Your baby carrier is going to be frequently chewed on, vomited on, and dribbled on constantly. Keeping it clean will be a constant challenge for all parents!
You will be doing a spot clean almost daily to keep it in useable shape. But in this article, we are going to get into the heavy-duty side so you know exactly how to wash your baby carrier.
If you get this right you could extend the life of your carrier significantly.
Does Washing Cause Deterioration
Before we look at how you can wash your baby carrier, we first need to look at the impact that poor washing practices can have.
There are two points of deterioration that can come from washing your baby carrier if done incorrectly:
- Function – Buckles and stitching can weaken and be unsafe if not treated correctly.
- Appearance – The color can run and fade making it visually unappealing.
You can easily manage these risks by avoiding exposure to circumstances that will cause this deterioration, allowing you to extend the life of your baby carrier.
How Do I Wash My Baby Carrier
You can usually wash your baby carrier manually with a cloth or baby wipe. This will take care of smaller stains and general maintenance.
However, periodically you will want to do a more comprehensive clean – a washing machine being the easiest method.
The good news is that almost all designs can go in the washing machine – the only exclusion just doesn’t fit – so as long as you get the settings right and avoid using a dryer then you are 90% there!
Each type of baby carrier has different components that you will need to preserve when washing in a machine. We have provided some guidelines for the most popular design categories below.
But first, there are some broad rules to follow when placing your baby carrier in a washing machine.
Washing Machine Tips
These general tips will apply to all carriers that are small enough to place in a washing machine:
- Place in a pillowcase to protect the components like buckles and rings from getting bashed around in a spin cycle.
- Use gentle detergent
- Do not use fabric softeners. They can cause discoloration of the carrier material.
- Wash the carrier by itself, or with similar colored washing only.
- Cold water and a delicate cycle is usually best.
Soft Structured Carrier
Using a pillow slip is especially important with a structured carrier. The strength of the buckles and straps is critical to the function and safety of the carrier.
If they get bashed out of shape then they will not be able to handle the same weight.
Before it goes into the machine make sure you take care of the following:
- Ensure that all storage pockets are empty.
- Leave all zips open.
- Remove all accessories such as chew pads, bibs, and head covers.
When drying the carrier try to avoid direct sunlight. This can fade the material, but if you live in a hot climate the hot sun could also warp some of the elements.
All of the same instructions for soft structured carriers apply to a hip seat carrier with one exception.
If you are going to use a washing machine then you should remove the foam hip seat from the carrier.
- Hard foam – Do not wash this, if it needs cleaning then wipe it down with a cloth.
- Soft foam – This can go in the washing machine but ensure it is fully dry before placing back inside the carrier.
While a wrap may not have any additional components other than the single length of fabric, a spin cycle can turn that fabric into a string of twisted knots.
So a pillowslip is still worthwhile to keep everything from getting tossed around.
There are no restrictions on how to dry your wrap material. You can tumble dry or line dry if you want to.
If you really want a neat appearance then feel free to iron once dry.
All of the same instructions for a woven wrap will apply to washing ring slings. The only additional step you need to consider is removing the ring components.
Whether metal or plastic, this is the one point of weakness that could get banged out of shape in a machine.
If you cannot remove it then it will be fine in the trusty pillowcase – but do not put it in the dryer!
Hard Framed Backpack Carrier
You will never get a backpack carrier in a washing machine. So this is the one carrier type that will require spot cleaning.
If you wanted to do a more serious periodic clean – which may be necessary if you use it frequently outdoors – then apply all of the steps mentioned for a soft structured carrier, then soak and hand wash in a bathtub.
Only use mild detergent and rinse heavily to ensure no soapy residue remains.
Air dry to ensure no moisture is retained and it will be good as new!
Does Fabric Type Matter
The fabric of your baby carrier will dictate how you can wash it. If you have a wrap or sling that is especially delicate and sensitive to heat then you will need to adjust your approach accordingly.
The most common fabrics used are listed below. There will only be minor variations to the instructions provided above if there is an unusual blend of fabric that is outside of these materials.
- Soft-structured baby carriers, hip seat, and framed carriers – polyester, cotton
- Baby wraps and ring slings – cotton, spandex blends, viscose (bamboo) blends, silk
Instructions will be provided by the manufacturer and it is always worth reading these when you first buy your carrier so you are aware of any model-specific care instructions.
Can I Place My Baby Carrier in the Dryer
We have referenced dryers multiple times in the above instructions, but it is worth reiterating the point here,
Do not place any carrier with components such as a ring, buckles, straps, or other important stress points into a dryer.
If they warp or weaken in any way then it may no longer be safe to use your baby carrier.
Air drying is almost always your best option.
Aside from the minor safety considerations, ensuring your baby carrier is washed correctly will ensure the longevity of use and the best value for money.
This is more important if you plan on using it with multiple kids over many years and may not want to buy multiple carriers.