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How to Wash Hand Knitted Baby Clothes

Knitted baby clothes and handmade baby clothes look adorable but can be difficult to maintain. However, of course there are ways it can be done and your baby can continue wearing gorgeous knitted items that you’ve either bought or been given by family or friends.

They're the perfect item for the colder months. Not only do they keep your baby warm, they also look absolutely adorable. The last thing you want to happen to them is to be destroyed in the washing machine. We've got all of the information as well as a step-to-step guide on how to wash knitted baby clothes properly. We hope it helps you!

As well as washing them, knitted baby clothes also face a problem with discolouring. If this is something you've experienced, learn how to whiten your knitted baby clothes here.

knitted baby clothes

Wash your handmade baby clothes

When something has been handmade by you or someone you know, it makes the item so much more special. The last thing that you want to happen is to put it in the wash and it comes out looking sad and unloved. If you’re knitting the baby clothing yourself, make sure you’re using the correct wool for the item you’re knitting. For example, don’t use delicate wool for socks unless you’ll be handwashing them as these can fall apart in the washing machine.

There are certain wools that are better when it comes to washing them. Super wash wools are designed to prevent felting and will last much longer than your usual knitted item. If your knitted baby clothes are being made for you by someone else, just ask what wool they’re using so you know how to wash it. Don't risk thinking you know what wool it is and doing the wrong thing to it - it will be a huge regret!

So, if your wool is delicate, stick to handwashing. If your wool is super wash, you can safely put it in the washing machine as normal. make sure you remember this, it will come in handy for all those knitted baby clothes across the winter (as well as your own!).

What happens if I put delicate knitted baby clothes in the washing machine?

In the worst-case scenario, putting a delicate item in the washing machine can completely destroy it to the point of it being irreparable. After so much effort goes into making handmade baby clothes, this is the last thing you want to happen. We want to avoid this scenario at all costs.

In other cases, if the knitted item is made of animal fibres, the heat and friction can damage the wool and cause felting. This is where parts of the wool come away from the item and make it look fluffy. If there are patterns on the item, felting can sometimes destroy this. Felting cannot be undone as the fibre’s matt together.

Handmade baby clothes made of acrylic fibres can be ruined if a high temperature is used. This is because acrylic contains plastic which can melt or reshape when exposed to hot water. This can make items like jumpers look very limp and cannot be redone once the problem has occurred.

If the knitted item is made of plant fibres which include cotton and linen, the item is more likely to be more robust, but can still stretch. This can pose an issue in the washing machine as the item is thrown around. This can sometimes be reversed by hand washing the item and leaving it to dry flat – but is not guaranteed.

knitted baby clothes

Steps to handwash your knitted baby clothes

So, we’ve learnt that to keep your baby’s knitted items looking their best, it can be better to handwash them instead of throw them in a machine. If you’re unsure of the steps to take to do this, we’ve listed them all out below:

  1. Don’t use boiling water. As we’ve said previously, this can damage many types of wool. Use warm water – this is also better for your hands.
  2. Use a good dedicated wool wash. Wool washes have the same effect as conditioner does on your own hair. They keep the wool soft and prevent frizzing and felting.
  3. Leave it to soak. Around 15 minutes will be perfect – this gives enough time for the product to soak into the wool. Push the item into the water and gently move it around with your hands.
  4. Press a towel over the washed item. Do not ring it out as this will stretch the clothing.
  5. Lay it flat to dry. Laying it flat will prevent stretching. If you wear to hang it up, the weight of the item could stretch the wool and cause it to re-shape.

It's not just important to wash these clothes for your own baby. If you're thinking of donating them or giving them away, this is also important. Learn about the different places that will take your knitted baby clothes from you.

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