How many washes until clothes are safe? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-15-2009, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just had my shower yesterday and have all the clothes I need! Yay! However, not a single one of them is organically grown, and I'd really like to get as much of the chemicals out as possible before they touch the baby's skin. If washing with a sulfate-free/environmentally friendly detergent, how many times (approximately) would you wash them to feel comfortable with clothing baby in them?

Plus, I'm assuming I should just leave them in the washer and keep re-washing until they're done, and THEN use fabric softener (an enviro-and-baby-safe kind) on the last wash and THEN dry them, right? Softening and drying won't add any cleansing or benefit me in any way I'm assuming?
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:19 PM
 
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I wouldn't use fabric softener on them at all. I'd wash them once or twice and call it done.

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Old 03-15-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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You cannot ever remove the chemicals that the cotton was grown in. Nor can you ever remove the fire retardant chemicals added to cotton pajamas. It's an impossibility. The best you can do is try to reduce the exposure to the post-production chemicals added to the clothing. A single wash in warm/hot water will remove most of the sizing, and a second wash with vinegar will get whatever the first one missed. Past that though, you're pretty much wasting water.

And I agree with alegna on the fabric softener. Personally I'd prefer that the baby's clothes absorb any leaks rather than allow them to continue to leak through their clothes onto whatever they're on (me, grandma, bed, etc.).

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Old 03-15-2009, 07:36 PM
 
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fabric softener doesn't remove the flame retardant stuff... it just makes it useless. oso thenyou'd have two different types of chemicals in it instead of one.

I wash twice and vinegar rinse and then dry.

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Old 03-15-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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Old 03-15-2009, 07:51 PM
 
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Was in a fragrance free detergent with a vinegar rinse and dry.

BTW becarefull about washing ALL of the clothes. I washed everything for my dd, and then she ended up only wearing like 1/4 of them. And i really wish that i could have returned them for other sizes that would have fit her.

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Old 03-15-2009, 08:09 PM
 
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This topic has been bugging me quite a bit. How do you buy clothes without fire retardants? And how can you find a mattress without it in the US? Does it help to buy all these things used; i.e. do these chemicals evaporate over time?

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Old 03-15-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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I would just wash on hot once. It seems like a waste of water to do more imho.

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Old 03-15-2009, 09:41 PM
 
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This topic has been bugging me quite a bit. How do you buy clothes without fire retardants?
Most clothes for under 9mo don't have fire retardants in them.

-Angela
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I'm surprised! I was thinking washing a lot would help because I read something in a magazine----not Mothering, and it was pretty mainstream (one of the free ones you get)-----and it was saying that buying used clothes is the best thing for babies because they've been washed so many times that there's not many chemicals left in them (that can be removed, anyways). It was saying that the chems used to clean the cloth and such was so hazardous that the scraps on the factory floors of textile plants are actually considered a health hazard, and it practically takes a hazmat crew to clean and dispose of them (gas masks and everything), but the same textiles are just sewn up into baby clothes and sold without any washing. So I thought if this mainstream magazine was suggesting multiple washings, that it would actually rid them of at least *some* bad chemicals that are on there at first.

Oh, and to the PP who asked about the mattress: I got our certified 100% organic mattress on EBay, and it was pricey but I think it's worth it. I read something about SIDS and the mattresses that have the fire retardant materials being linked to higher rates----that the chemicals mix with the fungus that can develop from drool and sweat, and the combination makes seriously toxic fumes. So do a search on Ebay for the mattresses---I'll bet you can find one that's right for your price range. Got free shipping on mine! Won't be used but during the day, at least first the first few months, but still worth the peace of mind to me. ETA: oh, and the same article said to never buy used mattresses, because the moisture exposure over time builds up into well-established fungus/mold colonies, even if you can't see them. Unless you know the previous owner always used a waterproof cover and never let moisture get into it, it's safer to buy one new. So says the article.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:49 PM
 
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This topic has been bugging me quite a bit. How do you buy clothes without fire retardants? And how can you find a mattress without it in the US? Does it help to buy all these things used; i.e. do these chemicals evaporate over time?
I believe it's mostly just polyester pajamas that have fire retardant, and like Alegna said it's the pajamas for older babies. 100% cotton pajamas don't have fire retardant so I get those.

You can find organic/natural mattresses online, but they're pretty pricey. They usually use something like wool to make it fire retardant instead of chemicals.

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Old 03-15-2009, 11:46 PM
 
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I believe it's mostly just polyester pajamas that have fire retardant, and like Alegna said it's the pajamas for older babies. 100% cotton pajamas don't have fire retardant so I get those.
Actually polyester is inherently flame retardant and doesn't require additional chemicals to be labeled as "sleepwear". It's loose fitting 100% cotton "sleepwear" that requires a chemical flame retardant. Snug fitting 100% cotton pjs are not required to chemically treated and usually have a tag saying that they are meant to fit tightly.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:55 PM
 
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ETA: oh, and the same article said to never buy used mattresses, because the moisture exposure over time builds up into well-established fungus/mold colonies, even if you can't see them. Unless you know the previous owner always used a waterproof cover and never let moisture get into it, it's safer to buy one new. So says the article.
Off topic but in some states it's illegal to SELL used mattresses. They can be donated or given away, but not sold.

Be, happy momma to Liberty (12-31-02), Henry (3-17-07) and Prudence (7-02-09)
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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Actually polyester is inherently flame retardant and doesn't require additional chemicals to be labeled as "sleepwear". It's loose fitting 100% cotton "sleepwear" that requires a chemical flame retardant. Snug fitting 100% cotton pjs are not required to chemically treated and usually have a tag saying that they are meant to fit tightly.
Or labeled with something along the lines of "not recommended for sleepwear unless snug fitting"

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Old 03-16-2009, 12:33 AM
 
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Actually polyester is inherently flame retardant and doesn't require additional chemicals to be labeled as "sleepwear". It's loose fitting 100% cotton "sleepwear" that requires a chemical flame retardant. Snug fitting 100% cotton pjs are not required to chemically treated and usually have a tag saying that they are meant to fit tightly.
Hmmm...all the sleepwear I have seen that has been treated with chemicals (it says something like "to retain fire resistance, wash in this fashion") have been 100% polyester. I've never seen cotton pajamas with instructions like that. And it's my understanding that polyester melts when it burns, whereas cotton just burns away. But please, educate me if that's not correct!

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Old 03-16-2009, 12:45 AM
 
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I thought that using 'soap' instead of detergent to wash clothes gets out flame retardants. Some clothing tags that have fire retardants specifically say not to wash with 'soap.' I usually just go for the tight fitting cotton pj's.

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Old 03-16-2009, 01:11 AM
 
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Hmmm...all the sleepwear I have seen that has been treated with chemicals (it says something like "to retain fire resistance, wash in this fashion") have been 100% polyester. I've never seen cotton pajamas with instructions like that. And it's my understanding that polyester melts when it burns, whereas cotton just burns away. But please, educate me if that's not correct!

This has been my understanding, too. Polyester is much worse because it fuses with the skin when it melts...it doesn't burst into flame. I've never seen loose fitting cotton pajamas (all I can think of it this category would be flannel stuff) with flame retardant information.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:14 AM
 
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Before DS was born, I had this concern too. Here's what seemed to at least take out the chemical smell (which my preggo nose really picked up, while I'm not sure I could smell it now):
Wash once
Soak overnight in a tub of water with baking soda and vinegar
Rinse
Hang out to dry and air out, hopefully in the sun. The longer the better
One final wash/dry.
I think I got that from info given to people with chemical sensitivities. Don't know how much it actually gets out, but makes me feel better.

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Old 03-16-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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This topic has been bugging me quite a bit. How do you buy clothes without fire retardants? And how can you find a mattress without it in the US? Does it help to buy all these things used; i.e. do these chemicals evaporate over time?
Hanna Andersen has PJ's that are not treated (organic cotton) but the specifically list that they are not intended for sleep. thats all i use.

i would not use fabric softener though.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:45 AM
 
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Yes sleepwear must be labeled that it is not flame resistant and should be worn snug fitting if has not been treated with chemicals. Just read the tags and you should be able to find untreated pjs. Of course organic clothing isn't treated either. And I have read from numerous sources that used clothing is better because the chemical exposure from washing etc is much less.

Having said that when I buy new clothes for the kids I usually just wash them normally before they wear them. The only I would worry is treated pjs but I've just stopped buying them. Also make sure you skip the dryer sheets! They have tons of chemicals in them. I use wool dryer balls and we don't have any problems. (We do get some static in polyester materials but I try to avoid those anyway.)

And for non-treated mattresses just google organic mattresses. (Or search here on Mothering or feel free to PM me.) We have them for both our boys.

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Old 03-16-2009, 01:54 AM
 
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Hanna Andersen has PJ's that are not treated (organic cotton) but the specifically list that they are not intended for sleep. thats all i use.

i would not use fabric softener though.
Really, they are labeled this way? I've never ever noticed that. You're tempting me to go risk waking up my kids to read their jammies.

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Old 03-16-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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Really, they are labeled this way? I've never ever noticed that. You're tempting me to go risk waking up my kids to read their jammies.
Don't bother. I'm guessing they are only labeled on tags that you probably removed before letting them wear them. At least that's how Old Navy, Gap etc labels them. So let the kiddos sleep...

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Old 03-16-2009, 02:10 AM
 
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Some "pj" apparel is labeled as "long underwear" as it's not flame retardant. It used to be required that all sleepwear was close fitting, and kids didn't like it - so they would wear big adult t-shirts and such. Then the gov't relaxed the guidelines on close fitting-ness, so that pjs could be loose, too. Now it seems that there is some that is sold close fitting and non-treated and some that is loose and treated.

Newborns seem quite sensitive the first few days - reacting to seams and detergents and plain old air it seems. It seems their skin hardens up a bit and gets less sensitive as they adjust to an air environment - keeping them away from potentially icky stuff for two weeks seems like a good first goal. The good think is that they don't really need clothes for a while - diaper and snuggled in is GOOD! Perhaps an organic robe for you? You could snuggle up!

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Old 03-16-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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I just ordered a crib futon filled with 100% wool from www.surroundewe.com. Their price is really good as far as organic baby futons go--$250 for an 8" mattress. And since wool is naturally flame retardant, you don't need a doctor's prescription.

I have a bunch of other links while searching for mattresses and futons. PM me if you're interested in the list.
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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Hmmm...all the sleepwear I have seen that has been treated with chemicals (it says something like "to retain fire resistance, wash in this fashion") have been 100% polyester. I've never seen cotton pajamas with instructions like that. And it's my understanding that polyester melts when it burns, whereas cotton just burns away. But please, educate me if that's not correct!
Doh, I should not post while sleepy. Cotton is more flammable than polyester in that it will continue to burn after the direct contact with the original flame source has been removed. The problem with polyester isn't really the flammability, but that the fact that it melts and adheres to the skin when heated. I've never made or purchased polyester sleepwear so I've never noticed the flame resistant stuff required for those.

Tight/Snug fitting 100% sleepwear (or anything sized for an infant under 1 year old) doesn't require chemical flame retardants, but it does require a separate hang tag (it's usually huge) explaining that it's not flame resistant and on the size tag inside, it should also have a similar warning. If you can find a 100% cotton nightgown or loose fitting pjs that were made for sale in the US they will be treated with a flame retardant.
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Old 03-16-2009, 02:10 PM
 
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:14 PM
 
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Thank you, for all your thoughts and comments. I also read this article and found it to be a good summary:
http://www.5minutesforgoinggreen.com...drens-pajamas/

I was suprized to learn, that the main reason for children's pjs to be flame retardant in the US is, so kids won't ignite their cloths while roaming the house. Wouldn't that be more applicable to day time cloths or are those always treaded with flame retardants?

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