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The Ultimate Guide to Ironing Baby Clothes [Is It Really Necessary?]

Ironing Baby Clothes – Complete Guide [With Surprising Benefits!]

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As adults, we probably don’t iron a lot of our clothes unless something is particularly wrinkled or it’s a special occasion. But what about baby clothes? Can you iron them? Should you? 

Ironing your baby’s clothes for the first couple of months of her life will help kill any germs that may be lingering on her clothes. Since her immune system is still developing, this can help keep her from getting sick and even lessen the likelihood of developing certain allergies as she grows up. Ironing becomes less important as your baby grows.

Read on as we go in-depth on everything related to ironing baby clothes, including the advantages, disadvantages, and some alternatives if you just don’t want to or can’t iron her clothes.

Everything you need to know about ironing baby clothes

When it comes to ironing baby clothes, not only can you do it, but you probably should do it…at least for the first few months.

One of the major advantages of ironing baby clothes is that it helps to kill germs. It also reduces the potential for mold growth and is gentler on your baby’s sensitive skin. And, of course, ironing removes wrinkles from all her clothes, helping her to look her best – at least until she makes the inevitable mess! 

Some of the obvious downsides are that it takes a lot of time – time that you may not have, as well as it could potentially burn you. The not so obvious disadvantage is that ironing baby’s clothes could impede the development of her immune system.

The good news is that ironing is a fairly easy thing to do. It’s as simple as plugging in your iron and letting it heat up. Then, you’ll want to turn the clothing inside out to protect it from any damage and make sure you don’t apply too much pressure when you’re ironing. Try to use a light touch.

If ironing isn’t for you, there are a few things you can try as alternatives, such as using a baby-friendly detergent, washing the clothes in hot water, or hanging the clothes outside to line dry.

Can you iron baby clothes?

Although you may think that it’s only necessary to get the iron out when you’re trying to look nice, it’s a good practice to iron as much as your baby’s clothing as possible, especially during the first few months when her immune system is developing.

It’s a good idea to check the clothes label so that you know what kind of material the clothing is, and can then set the iron to the right temperature. If you don’t see a label, using a medium low setting is a safe bet. Another thing you can do to make sure you don’t damage baby clothes when ironing them is to turn them inside out. That way, if there is a cute print on the front of the garment, it won’t get hurt. 

As far as starching goes, it’s not really necessary for baby clothes especially since the corn, rice, or wheat typically used in laundry starch could be an irritant or potential allergen. 

Should you iron baby clothes?

Ironing baby’s clothes can have a lot of benefits for baby. And I don’t just mean she’ll look cuter in her wrinkle-free dress.

When you iron baby clothes, it actually acts like a sterilizer.

When you apply heat to the clothing, it can destroy bacteria on the clothes or remove any residue leftover from the detergent.

Should you iron newborn clothes

Your baby’s immune system is at its weakest immediately after birth and doesn’t mature until around 2 to 3 months of age.

If you’re going to iron your baby clothes, ironing the newborn clothes is the best bet. This will help to protect them from germs and bacteria that they aren’t able to easily fight.

Should you iron infant clothes

At around 3 months, your baby’s immune system will start to strengthen and she’s more likely to be able to resist any germs that may remain on her clothing.

However, it’s still a good practice to keep the clothes as clean as possible during this time, and ironing goes a long way toward making sure her clothing is as clean as possible.

Should you iron toddler clothes

From a germ-killing perspective, it’s not really necessary to continue ironing toddler’s clothes since their immune systems are much stronger at this age.

However, if you just want your little one’s clothes to look nice and neat, then you may want to continue ironing.

Advantages to ironing baby clothes

Though it can be time consuming, there are certainly a lot of advantages to ironing baby clothes.

Probably the biggest advantage of ironing and the reason most people do it is that it helps kill germs on baby’s clothes. Apart from that, it can reduce the potential for mold, is better for your baby’s skin, makes clothes smell good, and, most obviously, will remove wrinkles.

Helps kill germs

The heat from the iron can act as a sterilizer, destroying any germs still left after washing and drying baby’s clothes.

In some cases, germs can actually be picked up from the washing machine, which makes the drying cycle and ironing very important.

Reduces potential for mold growth

When you use a hot iron on baby’s clothes, it can kill bacteria, viruses, and even mold.

Once you are done ironing, you’ll want to make sure you put the clothes away completely dry to prevent any future mold growth. 

Better for baby’s skin

If there are any leftover bits of detergent on the clothing, ironing them will remove the residue.

So, if baby has particularly sensitive skin, it will be beneficial to iron her clothes.

Makes clothes smell nice

If there is anything on the clothes that is making them smell unpleasant, ironing them will remove the smell, leaving your baby clothes smelling nice and fresh.  

Remove wrinkles

Whether it’s a special occasion or just a typical Tuesday, it’s nice for baby to look her best. If some of her clothes are prone to wrinkles or maybe they just sat in the dryer a little too long, a quick once over with the iron will take the wrinkles right out.

Disadvantages to ironing baby clothes

While there are a lot of reasons you should iron baby clothes, there’s also a few disadvantages to ironing, including the development of baby’s immune system, taking time you don’t have, and potentially burning yourself with the iron. 

Can impede development of immune system

In general, the way that a baby’s immune system builds up is by exposure to germs.

Her body learns how to make antibodies to fight a virus once infected. That way, when she’s exposed next time, her body can fight it without getting an infection. So, it’s important that baby isn’t shielded from all germs all the time.

Takes time you probably don’t have

Even though baby clothes are small, there are A LOT of them. So, it can take a lot of time to iron all of baby’ clothing. And that may just be time you don’t have to spare.

Risk of burning yourself

To properly get rid of the germs on baby clothing, your iron will be warm, if not hot to the touch. Sometimes we get in a hurry or we’re a little sleep deprived as parents, sometimes it’s just hard to hold the tiny clothes in a way that keeps your fingers out of the way – either way, accidents can definitely happen!

What pieces of baby clothing should I iron?

The primary purpose of ironing baby clothes is to kill the germs that may be living on the clothing.

You will probably want to iron as much as you can, but most specifically, those clothing items that directly touch baby’s skin, including:

  • Bodysuits 
  • Pajamas
  • Shirts
  • Pants
  • Dresses
  • Jumpers

What pieces of baby clothing shouldn’t be ironed

However helpful it is to iron baby’s clothes, there are several items that shouldn’t be ironing, usually because doing so when damage them.

Clothing pieces you shouldn’t iron include:

  • Cloth diaper shells
  • Socks
  • Anything that says “do not iron” on the garment label

Best way to iron baby clothes

Ironing baby clothes is pretty similar to ironing your own clothes. However, in the case of baby clothes, you will want to be a bit more gentle with your ironing and refrain from using any sprays or starches. 

To iron your baby’s clothes, follow these steps:

  1. Heat the iron – First things first. You need to plug in your iron and let it heat up. Check the clothing labels so you know what setting you should use for each clothing item. 
  2. Turn the clothing inside out – By turning the clothes inside out, you can best protect any cute graphics or printed materials on the front of the garment.
  3. Iron lightly – By ironing lightly, you won’t risk clothes melting. And really, the weight of the iron and the proper amount of steam will do the trick without needing to press down hard.
  4. Put away dry – Ensure that your baby’s clothes are completely dry before folding and putting away. Store in a dry place.

Is ironing baby clothes worth the time?

Although it can be hard to find the time to take care of you and your baby’s most basic needs during her first few months (and years), it is definitely worth your time to iron your newborn’s clothing.

Since baby’s immune system is still a work in progress in the early months, it’s worth the time to de-germ her clothes by ironing them for the first couple of months. After that, it’s really up to you as a parent whether you want to continue ironing her clothes or not. 

Apart from removing the germs, it’s also good to help protect her sensitive skin and keep her clothes smelling nice. 

Alternatives to ironing baby clothes

If you aren’t a fan of ironing or maybe just don’t have space, time, or ability to iron baby’s clothing, there are a few other things you can do to help eliminate the germs on the clothing: from baby-friendly detergents to a hot water wash and even line drying the clothes outside, we’ve got the details for you on each of these alternatives below.

Baby-friendly detergents

Using a baby-friendly detergent will ensure that you aren’t introducing anything to baby’s clothing that could be an irritant to her skin.

It can also help clothes to smell nice simply by getting them clean and removing any odors through the wash cycle.

However, while it will help to get clothes clean, it won’t necessarily kill germs on the clothing.

Hot water wash 

To help kill bacteria and germs on clothing, you can wash the clothes in hot water.

You’ll want to make sure that the water is at least 140°F to be effective.

Line dry

If you have the ability to line dry baby clothes outside in the sunshine, that will help kill the germs on the clothing.

The only downside is that you could end up getting pollen on your clothes, which could irritate baby.

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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