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do you need baby washcloths?

Do You Need Baby Washcloths? (With Other Alternatives!)

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Many parents and caregivers have opted to use baby washcloths for cleaning their babies during bath time. In recent years there has been a spike in online conversation from parenting forums, which has raised the question– are baby washcloths necessary? If so, one might ask which baby washcloths are the best? Parents might also wonder if “regular” washcloths are an appropriate alternative to their baby’s washcloths. In order to provide your baby with an optimal bathing experience, it’s important to know the answer to each of these questions.

So, do you need baby washcloths? Baby washcloths are usually better than regular washcloths because they are often made from a softer and hypoallergenic materials that are gentler on sensitive skin. In addition, having a separate supply of baby washcloths makes laundry easier to deal with and they will often last through future children.

Keep reading to find out exactly why baby washcloths are necessary and the most recommended natural washcloths for your baby.

Are baby washcloths necessary?

For most parents, baby washcloths are a necessity for their babies because they provide a safer way to clean their baby’s skin.

Baby washcloths are made to be softer and particularly made to provide comfort to the baby’s newer and sensitive skin. Providing comfort during bath time is especially beneficial for a baby that is experiencing any inflammation or suffering from any common skin ailments known to babies such as baby acne, eczema, rash, or just generally sensitive skin.

Did you know that nearly 1 out of 3 children have some sort of skin ailment present as early as birth? In fact, the most common skin ailments for babies include baby acne, milia, and eczema. If your baby suffers from any one of these common ailments like eczema, it is vital that you ensure you aren’t triggering flareups from rough materials on the baby’s skin.

For most parents, it is a helpful precaution to use products that will protect their baby’s young skin.

In addition to finding safe baby cleaning products like shampoos, body washes, and lotions, it’s also common for parents to seek safer baby washcloths. As parents and caregivers, it’s important to be mindful of the fabrics and materials used to make your baby’s washcloths.

Doing so can help ensure an overall enjoyable bathing experience for your baby. Parents say that opting for softer baby washcloths helps ease their baby’s fussiness by providing comfort to the baby’s skin during their bath time.

What are baby washcloths made of?

The majority of the available baby washcloths are made from materials like cotton, polyester, terry, and rayon. It’s also a common find for commercial baby washcloths to be made with mixed blends of these fabrics.

If you read the material labels of baby washcloths it may look the same as materials used in “regular” washcloths. However, baby brands generally focus on making baby washcloths from a softer grade of these materials. It’s common to find some of the same materials and fabrics in regular washcloths.  Even though baby washcloths can be made with similar cotton or poly-blended materials, they are more likely to be a softer version than the standard “regular” washcloth for adults.  

Baby washcloths can also be found in natural and organic materials.  Some popular natural and organic washcloths are made from materials like bamboo, 100% organic cotton, and sometimes hemp and cotton blends.

What is the best fabric for baby washcloths?

When looking for the best fabric for your baby you should look for organic and natural materials.

Organic and natural fabrics are less likely to have undergone a stringent bleaching process or be made with harsh fabric dyes. Consequently, these are also a safe option for babies with those specified ailments above.  Many popular baby brands have started to sell washcloths made from bamboo, 100% organic cotton, and even hemp in addition to their conventional washcloth materials.

In general, you should search for 100% cotton fabrics that have not been treated with chemicals such as bleach or chlorine.

Do babies need special washcloths?

Babies need special washcloths to protect their skin. Since baby skin is typically more permeable and susceptible to develop rashes and skin irritation, many parents feel softer towels are best.

When parents focus on these safer materials, they can help reduce the presence of bumps and rashes from abrasive washcloth materials. Baby washcloths are also helpful due to them being a more appropriate size for an infant’s small body.

Some of the top-rated natural baby washcloths are made from muslin cotton and bamboo. If using these natural baby washcloths, it’s suggested that parents wash them before using them during bath-time. This helps the fibers become softer.

How many washcloths do babies need?

So, how many washcloths does your baby need?

The answer depends on several factors, but in general, you should expect to have about a dozen baby washcloths on hand to ensure that you have enough to keep up with your bath schedule and don’t cause you problems with the laundry.

First, you need to determine how often you will use washcloths to bathe your baby. Most parents find it helpful to find a wash schedule that works best for their baby’s skin and needs. Some parents opt to wash 2-3 times a week while others find weekly bathing conducive to their baby’s needs. It really just depends on how dirty your baby gets during the week. Creating a bath time schedule is also helpful to figure out how often your baby’s laundry needs to be done. The more frequent the bathing the more frequent the laundry.

Secondly, you will have to figure out if you will need baby washcloths for additional cleaning needs. On average most parents find that six to ten washcloths work best for their needs. As your baby ages, they’re likely to become messier. Once your baby has more frequent spills or spit-ups additional washcloths will be needed.

You might find other uses for your baby washcloths. A baby washcloth can be used in other ways than just wiping their limbs during bath time. Some parents have been known to use washcloths to burp their babies, clean their face while feeding, and even a makeshift napkin to hold snacks. After all, it is like a hand towel.

How you use your baby washcloth is up to you.

Baby washcloths vs regular

Why not just use regular ones?

Reading the label to a baby washcloth and a regular adult towel you might find that they’re made from similar materials. If this is the case, you’re likely wondering why you need to buy separate washcloths for your baby.

In general, baby washcloths are going to be smaller than regular washcloths and be made from softer, less processed material than regular washcloths. They will also normally come in fun prints and designs to help make bathtime a little more fun for your baby.

While you could certainly get by with using regular washcloths for your baby during bathtime, you’ll need to be aware that they could irritate your baby’s skin and you’ll need to be on top of the laundry to ensure that the adults have something to use too!

Baby washcloths vs sponges

Sponges might seem like a quality alternative to baby washcloths, but the question at hand is whether or not a sponge has the same longevity of a baby washcloth.

Some commercial baby sponges are made from hypoallergenic materials like wood and plant-based materials and should be soft enough to use on your baby’s sensitive skin. The biggest concern with sponges is that they don’t tend to be as easy to clean and, frankly, just don’t get cleaned as often as they should. This results in a huge potential for bacteria to build up.

The only time a sponge might outshine a baby washcloth is when bathing newborns. Since newborn skin is delicate a sponge bath might be a more viable option.  Parents should know that if using a sponge for their baby’s bath time they should replace the sponge monthly.

Baby wipes vs washcloth

Baby wipes have a special place in a parent’s routine maintenance for their child. They are simply the best thing for the job when it comes to cleaning up quick messes and dirty faces and hands.

What baby wipes should not do is replace your baby’s washcloth and they won’t work well at all for a real bath. If you just plan on skipping the bath, wipes could work for making sure the most common dirty places on your baby are clean enough to make it to the next day.

If you are interested in high-quality baby wipes that are safer for the environment, check out my list of the best biodegradable baby wipes.

Joshua Bartlett
Joshua Bartlett

My name is Joshua Bartlett I run this blog with my wife Jarah. We have more than 11 years of parenting experience including three girls and one boy. I started this blog in late 2018 when I realized that I was dealing with baby-related issues on a constant basis…please read more about me here!

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