Washing Baby’s Clothes: Yes, But With What?

The purpose of Impudite has always been to act as an outlet for my musings. When I have a question it usually turns into the subject of a post. With that said, how does one wash baby clothes?

I will be in this position very soon and it is something that has come up on more than one occasion in discussion.

Babies have fragile skin, don't they? Isn't there a history of detergent allergy? Questions upon questions. And then I thought I was stupid. There had to be an easy answer to all of this. What detergent to use to wash the baby's clothes?

First, I decided to be solution orientate, and I began by asking the few friends and family, who answered me in bulk with: "I can't remember!" (thank you mom), and something for sensitive skin.

Good. Second solution, forums. Three-quarters agreed that there is a big difference in soap – most used flake based soaps and no softener.

Flake form laundry detergent seems to me quite obviously the most basic and neutral soaps. At the same time, we've been using it for centuries, right? But then, liquid laundry, powder? I went to see if there was a comparison between powdered and liquid laundry detergent. Hum, no luck there. Especially when it related to best options for babies. I guess that there are just too many options out there. What I realized though is that I could make a list of the things to avoid and then, when in the supermarket use process of elimination. What I found was a basic laundry detergent, powdered, without perfume or too much else added. What I realized is that it's super hard to find! The first eco-friendly store being far away, I did not want to do 36 miles for a box of soap, left me looking at local options.

This is the checklist that I put together for myself. I in no way do I say that it is complete, accurate, or unfortunately safe as I am not a chemist or pediatrician. The list is based on what I was able to piece together from various sites and sources.

Table of Laundry Detergent Components:




























































































ComponentsRole/ActionRemarks
BleachWhitening additiveAvoid
Sodium CarbonateAntical Adjuvant1Appears OK
Sodium CitrateAntical Adjuvant1Appears OK
EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra acetate)Antical, stabilizing Adjuvant1Avoid
EnzymesCatalyst (reaction accelerator)Potential Allergen
NTA (nitriloacetate)Antical Adjuvant1Avoid
Sodium PerborateBleaching AgentAvoid
Sodium PercarbonateBleaching AgentAppears OK
PhosphatesAntical Adjuvant1Avoid
PhosphonatesAntical, stabilizing Adjuvant1Worse than phosphates
PolycarboxylateAntical Adjuvant1Avoid
SilicateAntical Adjuvant1Appears OK
Tensiactive amphoterCleaning AgentOK if plant-based
Anionactive Tens (LAS, soap,…)Cleaning AgentOK if plant-based
Tensioactive cationicConservatives, softenersAvoid
Tensioactive non-ion (APEO,Cleaning agent, emulsifier, thickeningOK if plant-based
ZeoliteAntical Adjuvant1Appears OK

1 Antical anti calcium scale remover. An adjuvant is a pharmacological or immunological agent that modifies the effect of other agents.

Maybe this will be useful to you.

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