How to Make Baby Clothes Smell Good Naturally [And Fix Common Issues!]


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When you have a new baby in the house, it can sometimes feel like the laundry never ends! It’s amazing that someone so small can produce so much dirty laundry, but between food spills and explosive diapers, you probably find yourself cleaning all kinds of stains. You may not feel safe using commercial detergents and might be wondering how do you make baby’s clothes smell good naturally?

If you want to make baby’s clothes smell good naturally, there are many options available to you. There are some great natural brands out there if you prefer to buy detergent, or you can even make the detergent yourself. If you already use a natural detergent but your baby’s clothes don’t exactly smell fresh anymore, there are ways to freshen your laundry using some of the household items you already have on hand.

If you are looking for the best option to make your baby’s laundry smell good naturally, rest assured you’re not the only parent searching for more natural options. Read on to find out about some of the best brands to choose from and how to make your own natural detergent.

Why use natural methods to make your baby’s clothes smell good?

When you go to the store to buy baby products, the sheer number of brands and options available can be overwhelming. You want to make sure you have the safest, most natural products for your baby, but it’s hard to know which brands to trust. Many parents choose to look for natural methods to help keep their baby’s clothes clean because most laundry detergents have harsh chemicals that can irritate baby’s skin. It’s best to avoid any fabric softeners or any other products that contain dyes or perfumes, as these types of products may have the most severe effect on baby.

The good news is that there are so many options out there for natural detergents and it’s even pretty simple to make your own if you choose to go that route. Although natural detergents sometimes cost a bit more than commercial brands, it’s worth the extra few dollars to have peace of mind knowing your baby’s sensitive skin will be safe.

How to make laundry smell good naturally

If you are searching for natural methods to make your baby’s clothes smell good, there are several options for you. You may choose to buy a natural brand, or you may even choose to make one yourself. When you’re looking for a new brand of detergent for baby’s clothes, it’s important to check the ingredients before purchasing. Just because a brand says it’s safe for babies doesn’t mean it’s free of all harmful perfumes and other additives.

Even if you end up using an unscented detergent, there are still natural ways for you to make your baby’s clothes smell good. Essential oils are your friend because they add a pleasant, but subtle scent that avoids the issues that common chemical fragrances and perfumes cause.      

The best natural laundry detergent that smells good

If you know you don’t have the time (or energy!) to make your own laundry detergent, you may be searching for a brand you can trust. It’s difficult to find the right brand especially since many of the brands that claim to be for newborns also have harmful additives in them. Now that parents are starting to pay attention to the ingredients of every product they buy, more natural products are available.

If you’re looking for a natural detergent that will make your baby’s clothes smell good, Molly’s Suds is a great option. Molly’s Suds is a natural powder detergent that is made with only five earth-derived ingredients. You can check out this product here (and read 2,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews from other parents like you!).

One of the ingredients is organic peppermint oil, so not only will your baby’s clothes be clean, but they will also come out with a subtle peppermint scent. All ingredients in Molly’s Suds detergent are safe for all skin types, and the powder was designed for those with sensitive skin. Plus, it’s actually pretty cheap compared to regular brands that you might find in the store.

If you prefer to add your own scent booster, Molly’s Suds also sells unscented laundry powder.

To go along with the unscented version, you can make your own natural scent booster by mixing 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt with 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oil. Lavender is a great oil to use with this recipe and this is a solid brand right here!  

The best scented natural laundry detergent recipe

If you would like to make your own natural laundry powder, the recipe is pretty simple! You will need the following ingredients:

  • Washing Soda (which caught be bought on Amazon here)
  • Natural Soap, Finely Grated (Kirk’s and Bronner’s are both great options)
  • Essential Oil of your choice (Lemon is a great scent for laundry)

Once you have all your ingredients, you will:

  1. Add 6 cups of washing soda to your food processor along with 3 bars (4.5 oz each) of soap cut into small pieces.
  2. Blend both ingredients until a fine powder is made, and then add the powder to a clean container.

The essential oil you choose doesn’t need to be added to the powder, but you can add 5 drops with each load of laundry you do. Since essential oils don’t stick to clothes like the perfumes in commercial brands do, the scent will be more subtle and not at all overwhelming.

Should you wash baby clothes separately?

Many parents clean their baby’s laundry separately from the rest of their clothes.

The truth is, you don’t necessarily have to wash the baby’s laundry separately. The important part is the detergent you are using to wash baby’s clothes.

If you choose to put some other laundry with your baby’s and wash it all with a natural detergent, it’s perfectly fine to do so. If there is residue on baby’s laundry such as poop or food, you may want to do a prewash with just baby’s clothes first in order to rinse off any of the solids on the clothes. Otherwise, washing your baby’s clothes with the rest of the laundry is fine and you will have the benefit of your clothes being washed in natural detergent as well.

Dealing with stinky baby laundry

There are many different problems you may encounter when dealing with all of the potential stains on baby’s clothes. You might have a smell that you can’t seem to get rid of or a stain that won’t come out no matter what you do. No matter what issue you are having with your baby’s laundry, there is probably a natural fix that doesn’t involve using any harmful chemicals. Here are some tips for some of the most common issues parents have with their baby’s laundry.

Baby clothes still smell after washing

Sometimes your baby clothes may be clean, but they might have a lingering smell that is less than pleasant. If your baby clothes still smell after washing, you may need a way to freshen your laundry naturally.

Vinegar and baking soda is a great way to freshen your laundry and make it smell clean again without any fabric softener or unnecessary additives. When doing a rinse to freshen your laundry, make sure to leave some extra room in the washer so that there’s plenty of room for the laundry to move around in the rinse. Then, follow these instructions to freshen your laundry:

  1. Choose the hottest setting that your baby’s clothes can handle
  2. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the washer (or fill the fabric softener dispenser if you have one)
  3. Add 1 cup of baking soda to the washer with your laundry soap while the water is still filling up
  4. A couple of minutes into the cycle, turn the washer off and allow the clothes to soak for up to 30 minutes
  5. Let the cycle finish and move the clothes immediately to the dryer

How to get rid of milk smell from baby clothes

Milk smell is another common problem parents have with their baby’s laundry.

If you notice your baby’s clothes smelling sour, the vinegar and baking soda will help in this instance as well.

If the milk stain is fresh, the key to getting it out is to treat the stain as soon as possible. Although this is not always possible, especially with a new baby demanding your attention, if you notice your baby has a fresh breastmilk or formula stain, soak the item of clothing in cold water for at least 15 minutes. After the garment has soaked, you can use a soft-bristled brush to try and remove some of the residue and then wash the clothes like you normally would.

Baby clothes smell like poop

If your baby is exclusively breastfed, their poop will be water-soluble and stains will come out relatively easy if you are able to treat them right away. Once your baby starts solids or if they are drinking formula, poop stains become a bit more complicated.

A natural laundry soap such as Molly’s Suds can also be used to pretreat baby’s clothes when they have an unpleasant stain or smell. All you have to do is add a little bit of water to the detergent, making a paste that you will then rub on the stain. You may rinse and then repeat the process if necessary. Remember not to put stained clothes in the dryer as the stain will set and become nearly impossible to remove.   

Baby clothes smell like spit-up

When it comes to funky smelling baby clothes, adding baking soda and vinegar to the wash is always a good option to remove any lingering smells.

If your baby’s clothes smell like spit up, even after washing them, you may want to try line-drying them outside in the sun.

Many parents who use cloth diapers say this works really well with poop stains and smells as well. If you have the ability to leave your baby clothes out in the sun for a bit, some of the lingering smells may disappear.

Baby clothes smell musty

Clothes can start to smell musty for a number of different reasons. If your baby’s clothes smell musty, sprinkle some baking soda on the clothes before washing to help reduce the musty smell and get them smelling fresh again.

If the musty smell is a common occurrence in your house, you may want to invest in some wool dryer balls like these. Wool dryer balls are a great natural alternative to using dryer sheets, and if you add a few drops of essential oils to your wool dryer balls, they will help keep your baby’s clothes smelling clean and fresh. They last a long time too!

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Josh

I'm the dad in charge of Natural Baby life. With 10 years of parenting experience across three children, I am constantly learning how to raise children more naturally. I'm passionate about doing whatever it takes to raise a happy and healthy baby! Find out more about me here.

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