry.

If properly cared for, a high-quality crib mattress should last about 10 years. So there should be no need to replace a crib mattress before your child would move up to a full-size mattress.

How to Wash Baby Pillows

Although infants should never have a pillow in their crib, you might appreciate having one as you rock or feed your baby. A Toddler Pillow made with hypoallergenic down alternative fill can grow with your child when they reach the toddler stage and want a comfy pillow for their bed.

Help protect your pillow by encasing it in a sham like an adorable Toddler Sun Pillow Cover or Toddler Moon Pillow Cover. Pillow covers made with linen are machine washable in cool water; use low heat to dry.

How to Store Baby Bedding

Storing your baby bedding separately from the rest of the household’s bedding will help reduce the chance for germs and bacteria to transfer to your baby’s sheets — this is particularly important during your baby’s first few months. 

Before storing baby’s bedding, be sure it is completely dry to prevent mold or bacteria growth. Store bedding in a closet or trunk that offers a dry, cool environment. That will keep the bedding clean and fresh when it’s ready to use. (For more ideas, check out this complete guide to how to store your bedding.) 

How to Wash Baby Towels and Other Baby Products

There’s more to your baby’s life than just sleeping. Here’s how to care for the rest of your baby items.

Baby Towels and Washcloths

Baby hooded towels do more than create adorable bathtime moments (although they also do that). Hooded towels help retain warmth post-bath, which is particularly important in the first few months when your baby can’t regulate their temperature yet. (See this article to learn more about why you should use baby hooded towels.)

The collection of towels and washcloths you’ll find at Parachute are made with long-staple Turkish cotton, including the delicate, lightweight Hooded Baby Towel and Baby Washcloth. They can be washed in cool water using mild, liquid detergent. 

Tumble dry a Hooded Baby Towel on low or medium heat using wool dryer balls to keep your baby’s towel extra fluffy and comfy (and yes, wool dryer balls really work.)

Towels and washcloths are designed to absorb water, which means they also absorb dyes, so wash colors separately.

It’s especially important to wash towels and washcloths after every use during your baby’s first few months, since their immune system hasn’t developed yet. However, your baby will likely not need daily bathing, as the water can dry out their delicate skin. 

So how many baby bath towels do you need? It’s best to have at least three to five sets of towels and washcloths, depending on how frequently you do laundry — and to ensure there’s a backup in case of the unexpected soiling.

As your baby gets older, you can wash towels less frequently — typically after every three to five uses. Use a towel bar to hang towels to dry between uses, leaving them on a hook allows mold and bacteria to fester in the folds.

Cold water is always recommended for regular washes. However, if the towel becomes soiled, wash it in hot or warm water to help disinfect the fabric.  

Baby Bibs, Burp Cloths and More

Other baby essentials, including bibs, burp cloths and changing pads, are machine washable for easy use. Use cool water and low heat to help ensure these products’ longevity.

Check the manufacturers’ recommendations for baby clothes. In general, washing in cool water and drying on low will help keep those little onesies feeling super soft and looking great.

Where to Find Crib Bedding and Bath Products Built to Last

A safe and cozy sleep starts with an investment in high-quality baby bedding and bath linens. The full line of nursery-ready sheets, quilts, and pillows you’ll discover at Parachute are made with the finest fabrics to help ensure your baby gets a good night’s sleep, plus baby bath linens to keep your little bundle cozy and warm after a bath. They’re all made with the finest fabrics to cradle and comfort your little one.

All our bedding is Oeko-Tex certified, surpassing safety and environmental standards, so you can rest easy that this bedding will be safe against your baby’s skin.

With proper care, these high-quality baby sheets and towels will let you wrap up your little one in luxury every time.

Read on:

Baby Pillow and Blanket Guide: When Can Newborns Sleep With a Pillow and Blanket?

Newborn Sleeping Habits: Sleepytime Tips for Your Baby

When Should Your Baby Make the Transition From Crib to Toddler Bed?

Welcoming a Baby and New Parents Home

How to Wash and Properly Care for Towels

Are Organic Sheets Worth It? What to Look for in Organic Bedding

What is Organic Cotton? Sustainable Cotton Fabric Guide

Sustainable Home Essentials: Eco-Friendly Home Products

Home Fragrance Guide: How to Make Your Home Smell Good

Summer Home Decor Ideas: Room-by-Room Inspiration

Winter Home Decor Ideas: Room-by-Room Inspiration

Spring Home Decor Ideas: Room-by-Room Inspiration

Fall Home Decor Ideas: Room-by-Room Inspiration

How Often to Replace Sheets, Pillows and Other Bed Linens

Parachute Guide to Mattress and Bedding Protectors