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You need to be prepared for a lot of changes with your new baby; you are going to start doing a lot of things differently.
This includes separating out your baby’s laundry to wash separately so they don’t have any adverse reactions, which is why you need the best laundry detergent for your baby’s sensitive skin.
A Little Bit about Babies’ Sensitive Skin
Why Is Baby Skin So Sensitive?
Babies’ skin is very different from an adult’s due to the fact that its top layer is about 20% thinner. It lets a lot more moisture pass through which means it dries out faster too. As such, it is much more prone to irritation and common skin conditions.
You may find that your baby breaks out into a rash easily or that their skin is excessively dry, particularly on their face and head.
Some common skin conditions found in babies include eczema, heat rash, diaper rash, baby acne/milia, and cradle cap.
With skin so sensitive, you may be asking what you can do to make sure your baby’s skin is protected and rash-free.
First, take care when it comes to bathing. Water that is too hot can not only burn your baby but can also cause their skin to dry out excessively. Also try to keep baths less frequent if you notice that your baby’s skin is overly sensitive to drying out.
Next, you will want to monitor everything that comes into contact with your baby.
This mostly means soaps and lotions; only use those that are specially formulated for babies so they are gentle and (ideally) chemical-free.
You will also want to avoid wearing perfume and cologne, particularly those with a strong scent.
Finally, take care with their clothing, both the way you wash them and the materials they are made from.
How to Choose the Right Laundry Detergent for Babies with Sensitive Skin
Some babies – particularly those with sensitive skin that is prone to eczema – may also have allergic reactions to common ingredients found in laundry detergents.
Finding something that is hypoallergenic can reduce the risk of triggering any allergies your baby may have.
If you have a high efficiency (HE) washing machine, look for a detergent that is formulated for it.
HE detergents generally make less suds which means they rinse out easier than the standard laundry detergent.
It’s nice when your clothes smell clean, but those fragrances can be too strong for a baby’s respiratory system. It may, in fact, cause an allergic reaction that can spread to their skin.
Make sure the detergent is actually fragrance-free, not “unscented” as this just mean that the fragrance is still there but simply masked.
Certain chemicals found in detergents, including brighteners (benzene), industrial enzymes, bleach, dyes, and phenols can be too harsh on babies’ skin.
Something plant-based or organic is best to ensure that you are truly going chemical-free. Plant-based detergents are also better for the environment.
Compared to powder detergents, liquids rinse out easier. This means you don’t need to worry about little powder particles getting trapped in your baby’s clothes and bedding, irritating their skin by scratching or through direct contact with certain chemicals.
Just because you want your detergent to be gentle on your baby’s skin doesn’t mean you want it to be gentle on their clothes.
After all, baby clothes are more often than not covered in saliva, spit-up, and poop. Look for something that is actually tough on stains without being tough on skin.
Top-Rated Laundry Detergents for Babies with Sensitive Skin
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Rated the #1 baby detergent on the market (by YourBestDigs), Puracy Natural liquid detergent is a great choice for babies with sensitive skin.
It is formulated by doctors with sensitive skin and allergies in mind, making it sulfate-free with and bleach or toxic chemicals. This means no phosphates, petrochemicals, animal by-products, chlorine, perfumes, gluten, tree nut-based ingredients, dyes, or allergens.
This detergent is also made from plants and is formulated for use with high efficiency washing machines. If you follow the washing instructions, you can get 96 loads out of this highly concentrated formula, making it very cost efficient.
- Free from all toxic chemicals and dyes
- checkFree & clear formula with no fragrance
- Good for high efficiency machines
- Highly concentrated for better cost efficiency
- Organic and plant-based
- Doesn’t eliminate odors well
- Just alright at removing stains
- Need to use more pumps than directed
Dreft Stage 1
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Another #1 product – this one recommended most by pediatricians – is Dreft, who has several formulas of their laundry detergent for babies. This is Stage 1, which is specially formulated to be gentle on newborn skin.
This detergent can be used with all washer types, has a hypoallergenic formula, and makes clothes so soft you don’t need to use a fabric softener.
The biggest complaint is that it’s not the best at removing stains. You may find yourself needing to use more detergent per load or using a stain removed before washing.
It has a pleasant smell that actually leaves your baby’s clothes smelling clean. However, that also means that it is scented and not necessarily chemical-free.
Some sensitive babies have still been known to have reactions to the fragrance in this detergent.
- Specially formulated for newborns
- checkCan be used with high efficiency and standard washers
- Makes clothes smell nice
- No need to use fabric softener
- Need to use an extra stain fighter to remove spots
- Expensive per load compared to others
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A great detergent for the whole family that is also gentle on sensitive skin is Seventh Generation.
Their free & clear formula is free from fragrances, dyes, and brighteners, working to clean your clothes without affecting your skin.
This USDA certified biobased detergent is 96% plant-based with a triple-enzyme formula that helps to fight tough stains.
It is also formulated for all washing machine types, including HE, and each 40-ounce bottle gives you up to 53 loads.
There are some chemicals present that may be a bit questionable for extremely sensitive skin, including sulfates. However, for most babies, this detergent is safe and does not cause any adverse reactions.
- 96% plant-based
- checkNo fragrances, dyes, or brighteners
- Great for the whole family
- Cost and energy efficient (HE formula)
- No strong scent
- Contains sulfates
- Recommended amount isn’t enough to get stains out
- A bit expensive
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Known for their high-quality, organic baby products, you can expect the same Babyganics quality with their laundry detergent.
This detergent formula is mostly plant-based and free from all harmful chemicals that can irritate your baby’s skin, including sulfates.
It is also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free to reduce the risk of allergic reactions in sensitive babies.
You can use this detergent as a pre-treatment for particularly stubborn stains. Simply pour a bit of detergent on the area and allow it to soak before washing it like normal.
Like most gentle detergents that are formulated for babies, this one still isn’t the best at removing all stains by itself.
- Safe for cloth diapers
- checkMostly plant-based and chemical-free
- Can be used as stain removing pre-treatment
- Highly concentrated
- No fragrance
- Still struggles to remove stains
- Doesn’t eliminate strong odors
- Bottle leaks easily
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
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Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products are known for their garden inspired scents and formulas, and their Baby Blossom formula is both plant-derived and aromatherapeutic.
The gentle scent is made with basil, lavender, lemon verbena, geranium, and honeysuckle for an overall subtle floral scent.
Now, since it is scented, it may still bother some hypersensitive babies. But for the most part, it is subtle and can even be beneficial for sleep with its aromatherapeutic properties.
This formula is highly concentrated, making it cost efficient and great for used with high efficiency machines.
There are no sulfates or harsh chemicals, including dyes. It is not classified as hypoallergenic as the manufacturer doesn’t want to make claims it can’t backup, but it is gentle on skin and free from most irritants.
- Plant-derived and inspired
- checkNo harsh chemicals, sulfates, or dyes
- Mild floral scent with aromatherapuetic properties
- Cruelty-free and not tested on animals
- Gentle on sensitive skin
- Scent may still bother some
- May need fabric softener
- Not completely natural
While none of these detergents is a 100% sell on cleaning power, overall, we would say that PuracyNatural is our favorite detergent. It is the most cost efficient of all the brands we looked at and its high concentration means that it will last longer.
You can also be sure that it is the best for your baby’s skin due to it’s 100% plant-based formula that is free from all fragrance, dyes, and sulfates.
If you are just using this for your baby’s clothes, you don’t need to worry too much about its lack of odor-fighting power. Just get a good stain removing treatment to use with it.