12 Feb

Washing Cloth Books

When your child starts teething and otherwise expressing pain due to their teeth coming in, what remedies do you turn to? While not typically the first thing most people reach for, fabric books have a strong appeal right next to teething tablets. Inexpensive to purchase, and durable to even the toughest of children, you won’t have to worry about plucking cardboard or paper from your toddler’s mouths, if you skip the paper books all together.

These fun and vividly colored books are not only soft on your child’s gums, they’re also enriching to your children. They come in a variety of designs and many have even been reproduced from classic stories such as Old Macdonald’s Farm. That’s all fine and good, but what do you do with your soft books after they’ve enjoyed a play session with your toddler? Rather than collect them and place them in the toy bin for re-use, eventually you will have to succumb to the fact that they will need to be washed. While not complicated, washing fabric books does involve a creative and slightly different process than what most are accustomed to. Keep reading to learn more.

The best way to clean your cloth books

Typically, you can throw most cloth books into the wash on a cold-gentle cycle, and they’ll come out just fine. If you’re concerned about keeping the books in mint shape, however, consider throwing them into an empty pillowcase to act as a buffer between the dryer/washer drum, and the books themselves.

When using this teething baby help method, these books can be washed with the rest of your laundry, but it’s not recommended. Instead, consider running a separate wash cycle just for the books. If you don’t feel comfortable about throwing them into your washing or drying machine, consider washing them by hand; as this will maintain the vivid colors and the integrity of the fabric for much longer.

To begin, run some cold water into a clean sink. You don’t need to use any washing liquid or laundry detergents for this step, in fact it’s not advised unless you’re absolutely sure you can rinse it all out. Remember, baby will be sucking on these fabric books when dry, so you don’t want them to end up with a mouthful of suds.  If you do decide to use a laundry detergent in the process, stick to baby friendly detergents to ensure safety.

After immersing your cloth books in the sink full of water, carefully swish them around. The idea is to get them completely covered with water and make sure they’ve been gently agitated in the sink full of water. You want to avoid rubbing the fabrics; so if you have a stain that needs treated, consider washing them separately.

After gently agitating with the water, allow the books to soak for a few more minutes.

If you did decide to use detergents in the above process, be sure to drain the water and repeat the above steps once or twice, in order to ensure that all of the detergents have been rinsed from the fabric.

After you have washed your cloth books, you want to make sure you dry them properly to prevent the growth of mold. Simply remove the books from the water and gently place on a clean and dry towel. Avoid squeezing or wringing out the fabric books; as this can stretch the material out and possibly damage the fabric books.

After you’ve removed as much water as you can, place the book on a clean and flat towel. You may gently press the book into the towel to remove as much excess water as possible. The towel will help absorb some of the excessive water. It’s important to place it on a new dry towel after you’re removed the excess water.

After it’s dried for a few hours (typically 2-3 hours), you can hang it up on a line or hook to dry without risking the integrity of the fabric.

Regardless of how careful you are with the treatment of these books, the fabric’s colors may fade over time. This is typical and not something you should worry about. Cotton is a natural fabric that will occasionally ‘bleed’ the vivid colors when washed. The best you can do is to attempt to avoid washing the cloth books constantly; instead try cycling them out with other books so they can get a well-deserved break from your child’s explorative mouth.