After choosing a decent baby carrier, you’ve suddenly noticed that your baby is massively messy — as are all newborns and babies. Your Meh Dei, structured carrier, baby wrap, or ring sling will get dirty and filthy no matter what. Because your sweat glands are still active, and all babies upchuck all the time. So, you have to clean up your kiddo’s spit-up. But how do you clean a baby carrier quickly at home?
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The best way to clean most baby carriers is to spot clean them. But if you’re pressed for time or just plain lazy, the easiest and fastest way to wash a baby carrier is to stuff the carrier in a pillowcase, zip the case up, and toss it in a washing machine. Use cold water and run the gentle cycle. And always use a gentle detergent. Never ever use harsh cleaners or bleach to wash your baby carrier. Air-dry your baby carrier or use a dryer at extremely low heat.
How to Clean Different Kinds of Baby Carriers
Let’s now learn how to clean the four different kinds of baby carriers below.
*The instructions set out below are general guidelines. You should always refer to the manufacturer-given cleaning guidelines.
How to Wash Ring Slings
With a ring sling, you can wear your baby on the hip or on the front. To clean a ring sling, loosen the sling end from the ring so that the shawl can lay flat. Put the ring sling in the machine and run the delicate cycle. Use cold water and some gentle detergent and air-dry it afterward. If the material/care claims permit it, flat iron the sling to prevent shape loss.
How to Wash Baby Wraps
Pack your dirty baby wrap inside a pillowcase and wash with cold water and a mild detergent. You want to choose the delicate cycle in most cases. Once clean, hang out to dry or tumble-dry based on the fabric or care instructions.
How to Clean Structured Carriers
For the most part, you can get away with spot cleaning your structured carrier. If it’s not anywhere near filthy, definitely spot clean it using warm water and a mild detergent. Use a clean soft damp cloth or a sponge to dab up loose solids and dirt.
But if your structured baby carrier needs a nice and deep clean, run a delicate cycle. Wash it in cold water and use a gentle detergent. Finally, air-dry the item.
How to Clean a Meh Dai
A meh dai is pretty much an improved baby wrap. It is part wrap and part structured carrier and offers a kind of pocket where your little one sits. Unless a traditional structured carrier, this type requires you to tie up its ends around yourself to hold your kiddo. Because it usually doesn’t have buckles waist straps and shoulder straps.
To clean a meh dai (also called Mei Tai), put it in a zippered pillowcase and get it in the washing machine. Use cold water plus a gentle detergent on the delicate cycle.
By the way, put it in a pillowcase? To prevent entanglement during mechanical action. And to dry it, simply line dry/air dry the way you would a structured option.
First Things First: Know Your baby Carrier’s Fabric
Before you toss that baby carrier in the washing machine, spot clean, or hand-wash it, make sure to learn what fabric you have. That’s because baby carriers are manufactured using all kinds of fabrics, from cashmere, cotton, and wool to linen, bamboo viscose, silk, hemp, and fabric blends.
The way you clean a cashmere baby carrier may not be the recommended method for cleaning a wool carrier. So, the very first step toward a successful clean is to identify the fabric you’re dealing with. In most cases, manufacturers state the fabric on some label sewn onto the carrier.
Aside from fabric, there’s also buckles and other accessories. Different carrier brands may have different care instructions for their products even when it’s the same fabric. It’s best to not assume anything and instead learn the manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines.
How Do I Know What Fabric My Carrier is Made of?
If you live in the United States, check your baby carrier for the care label. The U.S. Textile Act requires that manufacturers for carriers meant for the US market attach a care label on the product.
The care label should clearly state the item’s place of origin, its fiber content, and most importantly, baby carrier care instructions. Once you learn what fabric you got, read the instructions on how to wash the carrier and follow those instructions.
Now that you know your carrier’s fabric, it’s time to clean it. Good baby carriers aren’t cheap, and you don’t want cleaning gone wrong to degrade them. You want to end up with a sling, wrap, or carrier that’s still solid and strong enough to hold your baby.
In the sections that follow, I outline how to wash or clean various fabrics so you can get the most utility out of your sling or whatever.
How to Clean Different Kinds of Baby Carrier Fabrics
How do you clean a cotton carrier, or a cashmere carrier, or a wool one, or whatever fabric it is? The following sections describe how best to handle each fabric to retain its integrity.
How to Clean Cotton and Linen Baby Carriers
Cotton happens to be the most popular fabric when it comes to baby carriers. But linen is also pretty common. These two natural fibers have similar properties and you can use the same approach to wash them.
To clean a cotton or linen carrier, put the item in the washing machine separately and run the delicate cycle. Why clean them separately? Because you don’t want them bleeding their rich color on your fave picnic dress or whatever.
You should wash these two fabrics in cold water. And in terms of detergent, you can definitely add in a little bit of gentle detergent. Don’t use any kind of harsh detergent.
It’s best to dry cotton and linen baby carriers in a clothesline. But if you must use a dryer, make sure to select a low setting. These fabrics naturally shrink when you wash them. That’s why many moms choose hang drying them.
How to Clean Cashmere Baby Carriers
Can you machine wash a cashmere baby carrier? No, you shouldn’t machine wash a cashmere baby carrier. That’s mainly because cashmere is a type of wool, one of the softest and most delicate materials out there. And the mechanical agitation from a washing machine can damage this knitted or woven wool-like fabric real bad.
A lot of the time, textile manufacturers blend cashmere with some other fiber when making wraps or slings. So, here’s how to wash a cashmere carrier: spot clean it using cold water. Alternatively, you can hand wash cashmere, but you never want to use much force. And yes, you can dry clean cashmere fabrics.
Here’s how to hand wash a cashmere blend baby carrier: Put some cold water in a bucket. Then, add in some mild detergent. Next, put in the cashmere blend carrier and slosh the water+detergent solution around for about one minute. What you don’t want to do: scrubbing your cashmere blend wrap or sling.
Now, how do you dry a cashmere wrap or ring sling carrier? Gently ring the wrap or sling with your hands to squeeze out any excess water. Then, lay the wrap or sling on a clean flat surface as you would a wool garment so that it won’t lose its shape.
Do Not press your cashmere wrap directly with a flat iron. Instead, steam iron it if necessary. Me? I’ve never needed to steam iron my cashmere carrier. Seriously, you don’t need to iron a cashmere carrier and most clothing items made out of this fabric.
How to Clean Wool Baby Carriers
Like all high-end fabrics, wool is super delicate and necessitates careful handling. A merino wool wrap is what to buy when you really want to make a statement. I really like the nicest things life has to offer…because I’m a cool mom.
What’s more, wool does a great job at trapping in heat while staying pretty breathable. It’s a good cool-weather fabric.
But what’s the safest way to clean a wool baby carrier? Use lukewarm warm water to gently hand wash your wrap or sling-type carrier. And of course, avoid using a harsh detergent. Instead, use a neutral or mild detergent. When washing wool, you want to keep the water at a more or less consistent temperature.
Can You Machine Wash a Wool Carrier?
According to the Woolwork Company, many wool garments can be machine washed on the wool cycle. And if your washing machine lacks the wool setting, run the delicate wash cycle or the cold water cycle.
However, wool’s felting properties often cause this wonderful fabric to interlock get matted/felt up when subjected to mechanical action, moisture, or heat. For that reason, it’s best to just stick to hand washing your wool baby wrap.
How do dry a wool baby wrap carrier? It’s best to flat dry it to prevent shape distortion unless the manufacturer expressly stated you can tumble dry the item.
If you choose to tumble dry your baby pouch, be sure to choose the wool or delicates setting or on the lowest heat setting. Reminder: be sure to review the care claim before washing your wool baby carrier.
Note: Do Not ring or twist a wool carrier to get rid of excess water. That’s the quickest way to felting up your fave wrap.
How to Wash Bamboo Viscose Carriers
A bamboo viscose fabric is pretty much between bamboo and viscose. Bamboo is a natural fiber like cotton or linen and resists abrasion reasonably well. It also wicks moisture well (good absorbency), which means it doesn’t dry that fast.
What’s more, bamboo offers antimicrobial properties and stands up to mildew quite well. Plus, your baby won’t have to endure static buildup. But bamboo isn’t cheap, and it doesn’t shrink much.
As for viscose, it’s a kind of rayon, and it gives a lustrous, soft feel to your baby wrap. It’s also super light, and it drapes really well. Also, Viscose is pretty inexpensive.
Bring all these qualities together, and you have a nice-looking baby wrap that’ll soothe your little one’s soft skin.
Be Sure You’re Actually Getting Bamboo Not Rayon
Hopefully, there isn’t too much viscose in your wrap because the production of viscose rayon is a relatively toxic process. In fact, the FTC has fined companies including JC Penny and others for falsely labeling their clothing items as bamboo while they were essentially viscose rayon.
To clean a bamboo viscose carrier, use cold water and gentle detergent without bleach. Usually, bamboo garments can be machine washed. But since this is a bamboo/viscose blend and viscose is pretty delicate when wet, it’s safer to hand wash it in cool or warm water.
How to Dry Bamboo Viscose Carriers
Viscose (the more delicate material here) hates too much wringing and twisting. So, wring your bamboo viscose wrap with a clean towel and air dry it flat. Avoid using a dryer. Steam-press your bamboo viscose carrier to help maintain its shape.
How to Clean Silk Kiddo Carriers
Silk wraps and ring slings look amazing, but they need you to be careful when cleaning them. How you clean a silk baby wrap depends on the final appearance you want.
For a lustrous, silky look, have the item dry cleaned. Alternatively, use cold water to spot clean the shawl. But if you prefer a less shiny look, toss the silk baby wrap in the washing machine and run the delicate cycle.
Use cold water. And to keep your fabric soft and supple, consider adding in a quarter cup of vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar kills odors while softening clothes.
The Best Way to Dry Silk Baby Carriers
The best way to dry a silk blend baby carrier is to use a dry cotton towel to press out excess water. Then, dry the silk-blend wrap or sling in the shade. Why dry silk items in the shade? It’s because direct sunlight degrades silk on top of discoloring it.
Do Not tumble dry a silk carrier or any kind of silk clothing. That’s because tumble-drying can shrink or even damage your expensive silk baby carrier.
How to Wash Mixed-Fabric Carriers
There’s a simple rule of thumb when cleaning blends. If a fabric consists of two fabrics or even more, follow the instructions of the more delicate material.
For example, if your baby sling contains wool and linen, definitely clean it as though it were a wool item. Remember how we cleaned our bamboo viscose wrap above? We cleaned it how you’d clean a viscose baby wrap.
What’s the Best Detergent for Washing Baby Carriers?
Give chlorine bleach and extremely harsh detergents a wide berth when cleaning your child’s carrier. Instead, use mild to gentle detergents. Also, avoid fabric softeners as well as brightener-rich detergents.
And when cleaning delicate natural fibers such as wool and silk, stay away from detergents containing enzymes. That can be hard given that tons of biological detergents these days come packed with enzymes for enhanced cleaning performance.
But this study warns against using a detergent with an enzyme such as protease on natural protein fibers. Because this enzyme can weaken the integrity of the fabric while leading to shape loss and poor colorfastness.
It’s Almost Always to Air-dry Your Baby Carrier
As a caregiver spending precious moments with your cute little baby, you’ll have to deal with dirty carriers. Sweat really likes baby carriers, and babies don’t think twice before spitting up on their wrap. You’re going to need to give your fave carriers a nice clean so that they can keep smelling nice and last forever.
Learn what fabric you’re dealing with, and be sure you understand and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Stay away from bleaches and harsh cleaners. And in almost every case, air dry your baby carrier instead of drying it in a dryer. But if you need to use the dryer for some reason, be sure to set it on extremely low heat.