Woven wraps can be intimidating. But there is no denying their beauty. The patterns, the color, weaves---they are truly works of art! Works of art you put a baby in.
A crying, poopy, drooling, puking baby in. Or a sticky, gooey, snotty, probably also poopy toddler. You spend your time honing your wrapping skills only to have your wrappee stain your wrap! Or worse, you get it dirty by dropping ice cream on it or dragging your tails in the mud.
If this happens, don't fret! Life happens!! Babies poop, toddler wipe their noses, and you drop ice cream. Don't let life’s mishaps keep you from using your beautiful wraps. You just need to learn how to wash and care for your wraps. And it's not as complicated as learning Norwegian Wiggleproof!
First of all, understand that normal daily use will not get your wrap actually dirty. Even if you use it every day for a week, it's probably still doesn't need a wash. Your wrap only needs a wash if it's stained, dingy, or smelly.
In fact, too much washing will damage your wrap. The heating and friction break the fibers down overtime. This is a great way to break a wrap in right off the loom, but too much will weaken the fibers too much. Just limit washing to when it's truly needed and this will not be an issue.
Please check the care instructions for the carrier first. The manufacturer may have unique instructions for that carrier to keep its integrity.
Also check out this great chart from Babywearing 102 for general fiber care instructions.
If there is no specific instructions, try these simple steps.
Try a spot treatment first if you can. This works well with dirt, food stains, and baby messes (spit up, puke, drool).
Wet the spot. Then rub some Dawn dishwashing liquid into the wrap. Then scrub gently with a toothbrush. Rinse the spot well. Let the wrap air dry in the sun if possible. Repeat if needed.
If the wrap is very soiled or smelly, a full wash is in order.
First shake out any debris that could get tangled in the weave or smudge into the fibers.
Always use a free and clear detergent. No dyes, fragrances, optical brighteners, or bleach. These can weaken the fabrics and can cause irritation to baby's skin.
Wash on a warm, gentle cycle. Rinse cold. Your wrap will come clean, no need to blast it with hot water.
It's always best hang the wrap to dry if possible. Less stress on the fibers, extending the life of your wrap. But if you need to dry it in the dryer, a low heat is always preferred.
Now your wrap should be clean and ready for more babywearing fun!
Samantha Reddy, ABE