Do I really need baby washcloths?

Quick answers

Baby washcloths can be very useful for bathing and caring for a newborn. However, they are not an absolute necessity. Here are some quick answers about baby washcloths:

– Baby washcloths help gently clean delicate newborn skin. They are softer than regular washcloths.

– Washcloths are handy for wiping up messes and spit up. You can easily carry a few with you.

– Many parents find washcloths helpful for bath time. They are gentler than sponges or towels.

– If you are concerned about expenses, you can skip buying washcloths. Regular towels or cloths work too.

– Washcloths are useful, but not essential. Focus first on necessities like diapers and clothing.

– If gifted or received at a baby shower, definitely use them! But you don’t have to go out and buy any.

– Try a small pack first to see if you like using them. Buy more later if you find them helpful.

Do I really need them?

As a new parent, you may be wondering if you really need to buy special baby washcloths. It can be tempting to stock up on all kinds of specialty baby items. However, with so many expenses associated with a new baby, it’s important to think critically about each purchase. When it comes to washcloths, here are some things to consider:

The alternatives

You can certainly get by without using specific baby washcloths. Plain old towels or cloths from around the house will do the job just fine. Some parents even find cut up t-shirts or small fleece blankets are gentler options. So while washcloths are nice, they aren’t an absolute essential.

Your budget

If money is tight, skip the washcloths. Focus first on necessities like diapers, wipes, a safe sleep space, and clothes. While it would be nice to have super soft, plush washcloths, regular towels will clean your baby just fine. Don’t feel like you need fancy boutique washcloths.

Baby shower gifts

If you are lucky enough to receive some baby washcloths at your shower, great! Use them. But don’t feel obligated to run out and buy more. Chances are you will acquire more than enough through gifts.

Trying a small pack

If you want to test out baby washcloths, start with just a small pack. Many baby stores sell multipacks of 3-5 washcloths or you can buy just one or two. See if you reach for them during bath time or for wiping up messes. Then you can decide if you want more.

The benefits

While not essential, baby washcloths do have some benefits:

– They have a soft texture that is gentle on newborn skin. Their fabric feels soothing.

– They are the perfect size for cleaning all the creases and folds of a small baby.

– The small size makes them highly portable and convenient for travel or outings.

– They can be soothing for babies to hold or grip during bath time.

– Washcloths are useful for gentle face wiping and cleaning around the eyes.

So while not mandatory, washcloths can make bathing and caring for a newborn a bit easier. Evaluate your budget and needs, but know the benefits are nice.

When would washcloths be useful?

Here are some of the times when baby washcloths can come in handy:

Bath time

Washcloths are commonly used during baby baths. Their soft fabric gently cleans without being harsh on new skin. You can use a washcloth to help lather baby wash or shampoo. They are also great for rinsing clean water over your baby’s head. Be sure to use a fresh, clean washcloth each bath.

Wiping up messes

Once your baby arrives, you will be wiping up plenty of spills and messes! Drool, spit up, and exploded diapers are inevitable. Having some small washcloths around makes cleaning up those surprises quick and easy. You can toss them right in the laundry.

Face and hand washing

Grimy little hands and faces means you will be washing your baby’s hands and face frequently. Washcloths are gentler than paper towels for this purpose. Just be sure to use separate cloths for face vs. hands to avoid spreading germs.

Soothing teething babies

Teething infants love chewing on cold, damp washcloths! Keep some clean cloths in the fridge or freezer. The cold temperature and soft fabric provide relief for sore gums. Supervise your baby while teething of course.

Warm compresses

Warm damp washcloths can be used to provide comfort for little stuffy noses. Microwave a wet cloth for 15-20 seconds and allow to cool. Gently drape over baby’s nose to loosen mucus. Be sure cloth isn’t too hot before using.

Cleaning messes on-the-go

Because washcloths are small and portable, they are great to toss in your diaper bag. Then you’ll be prepared to wipe up messes when out running errands with baby. Much easier than carrying a towel everywhere!

What type of washcloths are best?

With so many options out there, what type of baby washcloths are best? Here are some considerations:


Look for natural and chemical-free fabrics:

Cotton – Soft, gentle, very absorbent, machine washable, affordable

Muslin – Lightweight cotton, gets softer over time

Flannel – Warm, cozy, may pill with repeated washing

Bamboo – Eco-friendly, softer than cotton, anti-bacterial

Avoid scratchy synthetics or fabrics with chemicals. Organic is ideal for delicate skin.

Weave and layers

Choose a washcloth with:

– Tightly woven single layer fabric. Avoid loose knits or mesh.

– Multiple layers for extra softness. 2 or 3 ply cotton is great.

– Terry or waffle weave to improve absorbency.

Loosely woven fabrics may fall apart faster. Stick to quality materials.

Size and shape

Look for:

– Approximately 7-10 inches square in size

– Smaller than a standard washcloth

– Hooded shapes to cradle baby’s head during baths

– Mitten shape with pocket for washing hands

Bigger towels are fine too, but small cloths are convenient for portable use.


You may find washcloths with special features like:

– Built-in mitten shape or attached scrub brush

– Colorful patterns or cute designs

– Matching holders or bags for organization

While fun, the extras aren’t necessary. Focus on soft, absorbent fabrics.


Washcloths range widely in price:

– Budget-friendly packs for around $5-10

– Mid-range organic sets from $15-25

– High-end boutique brands for $30+

As with most baby items, you can spend a little or a lot! Cheaper washcloths are fine for basic use.

How many washcloths will I need?

As a new parent, you may wonder just how many washcloths you should plan to have on hand. Here are some tips:

For bathing: Plan to have 3-5 washcloths just for baths. This allows you to use a fresh one at each bath time. Any more than 5 isn’t really necessary just for bathing purposes.

For wiping up messes: Have 5-10 extra washcloths to use for wiping hands and faces, cleaning up spills or spit up, and other cleanup. Extras are great to toss in the diaper bag too.

For receiving as gifts: Many people gift packs of washcloths at baby showers. So you may receive 6-12 just from loved ones wanting to help out. Open and use any gifted washcloths.

For laundry: Have at least 12-15 washcloths in your baby’s laundry rotation. That way you have enough clean ones while others are being washed. Having too few could mean constantly doing laundry.

For loss: Include a few extra in your total count. Little washcloths often get lost in the laundry or under furniture! An extra 2-3 allows room for error.

So in total, plan for 20-30 washcloths on hand to allow plenty of clean ones always available when you need them.

What are washcloths used for as baby gets older?

While especially useful for newborns, washcloths still serve a purpose even as your baby grows. Here are some helpful ways to use baby washcloths as your child gets older:

Sensitive skin cleanser – Gentle on delicate facial skin prone to irritation. Use damp cloths to wipe faces and hands.

Messy art time – Place washcloths under baby’s hands during fingerpainting or messy play. Catches drips and easy to rinse out.

Teething soother – Cool damp cloths feel great on sore gums. Chill in fridge prior to use.

Warm compress – Warm washcloths can provide nasal relief or soothe minor injuries like scrapes. Wet and microwave 10-15 seconds.

Bathing – Still useful for gentle cleansing during tub time. Lather with bath gel or soap.

Cleaning up spills – Contain minor spills or wet messes with a handy washcloth within reach.

On-the-go wipe – Toss one in your bag for a makeshift wipe when out running errands. Cleans hands and faces.

Dusting and cleaning – Utilize to dust furniture, wipe kitchen counters, or other light cleaning jobs.

Diapering helper – Use damp cloth to gently wipe bottom clean during diaper changes if preferred over wipes.

So don’t be afraid to find new uses for baby washcloths even as your child gets older and less delicate! They continue to be a versatile cleaning and caring tool.

How should I care for baby washcloths?

To keep baby washcloths in good condition for sensitive skin, follow these laundry and care tips:

Machine wash in warm or hot water to sanitize with mild baby detergent

Tumble dry low to preserve softness or air dry

Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets which contain chemicals

Discard stained or frayed washcloths to prevent irritation

Wash new washcloths before first use to remove manufacturing residues

Store in a dedicated basket just for baby items to prevent cross contamination

Don’t share baby washcloths with siblings or family members

Use dye and fragrance free detergent to prevent reactions

Sanitize regularly by washing in hot water or drying on high heat

With some basic care, you can maintain the softness and cleanliness of baby’s washcloths for sensitive skin. Proper laundering is key.


While not an absolute necessity, baby washcloths are certainly useful to have on hand. Their soft fabrics make them ideal for gently bathing and caring for your newborn’s delicate skin. Washcloths are convenient and portable as well. Evaluate your own needs and budget to determine if specialty baby washcloths are on your must-buy list. Many parents receive them as gifts too. Regardless of the brand or price, focus on keeping baby’s washcloths clean via frequent laundering. With some basic care, they can remain soft and gentle on skin for years of use.

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