When to Stop Using Baby Detergent: Is Switching to Regular Detergent Worth It?

When to Stop Using Baby Detergent
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As parents, we always want what’s best for our little ones, including choosing the right laundry detergent. Baby detergent is the go-to for many of us because it’s super gentle on our baby’s delicate skin. Those cute tiny clothes deserve extra tender loving care, right?

But as our kids grow up, we start wondering: when is it okay to switch to regular detergent? After all, those regular detergents can be quite tempting with their strong cleaning power. In this article, we’ll explore when to stop using baby detergent, the signs that your baby might need a switch, tips for transitioning to regular detergent, and how to choose the right detergent.

Understanding Baby Detergent

What Is Baby Detergent?

Baby detergent is a laundry detergent specifically formulated for washing baby clothes. It is designed to be gentle on a baby’s sensitive skin and free from harsh chemicals, dyes, and fragrances that could irritate their delicate skin. Baby detergent, like Dreft, is often hypoallergenic and less likely to cause skin irritations or allergies.

Is Baby Detergent Necessary for Washing Baby Clothes?

No, baby detergent is not necessary for washing baby clothes. While baby detergent can benefit infants with sensitive skin, it’s not a requirement. If your baby has no skin issues or allergies, you can safely use regular laundry detergent to wash their clothes. However, choosing a mild detergent free from dyes, fragrances, and harsh chemicals is essential.

What Is the Difference Between Regular and Baby Laundry Detergent

The primary difference between a baby and regular detergents is their ingredients or formulation. Baby detergents are typically made with much less harsh chemicals and/or use entirely plant-based or natural ingredients. This makes them gentler on your child’s skin and safer to handle when he plays with his clothing.

However, baby laundry detergent is more expensive than regular detergent, but it is worth investing in if you want to keep your little one safe and healthy. On the other hand, ingredients in regular laundry detergents contain a higher concentration of surfactants (the chemicals that break down dirt) and fabric softeners, which can irritate the skin.

Why Use Baby Detergent When Washing Baby Clothes?

There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to use baby detergent on your newborn’s clothing. Firstly, baby detergents are designed to be kinder to your baby’s skin. Baby skin is more sensitive than adult skin and has not yet developed the natural protective barrier of adult skin. This makes baby skin much more prone to allergic reactions, eczema, and nasty rashes when exposed to chemicals, dyes, and fragrances.

Secondly, baby detergents are milder and contain fewer chemicals, fragrances, dyes, and irritants than regular detergents. They also have a pH lower than regular detergent, so they don’t leave as much residue on clothes or as many soap bubbles in the water. This means baby clothes come out of the washer cleaner and rinses cleaner with less effort.

Lastly, remember that scents are one of the most common skin irritants. That’s why many baby detergents are fragrance-free, dye-free, and hypoallergenic, which makes them much less likely to cause a skin reaction. Baby clothes must also be gentle on your baby’s skin, so they call for special care.

What Are Some Signs the Baby Is Allergic to Detergent?

Be prepared for anything. Some babies will react to a new detergent from the first wash, while others may need a few washes to show symptoms. If your baby’s skin becomes itchy and red, there’s a chance she is allergic to the laundry detergent you use. But note that there are many other causes of skin rashes besides detergent allergies, such as baby food.

Usually, skin irritation can start as a minor rash or itch, but if you don’t stop using the product, the rash may worsen. The irritation can become a red bumpy rash or dry, scaly patches. The reaction will be worse if your child has sensitive skin.

When to Stop Using Baby Detergent?

Most baby detergents are made for sensitive skin, so using those when you have a newborn is the safest bet. However, once your child turns one year or your baby’s first birthday rolls around, it’s time to switch to regular detergent without dyes or fragrances. By this age, their skin is less sensitive and better able to tolerate regular laundry detergent.

However, every baby is different; some may still have sensitive skin even after their first birthday. It’s important to pay attention to your baby’s skin and make the switch when you feel it’s appropriate. If you do, opt for regular detergent without dyes or fragrances. Doing so eventually helps prevent allergic reactions, redness, or rashes that could signal skin irritation. 

What Are the Benefits of Switching to Regular Detergent?

There are a few benefits when switching from baby detergent to regular detergent. First and foremost, regular detergent is often more affordable and readily available than baby detergent. You can save money using the same detergent for your entire family’s laundry instead of purchasing separate ones for your baby’s clothes. Additionally, regular detergents can simplify your laundry routine, as you won’t need to keep track of switching between different detergents for different loads.

Can Regular Detergent Effectively Clean Baby Clothes?

Yes, regular detergent can effectively clean baby clothes. Modern laundry detergents are designed to remove dirt, stains, and odors from various fabrics, including baby clothing. As long as you follow the proper washing instructions and use the appropriate detergent, your baby’s clothes will come out clean and fresh with regular detergent.

Signs that Your Baby Needs a Switch To Regular Detergent

baby hands child sucks fists 1 edited
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When Your Baby Became Sensitive to Baby Detergent

There are a few signs that your baby may be sensitive to baby detergent. One common sign is the presence of skin irritation, such as redness, rashes, or itching. Switching to a milder detergent might be necessary if you notice these symptoms after washing your baby’s clothes with baby detergent. Additionally, if your baby experiences persistent discomfort or shows signs of allergies, it could indicate that baby detergent is unsuitable for sensitive skin.

When Your Baby Developed Allergies

Babies can develop allergies to baby detergent, although it is relatively rare. Some babies may be more prone to allergic reactions due to their sensitive skin. Suppose your baby develops symptoms such as hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing after exposure to baby detergent. In that case, it’s essential to consult a pediatrician to determine the cause of the allergic reaction.

When Your Baby Experienced Skin Irritation

If you suspect that baby detergent is causing skin irritation on your baby, you can try eliminating it from your laundry routine for some time. Wash one or two loads of your baby’s clothes in regular detergent free from dyes and fragrances. 

If the skin irritation improves or disappears, it might indicate that baby detergent is the culprit. However, it’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your baby’s skin health.

Tips for Transitioning From Baby Detergent to Regular Detergent

When Is It Safe To Start Using a Regular Detergent for Baby Clothes?

The best time to start using a regular detergent for your baby’s clothes is when you feel their skin has become less sensitive and can tolerate it. This is usually after their first birthday, but as mentioned earlier, every baby is different. It’s important to pay attention to your baby’s skin reactions and consult with a healthcare professional if needed.

What Precautions Should You Take When Switching to Regular Detergent?

You can take a few precautions to ensure a smooth transition when switching to regular detergent. First, choose a mild detergent free from dyes, fragrances, and harsh chemicals. It’s also advisable to wash one or two loads of your baby’s clothes separately with the new detergent to observe any potential skin reactions before doing a full switch. Additionally, rinse the clothes thoroughly to remove any detergent residue that could irritate your baby’s skin.

How Should You Properly Wash Baby Clothes With Regular Detergent?

To properly wash baby clothes with regular detergent, follow these steps:

  • Sort the clothes according to color and fabric type.
  • Pre-treat any stains or spots using a mild stain remover.
  • Measure the appropriate amount of detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place the clothes in the washing machine and select a gentle cycle with a cold water setting.
  • After completion, remove the clothes promptly and air dry or tumble dry on a low heat setting.

Choosing the Right Regular Detergent for Your Baby

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What Should You Look For in a Detergent for Baby Clothes?

When choosing a detergent for baby clothes, it’s important to look for a few key factors. Firstly, opt for a mild detergent free from harsh chemicals, fragrances, and dyes. Hypoallergenic detergents are a good option for babies with sensitive skin. Additionally, consider choosing a detergent specifically formulated for baby clothes, as these are designed to be gentle on delicate fabrics.

Yes, there are specific detergents recommended for babies with sensitive skin. These detergents are formulated to be hypoallergenic and free from irritants that can trigger skin reactions. Look for labels that indicate “for sensitive skin” or “hypoallergenic” when selecting a detergent for your baby.

Is Liquid Detergent Better for Washing Baby Clothes Than Powder Detergent?

Both liquid and powder detergents can effectively clean baby clothes. However, if your baby has sensitive skin, liquid detergent may be a better option as it tends to rinse out more quickly and leave less residue on the clothes. Choosing a fragrance-free detergent and dye is important, whether in liquid or powder form.

What Regular Laundry Detergent Should I Use?

Many babies have sensitive skin that is easily damaged by the chemicals in regular laundry detergents. With so much on the market today, finding a product you can use without causing harm can be challenging. Fortunately, many brands of baby laundry detergent are available on the market.

A regular laundry detergent that is good for babies is Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Detergent. One of the main reasons people choose Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day laundry soap is that it uses essential oils and plant-based ingredients to make it safe for baby clothes while still delivering a gentle wash.

Also, Honest Laundry Detergent is a great product for your baby’s clothes. It’s made with plant-based soap that cleanses clothes without the toxic chemicals in regular laundry detergents. It also comes with a USDA certification as a biobased product. This means it comes from renewable resources, like plants and crops.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I stop using baby detergent as my child ages?

A: Baby detergent is specially formulated to be gentle on your baby’s delicate skin. As your child ages, their skin becomes less sensitive, and they can tolerate regular detergent without issues. Switching to regular detergent can save you money and simplify your laundry routine.

Q: What signs indicate it’s time to stop using baby detergent?

A: The signs that indicate it’s time to stop using baby detergent include your child’s skin no longer being irritated by regular detergents, the absence of any allergies or sensitivities, and the fact that your child can now tolerate washing their clothes with the same detergent as the rest of the family.

Q: Can I use regular detergent for my baby’s laundry as a safe alternative?

A: You can use regular detergent as a safe alternative for your baby’s laundry needs. Most regular detergents are mild enough to be used on baby clothes without causing any harm to their skin. However, choosing a detergent free from harsh chemicals or fragrances is always a good idea.

Q: What are the benefits of using detergent formulated for baby clothes?

A: Detergent formulated for baby clothes offers several benefits. These detergents are typically milder and gentler on your baby’s skin, reducing the risk of irritation or allergies. They are also designed to effectively remove stains and odors, ensuring your baby’s clothes stay clean and fresh.

Q: How can I ensure the regular detergent I choose is safe for my baby’s sensitive skin?

A: To ensure that the regular detergent you choose is safe for your baby’s sensitive skin, look for one labeled hypoallergenic and free from harsh chemicals, dyes, and fragrances. Additionally, you can perform a patch test by washing a small portion of your baby’s clothes with the new detergent and checking for any adverse reactions before using it for all their laundry.

Q: Is washing my baby’s clothes with regular detergent and the rest of the family’s laundry together okay?

A: Washing your baby’s clothes with regular detergent and the rest of the family’s laundry is generally okay. However, if your baby has shown any sensitivities or allergies to regular detergent, it’s best to continue washing their clothes separately. Additionally, if you prefer to use baby detergent for your baby’s clothes, you can still wash them with the rest of the family’s laundry as long as you don’t mind the extra cost.

Q: Can I use regular detergent to wash my baby’s clothes as long as they don’t have any allergies?

A: Yes, you can use regular detergent to wash your baby’s clothes as long as they don’t have any allergies or sensitivities. Many parents use regular detergent without any issues. However, if your baby has reacted to regular detergent in the past, it’s best to stick with baby detergent or choose a hypoallergenic regular detergent.

Q: Can I use baby detergent in hot water?

A: Yes, you can use baby detergent in hot water. Baby detergents are generally safe in hot water and can effectively clean your baby’s clothes. However, always check the instructions on the detergent packaging to ensure it can be used in hot water.

Q: Can I stop using Dreft and switch to regular detergent?

A: You can stop using Dreft and switch to regular detergent. Dreft is a popular brand of baby detergent, but it is optional to continue using it as your baby grows older. Regular detergents can provide the same level of cleanliness and are often more cost-effective.

Q: Do I need to use separate detergents for my baby’s and the rest of the family’s clothes?

A: You do not need separate detergents for your baby’s and the rest of the family’s clothes. As long as your baby has no allergies or sensitivities to regular detergent, using the same detergent for everyone’s clothes is fine.


In conclusion, deciding when to stop using baby detergent and whether switching to regular detergent is worth it depends on several factors. Regular detergents contain more potent cleaning agents compared to baby detergents, which are formulated to be mild enough to use on babies sensitive skin.

When considering the transition from baby to regular detergent, it is essential to ensure that the chosen regular detergent is safe for the baby’s delicate clothes and skin. In cases where your baby has allergies or specific skin sensitivities, it may be necessary to continue using a separate laundry detergent for the baby. Always wash baby clothes with the appropriate laundry detergent for the baby’s protection unless your healthcare professional advises otherwise.

Whatever decision you make, remember that every child is unique, and their laundry needs might change as they grow. Watch for any skin reactions or discomfort while making the transition. Sometimes, a gentle, fragrance-free regular detergent could be a middle ground that works perfectly for your growing child.

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