Best Baby Laundry Tricks and Tips

Special thanks to the folks from Smart Sheep Dryer Balls for inspiring this post and agreeing to sponsor it. I’m a big fan of you and your balls! Pardon?

The whole idea for this laundry tips post came to me when I received these Smart Sheep Dryer Balls and I LOVED them. I thought, “there really needs to be a post on all the great laundry tricks, hacks and gear for baby clothes.” Lord knows those little monkeys generate a ton of laundry and I’m going to hazard a guess that about 20% of it is a shit show – literally and figuratively.

So I asked you guys for your tips and, man, did you have some great ones.


Right off the top I’ve got to talk about these dryer balls from Smart Sheep. I stopped using dryer sheets when I found out a few of them used animal fat as the ‘softener’ because that just seemed gross to me. So I got those plastic bristle ball things and they were okay but made a lot of noise in the dryer, plus, they were plastic. So when these wool balls showed up on my doorstep I was pretty jazzed. Not only are they organic and make your clothes nice and soft, they help dry everything faster too. You could probably add some essential oils to them if you were feeling sassy – I know that’s all the rage right now, but I don’t know enough about it to weigh in.

Anyway, I thought these things were awesome and do an amazing job in the dryer. My only challenge with them is that the boys like to get a hold of them and play with them. I can’t blame them though – they are perfect snowball size. A pack of 6 will run you around $19 on Amazon.

Next up are laundry bags. These are fantabulous for holding baby socks, bibs, mittens, and other small things that tend to wander in the wash. One reader even clips hers to the laundry hamper for easy access. These InsideSmarts bags get incredible ratings and are about $12 for a set of four.


Many moms who purchased a diaper sprayer for their cloth diapers said that they use it just as often for clothes. So even if you aren’t going to cloth diaper it may be worth looking at. If you are going to cloth diaper then for the love of Pete get one! They run around $35.

I kept seeing this Dawn concoction on Pinterest and wondered what all the hub bub was about. It’s magic. This stuff is the shitz. I’ve used it on every stain imaginable and it worked like a charm. It works best on fresh stains but I think that applies to most stain removers. The formula is 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and 1 part Dawn dish soap. Some people add 1 part baking soda in there too but I’ve never tried that. Oxiclean also got really high marks for stain removal and whitening in general.


Another great stain remover is the good old sun. It’s tried and true and works really well to bleach out stains and stink. A retractable clothesline works really well and tucks away when you’re not using it, or you can use a rack if you’re working with a balcony or less space. This wouldn’t work for me in Toronto from November to April, but you know, make hay while the sun shines.



As for detergents, most of you opted for a Free & Clear brand like Tide, All, Rockin’ Green or Seventh Generation over the often recommended but pricey Deft. It also looks like DIY detergent isn’t what everyone (me included) is what we all thought it was cracked up to be.

Babies tend to have sensitive skin, but what may irritate one kid’s skin will be the only thing that doesn’t on another kiddo. If you switch detergents just keep that in the back of your mind if you notice a rash or irritation. Also, if you go the laundry pod route, be super careful that those suckers are out of reach. Thousands of kids accidentally ingest them every year and it ain’t pretty if you eat one.

My mom bought me one of these little gadgets a long time ago and I use it all the time on shoes, coats, bibs, stroller and anything else where Velcro gets gross. If you know where to find them, let me know. (update: I found these wire brushes on Amazon and they work even better!)

As for just straight up tips, I love these:

  • Wash everything in one load with Shout Color Catcher so you don’t have to separate lights from darks.
  • Pre rinsing in vinegar and adding baking soda to the first wash cycle to take out perma-urine stench. Works for steam cleaners too.
  • Velcro bibs together before putting in the wash so they don’t snag your nice clothes.
  • Clothes stained at dinner get chucked in the old bath water while you put little one to bed

Do you get as excited as I do about these tips and hacks? I swear there’s nothing I find more satisfying than pulling a pristine white onesie out of the dryer that was a previous ‘poosplosion’ nightmare. It’s the little things for me I guess.

I think some of these would make an incredible shower gift too. Maybe get a pretty basket and arrange it all in there? I dunno. I’m getting a little Pinteresty there. I’m sure a few of you are mad creative so snap me a picture if you do put a gift together.

What other tricks or tips would you add?

Our next recos:

What’s so Great (and Not so Great) About Cloth Diapering

Camping with a Baby – Tips and Tricks

How to Make Padsicles: Easy Instructions for Postpartum Cold Packs

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  • I use Charles soap, it does a really good job without the extra chemicals that trap stains and smells. Dryer balls are great and the static problem went away for me when dried on lower setting and shorter time. I had been used to setting the dryer and letting it go all the way through but I found my clothes were dry much earlier and the extra heat was causing static.

  • I don’t know if I did it wrong or what, but I the Dawn, baking soda, peroxide cleaner and over night the bottle swelled and a lot of the cleaner leaked out onto my floor. The stuff stayed in the bottle turned into rocks! Anyone have that issue? I also love using the enzyme cleaner BioKleen. Recommended it to my SIL for her babies after using to wash an elderly family member, with incontinence issues bed sheets. She loves it too now! Gonna try the dryer balls for sure!

    • Maybe it’s the baking soda. I’ve never added that part and it’s always been fine. Maybe try mixing just the dawn and peroxide then put the baking soda on the stain and spray on?

  • (Seventh Generation laundry detergent has taken out poop,urine, vomit, blood, pumpkin, pen, g-tube-feed leaks, juice… time and again for me. I treat with the detergent itself and then wash with it, too. )

  • I speak from experience. This IS an amazing shower gift. A fellow mom gave me a bag filled with dish soap for food stains, container of Oxyclean for blowouts and other stains, two laundry bags for mittens, socks etc, a nose frida, and a little brush she used for kid straws but I think is marketed for cleaning pump parts.

    She put little post it notes on everything saying how she used everything.

    As a new mom, it has been invaluable.

  • My husband swears by castile soap to get poop stains out. He does most of the laundry but I’ve tried it a couple times it really does the trick

  • I know this makes no sense, but you can actually line-dry things outside even when it’s below freezing, especially if it’s dry and windy. There are also super-cool wall-mounted drying racks if you have the right kind of space for that. Also, I love the Honest Company stain remover for food stains and Biokleen enzyme cleaner for bodily fluid situations. My carseat cover has been doused in it…more than once, let’s say.

  • I safety pin all baby socks through the toes before washing. The don’t get eaten by the washer or dryer plus I never have to search for a match when it comes to getting dressed.

    I was resistant to this advice when my grandmother shared it with me as a ftm (I was concerned about the pin springing open) but we’re on baby no. five now and I can honestly say it’s a great time saver. It also keeps me from going insane when I can’t find the match to a unique sock.

  • I have two laundry hampers. One in the nursery and one in the family room. That way I don’t have to take messy clothes back upstairs. Helps keep the downstairs a lot neater.

  • When I start my day with my granddaughter I fill my washer as if I was going to do laundry and leave it all day and whenever I change her clothes and they are dirty I throw it in the washer and at the end of the day and she goes home I do the wash. I do this on the days I have her and takes care of the stains during the day.

  • I am going to give the hydrogen/ dish soap/ baking soda concoction a shot. We usually have those all things handy, so no more excuses! Thanks for a well thought out read.

  • Not necessarily a trick but when our little one stains her clothes, most often ALWAYS white clothes, I run cold water on the stain to remove any excess item (usually always poop) and spray with shout which I leave on for minimum 30mins. Return to the stain and rub under running cold water. Once satisfied spray with shout again and wash whenever (don’t make a point to wash immediately as it can wait until you do your next load.) I’ve never had a stain not come out, no joke.

  • Question about the vinegar/baking soda thing. I have a plain old top-loading washer and it’s 2 floors down in the basement of my apartment building. I’ve used vinegar and baking soda before for musty towels, but I’ve always had to run it twice (once with vinegar, once with baking soda) and always on hot. But once little lord baby makes his grand debut in about a month, I doubt I’ll have the time/energy to schlep down to the basement for two runs of the washer every time I do his laundry. When you say "pre-rinse," does that mean I can rinse it up here first, say, in the bathtub, in vinegar and water? And then add baking soda with the laundry soap when I run the load? And can I use cold water, or should it be hot? I am new to this brave new world of poopy clothes. Please help.

    • I would say you can totally do the pre-rinse in the sink no problem. Personally, I would do all the rinsing, soaking, treatment stuff in your sink, then just toss it in with the regular wash later. Don’t sweat it though – you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Lord knows, we all get lots of poop practice with babies. : )

  • Another washing option is Soap Nuts. You can get them on Amazon. I haven’t used them on baby clothes yet (still pregnant), but they work well on stinky work out clothes and I’ve seen them recommended for cloth diapers.

  • Great post! A couple more tricks:

    • Chlorine-free bleach is wonderful for tough kid stains, and is safe on colors. I practically wash all of my kid’s stuff with the whites, especially if they’ve made a trip to daycare. I use Clorox GreenWorks.
    • Keep your stain remover right by the hamper, and then toss the dirty clothes in. So much easier than taking the clothes over to the laundry every single time you’re changing/cleaning clothes.
  • I always wash my towels separate from everything else, so I throw bibs in with my load of towels. That way, if they do come unfastened during the wash (or I forget to fasten them) and snag some towels, it’s not that big of a deal. I used free & clear detergent for my whole family, but I did sometimes use Purex Baby. It was just as good as Dreft for a lot less expense!

  • I am also a big fan of wool dryer balls. Each of my kids has their own favorite scent (essential oil) that they like. Also, on Christmas I received magnets that stick to the inside of the washer and actually clean your clothes. They’ve worked really well so far. I still use stain remover on the tuff stuff but no more detergent!

  • If you accidentally wash a disposable diaper, shake out the pellets as best you can and throw the clothes in the dryer like usual. They’ll be gone when you pull the clothes out! (Not that this has ever happened to me. Nope…)

  • Buncha Farmers Bar! ( It has worked wonders for stains in our house. Even stubborn ones that I have used other products on. I also make my own chemical free Laundry detergent using Young Living Essential Oils, or we use their Thieves Laundry Detergent. It is so great to have chemical free options for our precious little ones. I have been curious about wool dryer balls and am headed to Amazon to get some now!

  • For cleaning Velcro, a wire dog brush does a good job and looks similar to the gadget you’ve posted here. Also, and obviously, secure all Velcro before washing it so that it doesn’t ruin anything or collect even more lint.

  • Oxi-clean stain remover as soon as possible, and purex baby detergent. Works great and I love the scent of the Purex. 🙂
    Also, have lots of clothes and blankets and whatnots so you don’t have to do laundry so often. 😉

  • Try Nellies Washing Soda is you haven’t already! It is the best. Also you can hang out in the winter- not that you might always want to but things do dry -even in TO.

  • I used prefold cloth diapers for my kids until they were in the one size. The snappis to hold the prefolds together are great for cleaning out velcro too and a nice way to repurpose an old accessory. Additional plus: they usually come in 2 packs so I leave one in the laundry room and the other two by my usual laundry folding areas (aka, the couches).

  • You could use a small dog bristle brush to clean out Velcro instead of the tool you showed in the post if you can’t find the tool anymore…:-)

  • I love Charlie’s soap and swear by keeping a clean, dry towel in the dryer, especially for use with cloth diapers.

  • Great post. I was just have a laundry issue where all the "clean" baby clothes smell like her butt now. Guess I didn’t rinse her cloth diapers well enough. I’ll try to pre- rinse in vinegar & baking soda and wash again and hope they smell more wholesome the 2nd time around. ?

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