When it comes to babies shit literally can happen! As can milky sick, serious quantities of drool and various dropped foodstuffs of all kind! Correspondingly, all the slings in the library collection are ones that are easy peasy to wash! There are some absolutely lovely wool, silk and other slings out there and available to those who want them, they are just not in my library! I am all about making lives easier, and having something that can be washed easily is really a big part of that!
So whether your borrowing one of my carriers or have bought a new carrier of your own... what do you need to know about washing it? Here are my top tips for washing organised by carrier type:
Generally you want to wash these as little a possible. A first wash can really help soften stiff webbing and make the carrier feel more snuggly but after that the more you wash it the quicker it will fade and start to look worn. So my rule of thumb is if it's really dirty (as in poonami or been on holiday all week and got various suncream/ icecream/ mud miscellane all over it) definitely do wash it! And do so at 30 degrees and air dry overnight. But if its just got the odd mark or odd bit of drool just spot clean but daubing the affected area with a damp cloth and this will save your carrier getting unnecessarily worn looking from over washing. Never tumble dry a buckle carrier, because the heat can adversely affect the webbing, so always line or air dry overnight. Another tip to protect your carrier is to use "suck pads" - little cloth squares that attach to the straps covering the area where babies most commonly like to suck and chew! That way you can have a few pairs of suck pads that get washed regularly and are lovely and soft against baby, and your save your carrier all that extra drool!! I make these and sell them in the webshop here.
The good news with these is they can be washed as much as you like, and most can be tumble dried too if you need a fast turn around. In general most cotton or bamboo based stretchy wraps can be washed at 40 degrees and tumble dried on low. A few of the more fancier materials (modal, tencel, etc) do suggest 30 degrees and avoiding the tumble drier although I frequently forget and wash a whole bunch together and never found any adverse effects! With a lot of washing some have bobbled slightly overtime but nothing that affects use.
Woven wraps are the one type of carrier where washing actually improves the carrier!! Wovens get softer and softer over time with successive use and washing. Washing helps to soften the fibres and make the wrap both softer against sling and more able to mold over you and babies bodies. And they are so durable they can withstand years and years and year of washing and continuous use which means they just get better and better with time. Which is why of all the carrier types this is the one type I often recommend purchasing second hand rather than new! Washing temperature depends on the type of yarn used to make the wrap but most cotton wraps can be washed at 40-60 degrees and tumble dried on low. If you have a wrap that is a blend of fibres you might need to be a little more careful, I have variously owned linen and hemp blends because again these are easy to wash and very strong! For these I wash at 30 or 40 (according to manufacturer's directions) and tumble dry only part of the way (to iron dry on my machine) because it is possible to over dry hemp in particular... then I allow them to air to dry the rest of the way. The key with these are to use liquid detergent (rather than powder), and detergent free from optical brighteners to avoid particles becoming trapped in the fibres of the wrap which could cause it to harden and become crunchy over time!
As most ring slings are made from woven wrap material I wash these exactly as I would a woven wrap. For the ring, if the carrier is not dirty but the rings I sometimes leave these threaded, but more often I will first unthread and then I will either pop a sock over the rings (and secure with an elastic hair band) or I will pop the whole thing in a laundry bag. I will do this not for the carrier but for my machines!!! And for the noise!! The sound of the ring clattering around can be hugely alarming otherwise, particularly in the tumble dryer!!
Likewise I use the same sock or laundry bag trick for washing Close Parent Caboo carriers.
Beware what you are washing and drying at the same time with a ring sling. Because the rings are quite heavy, particularly if you do tumble dry, they can damage delicate items washed along side them. I once ruined a padded meh dai by tumble drying it along side a ring sling and the ring thumping against it broke up the internal padding leaving one sad lumpy meh dai!
Meh Dai and Half Buckles
For these how I wash them depends a bit on individual brands, if there is any webbing or plastic buckles on them I wash them as if a buckle carrier. If they are made largely from woven material I treat as if a wrap. Generally most can be washed easily at 30 degrees and often best to let air dry overnight or tumble on low if it doesn't have any webbing or plastic buckles.
Any questions please do leave a comment below.... Happy Washing!!