Person hand-rinsing laundry in a Whirlpool® Top-Load Washer

How to wash baby clothes

Baby clothes tend to get messier than most, and when it comes time to clean them you may wonder which detergent or washing and drying method will get the best clean possible. This guide will teach you how to wash baby clothes with step-by-step instructions, so you can be sure that your bundle of joy is dressed in properly cleaned clothes each day.

If you’re looking for a new washer to help you with your family’s messes, Whirlpool brand has a selection of top-load and front-load washing machines that make laundry day simple.

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Washing baby clothes: a step-by-step guide

Specific instructions for washing baby clothes can vary depending on the type of washer you’re using and the information provided on the clothing’s care tags. The following instructions are here to help you learn the basics of washing your baby clothes.

What you’ll need to get started

  • Gentle laundry detergent

  • Stain remover (optional)

  • Soft-bristled brush (optional)

  • Washing machine

  • Dryer

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Step 1: Separate baby clothes from the rest of laundry

Because baby clothes tend to be more delicate, you may want to wash these garments separately from the rest of your family’s laundry. Sort through your laundry and create a “baby-only” pile to prepare for washing.

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Step 2: Check the clothing care labels

Before you begin pre-treating or washing your baby clothes, always consult each item’s laundry label to ensure you’re using the correct washing cycle and temperature.

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Step 3: Pre-treat any stains

To tackle tough stains, pre-treat soiled clothing with either using detergent or a stain-remover. Gently scrub the stain with a soft-bristled brush, like an old toothbrush, to help break up the stain. Select Whirlpool® washing machines feature the Pretreat Station that allows you to soak, scrub and wash all in one spot with a built-in faucet and pretreat brush.

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Step 4: Prep clothes and place in the washing machine

Help protect your baby’s clothes from wear and tear by buttoning all buttons, closing all zippers and turning each garment inside out to protect the fabric and seams. Place small items like socks and bibs in a mesh laundry bag to prevent them from getting lost. Once your laundry is prepped, place the load inside the washing machine. 

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Step 5: Add detergent and select a cycle

Add a gentle, preferably unscented detergent to your washer’s soap dispenser. Baby clothes can usually be washed using warm water on a “normal” or “gentle” wash cycle depending on the fabric. Some materials, like cotton, can be better maintained with cooler water temperatures, so be sure to consult your laundry care tag before selecting a wash temperature. If your machine allows, select an extra rinse cycle to ensure soap residue is completely washed away.


You can streamline the process of washing your baby’s clothing when you select Whirlpool® washing machines with the Load & Go™ feature. This feature lets you skip the step of adding detergent before every wash by storing up 20–40 loads worth of detergent.


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Step 6: Dry the baby clothes

Once the wash cycle has completed, place your baby clothes in the dryer. If the garment care tag recommends air drying, or if you are concerned about shrinkage, hang the item on a clothing line or a drying rack. 

Water pouring into a full top-loading washer Water pouring into a full top-loading washer

Can baby clothes be washed in a washing machine?

Yes, you can wash most baby clothes in your washing machine. Be sure to always consult clothing care labels before washing them in a machine as some fabric’s care tags may recommend handwashing.

Person loading clothes into the dryer Person loading clothes into the dryer

Can I put baby clothes in the dryer?

Yes, most baby clothes can be dried in a dryer. Again, it is important to check each item’s care label before placing laundry in a dryer as some fabrics may require an air dry.

Shop Popular Whirlpool® Washers

Whether you’re washing clothes for your newborn or towels for the rest of the family, Whirlpool® washing machines include a range of cycles to properly care for your laundry. With features like the Pretreat Station and Sanitize Cycle on select Whirlpool® washers, find one that’s ready to take on tough messes so you don’t have to.

Learn More About Whirlpool® Washers

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