Man holding a baby in his arms

Detergent for Babies: Facts and Safety Tips

New parents face a seemingly unending series of unfamiliar, exciting, and sometimes alarming experiences with their new bundle of joy—often all at once. While they can prepare for many of these, many are surprised to find they need a laundry detergent that puts their baby’s skin first.

Is regular detergent safe for my new baby?

Although the cliché about baby-soft skin holds true, newborn skin can also be extra-sensitive, breaking out in rashes, eczema, or even baby acne. For new parents, laundry is about to become a large part of their daily routine, sometimes doubling or tripling the number of loads they are used to washing, so selecting a baby laundry detergent that cleans tough stains and is formulated without irritants to your baby’s skin will be especially important. While there is nothing inherently dangerous about regular detergents, you may find the newest member of your family has skin that’s irritated by them. Dreft baby detergent is EPA Safer Choice certified, which means its safe ingredients reduce pollution, are easier on your baby’s skin, and still fight tough stains. If your new baby is experiencing any of the following contact dermatitis symptoms, it may be time to check out a laundry detergent for newborns:

  • Red rash

  • Eczema

  • Itching

  • Blisters

  • Dry, cracked, or scaly skin

  • Tenderness or swelling Regular laundry detergents can contain a variety of ingredients irritating to sensitive skin.

  • Surfactants (to loosen dirt and oil and carry it away)

  • Fragrances (proprietary to each brand)

  • Brighteners (remain on clothing to make colors pop) If your baby is experiencing any of these symptoms, try switching to a newborn detergent marked “hypoallergenic” or “100% natural”.

The baby lies on his back, wrapped in clothes washed with Dreft baby safe detergent.

How do I choose a baby detergent?

Standard laundry detergents include chemical ingredients that can be irritating to sensitive skin, and most babies have very soft, sensitive skin. Ingredients and additives designed to enhance the look and smell of your clean laundry can be a primary source of irritation for your baby’s skin. Many detergents boast that they are “100% natural”, but this does not make them automatically safe for your baby’s skin. While you’re on the hunt for a baby safe detergent, be sure to closely examine the labels. Look for detergents that say:

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Phosphate free

  • No dyes

  • Plant-based

  • Fragrance-free

  • Non-toxic Avoid detergents with labels that include:

  • Brighteners

  • Surfactants

  • Fragrances If possible, you should also choose a liquid detergent over baby laundry powder as the powdered detergents tend to be more abrasive, causing skin irritation.

Liquid vs. Powder

Powder detergents are popular due to their cheap sticker price, but they can leave behind a film or residue. Powders are typically more abrasive and are more likely to irritate skin. Some brands of powdered detergents won’t fully dissolve in cooler laundry cycles.

Liquid detergents come in a wide range of options, with many specializing in preserving bright colors or crisp whites. Liquids also tend to be less abrasive than powdered detergents.

Hypoallergenic Detergents

Hypoallergenic detergents are a wonderful choice for families with allergies, skin sensitivities, or asthma. They are typically tested for their safety on skin and certified with a label on their packaging, so keep an eye on the detergent packaging if you’re on the hunt for a hypoallergenic option.

Why Choose Dreft Baby Safe Detergents?

Specially formulated just for newborn babies’ delicate skin, Dreft Detergents are the #1 pediatrician-recommended baby detergent. Trusted by moms for over 80 years, Dreft’s hypoallergenic formula is to be tough on stubborn stains while being gentle on newborn skin. View a comprehensive list of our detergent ingredients here.

How long should I continue to use baby detergent?

You can use baby detergent as long as you like. Dreft baby detergent covers all stages of your littles one’s laundry, as well as the rest of the family for fresh and clean clothes that look good and smell great.

Baby Laundry Detegent FAQs

Babies have delicate skin, which means everything that comes in contact with them, should be delicate as well. Dreft hypoallergenic baby detergent is made exclusively for baby’s skin, making it the #1 pediatrician recommended baby detergent.

  • Can I use regular detergent for baby clothes? It’s best to use a baby-specific detergent that’s gentle on skin, but still tough on stains. That's why Dreft is perfect for handling stains babies get into with no perfumes, dyes, or phospates.

  • What is the safest baby laundry detergent? Dreft Newborn Detergent is the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand. Trusted by mothers for over 80 years, Dreft’s unique hypoallergenic formula is tough on stubborn stains while being easy on your baby’s sensitive skin.

  • When can I stop using baby detergent? This will depend on your own family’s needs and development. As your child grows, you may find her skin sensitivity goes down and you’re able to resume using regular detergent. If you find your newborn detergent isn’t getting rid of tough stains on regular clothes, you may need to wash clothes separately using multiple detergents to get the clean laundry you desire.

When it comes to your baby’s laundry, it is best to be flexible. You may be one of the lucky parents who can throw everyone’s dirty clothes into the washer without even giving a second thought to what detergent you are using, or you may need to keep several detergents on hand for a bit to wash everyone’s clothes in separate loads.

Get ready for baby