Parents need to be cautious because the skin of babies is extremely tender and sensitive until they are at least 1 year of age. If your newborn is breaking out in eczema, itchy skin or rashes, one of the places to track down the cause is to start with your laundry.
Residues from laundry detergents can be trapped within the fibres of clothes of babies, which are in constant contact with their skin. When the clothes become moist, these residues re-activate and trigger an allergic reaction on the baby’s skin. It is thus especially important to choose the right laundry detergent that is mild and minimal in its composition.
Hence, the first step is to pick a detergent free of substances that could potentially be skin irritants, which are found in most mainstream detergents. Avoid those that contain fragrances and ingredients like phenols (endocrine disrupters like BPA), optical brighteners (benzene), industrial enzymes and bleach. Although they help to optimise the sheen and cleanliness of clothes, they do more much harm than good to the skin health of your baby.
On a more secondary note, the detergent must be effective in removing stubborn spots and stains. It is probably every parent’s nightmare, but it is unavoidable to have the clothes of their little ones covered in milk, food sauces, saliva… you name it. If the detergent cannot perform its primary function of cleaning and clearing dirt, it is useless no matter how gentle, “natural” and dermatologically friendly it is.
Essentially, using the right laundry detergent for babies certainly helps to improve their overall comfort and well-being.