ARTICLE by Natalie Brown

How to safely clean baby carriers and slings

 |  Reading time: 5 minutes
B_for_Blog | Natural Baby Shower

If you’re a babywearing buff like we are, you have probably got to the stage where your baby carrier or sling could do with a little clean. As, like many things we wear, baby carriers and slings do get a little grubby – we see you milk stain!

So, for babywearing week and beyond, we want to share the tips and tricks to keep your baby carrier in shipshape and ensure that your baby is reaping all the benefits of babywearing while in a clean and safe space.

tula baby carrier

How to wash different types of carriers

As with most pieces of clothing, different types of carriers and slings come with different wash instructions thanks to features such as buckles or harder-to-clean fabrics.

Plus with each brand, wash instructions can also differ based on the model's accessories, fabric, or how the carrier is made. 

That’s why it’s always important to read the instructions for your carrier before cleaning. Usually, you should be able to find this information on the label of your carrier otherwise, it should be available on the online product page – or better yet, you can find it here!

Soft structured carriers

Soft structured carriers are generally the first kind of carriers that come to mind when we think of babywearing.

Soft structured carriers often feature buckles or straps that attach around the waist, with added shoulder padding for comfort. They’re also easy to use and often have additional features such as newborn inserts and covers that make them more convenient for life on the move.

Thanks to the materials used in these carriers, they (mostly) can be machine washed. Although due to straps and buckles or special fabrics like in the new Tula Hemp range, they may need to be spot cleaned and left to air dry. That means the wash process can take a few days so bare this in mind if you need the carrier in the next day or so. 

Alternatively, you can invest in a backup carrier which takes the stress out of the quick turnaround. A few soft structured carriers we recommend are the Ergobaby Omni360 carrier, Babybjorn Harmony baby carrier and the all-new Stokke Limas carrier.

These soft structured carriers are brilliant, versatile carrying solutions that are both comfortable for you and baby. Thanks to the breathable materials used throughout, it helps to regulate temperature and, in some cases, make them easier to dry – keep an eye out for air mesh!

ergobaby omni carrier

Washing soft structured carriers

  • Spot cleaning

Spot cleaning is a great way to get rid of messes that don't really require washing. Simply take some warm water mixed with baby’s laundry detergent and use a washcloth, blotting away any excess liquid before air drying thoroughly.

  • Machine washing

Always make sure you read the instructions on how to clean your carrier before washing it. Most of them say that if done correctly, they can be washed in cold water or delicate wash with baby’s laundry detergent and air dried for fastest results.

Backpack carriers

hiking carrier

Backpack carriers offer exploring parents a practical, safe, and comfortable solution to long walks or hiking. They provide so much freedom for you to move, and for your little one to experience the adventure in tow.

Backpack carriers are often much larger, rigid, and comprehensive carriers that, as the name suggests, carry baby on the back.

Due to their hard-framed design, these shouldn’t be put into your washer and definitely not in the dryer as you run the risk of either damaging the carrier or your washer/dryer.

Our collection of backpack carriers from Phil & Teds and Thule varies when it comes to their washing instructions, but ultimately neither of them can be fully machine washed.

Washing backpack carriers

  • Wipe clean

To wipe clean, you should use lukewarm (not hot) water, and a soft sponge or brush sparingly, so you don't harm any protective coatings that are on the backpack carrier. If there are zippers that need cleaning, be careful not to scrub, as many of these also feature water-resistant coatings.

  • Machine washing

With backpack carriers, there may be a washable cover that cant detach from the frame. If there is, always make sure you read the washing instructions provided.  On the whole, most of them should say that they can be washed in cold water or delicate wash with gentle laundry detergent and air dried for fastest results. 

Wraps and slings

Gaia wrap

The original babywearing option, wraps and slings, have been a chosen method of baby carrying for centuries. It facilitates close bonding with a little one in wrapping them securely with fabric across and around your torso.

Our selection of wraps and slings from brands such as Gaia and Freerider also offer parents a super stylish solution to babywearing. With gorgeous prints and sleek fabrics, they are perfect for layering over clothing in the home or on the move.

Wraps and slings often come in a variety of fabrics which can affect how they’re washed and cleaned. If there isn’t a wash label attached, it’s good to note that many wraps and slings feature a cotton or linen fabric.

Washing wraps and slings

  • Machine wash

With these types of carriers, you can normally machine wash, however it’s recommended to use a cool cycle (around 30c) with gentle detergent. Depending on the fabric, you should try to avoid putting it in the wash with other clothing that has zippers or sharp elements as this can catch on the fabric and cause loose threads.

Mei Tai carrier

studio romeo

A Mei Tai carrier is the perfect choice for parents looking to use a cross between traditional wrap and structured carriers.

It sometimes has pockets that fit around your baby, which instead of straps or buckles, there are strings you tie yourself into making sure it fits just right.

Alternatively, Mei Tei carriers like the collection from Studio Romeo are made of 2 loops of super soft fabric that you can put on criss-cross around your torso and pop your little one into. These save time fiddling with straps and maintain a close, secure hold on baby.

Washing Mei Tei carriers

  • Machine wash

With these types of carriers, you can normally machine wash, however it’s recommended to pop them in a pillowcase to prevent tangling. It’s safe to wash on a delicate cycle with gentle detergent to protect both the carrier and baby’s skin.

Make sure to air dry to prevent shrinking, especially as fabrics such as in the Studio Romeo carriers are sometimes a little snug at first before they relax and soften. 

Always remember

With all types of carriers, avoid bleach or other harsh cleaning chemicals. Not only as this might damage the materials in the carrier but also because they are toxic for baby and irritating on their skin.

freerider sling

Need more help?

If your washing worries are yet to be solved, don’t worry. Our team of nursery specialists are on hand to answer all your questions. Simply connect via our one-way video call service to speak to the team, all from the comfort of your own home. 

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