If you have sensitive skin, or you have a new little one in your home, you know how important it is to have a laundry detergent that isn't harsh or irritating. This Homemade Baby Laundry Detergent is perfect not only for babies, but also for those who have skin that needs a little extra TLC.
Our Sensitive Skin Experiences
I have had sensitive skin for most of my life. I have vivid memories of the time when my mother, sister, and I all had severe skin reactions to Bounce Dryer sheets (my mother even needed a steroid prescription to get rid of hers!) and I had a hard time finding skincare that didn't cause acne for me. And at times, finding a laundry detergent that didn't cause any issues for me was tough.
If this sounds familiar, you know what I mean.
Of course, babies have skin that is typically even more sensitive than kids or adults.
Our first child was born at home, but we had our second in the hospital and I regret that I wasn't more diligent in what I allowed him to be bathed in. In fact, it's partially due to the fact that our first was born at home that I wasn't more on top of things–you don't need to be when its a home birth, so I wasn't prepared.
Right after our second son was born, the hospital staff whisked him away, and I didn't even know why. But they bathed him in whatever hospital soap they used and he didn't do well with it. When we got him home, his skin was terribly red, and he was clearly irritated by it. It took us hours of washing him down with a gentle cleanser and a wet washcloth to calm his skin down. Sigh.
Lesson learned–baby skin is sensitive, so you need to take care of it.
Why Babies' Skin Is More Sensitive
There are a number of reasons why babies' skin needs more TLC than adult skin.
One of them is that babies' skin is thinner and has less natural moisturizer than that of adults. For this reason, it's vital that you take steps to protect their skin. Babies' skin also loses more water than mature skin does.
These concerns are intensified when dealing with premature babies–they have even more sensitive skin, since the barrier didn't have time to develop as it normally would in a full-term infant.
Baby skin continues to develop through the first year of life, but needs special care as the maturation process takes place, and it is particularly susceptible to infection.
In summary, babies' skin is finer and more sensitive, and hasn’t fully developed. The protective hydrolipidic film on their skin is still very thin, and this makes infant skin more vulnerable to harsh external factors such as wind, cold, heat, friction, irritating products, etc.). (1, 2)
Ingredients in Typical Store-Bought Baby Laundry Detergent
You can of course buy store-bought baby laundry soap, but you really have to be careful about what you are buying. Of course this goes for many personal care products on the market, but when you're shopping for something to use on your baby's skin, it's even more important.
Even thought they're marketed for babies, many baby laundry detergents on the market have ingredients that aren't the best for baby's (or any sensitive) skin.
Here are just some of the questionable ingredients in Dreft Baby Newborn Liquid Detergent, a brand that is often recommended by physicians:
Dreft Baby Newborn Laundry Detergent Ingredients
dtpa, fluorescent brightener–huh?
Hmmmm…not sure I want all of these on my baby's skin. In fact, I know that I do not.
Why Make Homemade Baby Laundry Detergent
When thinking about what kind of laundry detergent would be best for baby's skin, you want to be particularly careful.
What you want to look for in a gentle non-toxic detergent is one without questionable additives like sodium laurel sulfate, artificial fragrances (see the dangers of fragrances here), or other possible irritants. Plus, making your own detergent is quick and cheap! Check out the recipe and tips below to make laundry day greener without much effort.
By the way, the following DIY Baby Laundry Detergent Recipe / Formula is from Wendyl of Wendyl's Green Goddess of New Zealand. The formula was given sharing permission to a previous guest writer on this site. So thankful to have this fantastic formula available for all of us.
- Place washing soda in food processor and blend until fine.
- Add baking soda and blend briefly to mix.
- While the motor is running, drizzle liquid soap into food processor and process until evenly distributed and powdery.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Use 1 Tablespoon for regular loads or 2 Tablespoons for large loads.
Don't want to make your own DIY Baby Laundry Detergent?
While I love DIYing just about anything (including Homemade Shower Cleaner, Moisturizing Homemade Foaming Soap, and Homemade Rice Milk, for example), I know how it goes. Sometimes you just don't have time to do it or you just want to purchase something quick.
If you feel like you just don't want to make your own baby laundry detergent for whatever reason, here are a few good options for you. Assuming that the companies are being honest about their ingredients (I have found that many are not), I would recommend Molly Suds as one good option.
Another good option is Pure Detergent. It's made only with soap berries and aloe vera so it should work for almost anyone's skin.