7 Easy Laundry Hacks New Parents Swear By for Messes, Socks, and More

published Feb 2, 2021
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Baby clothes. They’re cute, they’re tiny, and if you’re welcoming a new addition to your family, you’re going to be washing a lot of them constantly. 

For many new parents, the high volume of laundry is a major adjustment. One moment you’re tossing in a load of your own clothes every few days, and the next you’re drowning in a sea of onesies, burp cloths, and blankets and dealing with blowouts, spit-up, and stains.

The laundry room doesn’t need to be terrifying, though. Many new parents have adapted to the piles just fine, thanks to some routine tweaks and handy hacks meant to ease the stressors of laundry day with a new babe or a busy toddler.

Establish laundry days — yes, I said plural.

To begin, pick your battles — and choose designated laundry days to establish a routine. “There will be tons of laundry, so pick ‘laundry days’ in order to stay sane,” recommends Buckley Slender-White of San Francisco. “We found we were doing it almost every day, but we were able to cut to three day a week and are much happier for it.”

Rethink your laundry hamper.

Rachel Upshaw of Austin, Texas, changed up the laundry basket itself to make life easier with toddler laundry. “I’m a big proponent of an over-the-door laundry hamper for babies and kids,” she explains. “It’s right near the dresser, so it’s easy to throw stuff right in after changes. It’s easy to unhook and carry to the laundry room and small enough that it forces me to do laundry more often and not run out of clothes.”

…. And finally commit to several hampers for different kinds of washes.

 “Try separate bins or loads for baby clothes, and buy only one version of sock so you don’t have to spend time matching them,” Meredith Westin of Gather Birth Cooperative in Minneapolis advises, adding that keeping a bucket in the laundry area is a great option to pre-soak any set-in stains. (If you’re cloth diapering, consider getting a sprayer for the toilet to make cleaning messy diapers more efficient.)

Don’t stress out about folding every last piece.

One way to handle the laundry avalanche is to be gracious with yourself about folding and putting away those tiny garments, especially the pieces you and baby wear and use most. “We always go through a ton of laundry in the first few weeks between spit ups, blow-outs, leaking breast milk and more, so when we did a load of baby clothes, we just had a nice basket in the room we kept it in,” says Megan Garrido of St. Paul, Minnesota. “We didn’t bother folding and putting the basics away because they were getting used so often.”

Sometimes the smartest laundry hack happens when you buy your baby’s clothes.

Caitlin O’Brien Wiegmann of Washington, D.C., adapted her child’s wardrobe to make laundry easier. “We stick to colorful patterned or all stark-white materials for home and clothing as much as we can. The colorful patterns hide stains, and the white things can be bleached,” she says.

Westin agrees. “Buy only one version of sock so you don’t have to spend time matching them,” she advises.

Turn unexpected spaces into laundry-drop zones.

Get creative with how you incorporate laundry needs into your daily life. “Homes with a newborn tend to accumulate a laundry pile at the top or bottom of every staircase, so I suggest putting a basket there, too!” says Brooke Burns of Gather Birth Cooperative in Minneapolis. “Consider using one of those lingerie laundry bags for the dishwasher for all the tiny pumping and feeding parts and baby utensils.”

Rethink your detergent.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box (or the detergent bottle) when it comes to dealing with stains. Darcy Bahensky from Nebraska says her trusty stain remover is dish soap. “[It] takes out all the messy eater stains better than any laundry spray I’ve ever found!” she says.