I often get asked about what a nanny does. “EVERYTHING!” many long-time nannies would shout, but in reality there is a broad spectrum in the number of responsibilities individual nannies offer, or services that families need. I usually respond by listing general childcare things, like feeding and playing with the kids. Then, I mention that I load and unload the dishwasher as needed and do the baby’s laundry.
Doing laundry is a big hit with nanny families. They are normally shocked at how organized the kids’ rooms stay and the sheer amount of laundry I do in a day. The last family I worked with would each, Mom and Dad, Brother, Sister and Baby, fill their laundry hamper in a week. This meant I would have at least 5 large loads to do. Luckily, doing laundry is one of my favorite house chores. Its easy, smells great, and families love it.
Whether or not you decide to deal with other family members’ clothes is your choice – and something you could charge extra for – but most nannies should know how to effectively deal with their kid’s laundry. Today, baby laundry is the subject we’ll be tackling together.
Make Your Own Detergent
Regardless of how you personally feel about mainstream detergent, or how well these products have been vetted for health effects by reputable agencies, many moms hate the idea of their baby’s clothes being laundered with “harsh chemicals.” By going the extra mile, you can put the mother’s mind at rest by making your own detergent. What’s also great about making your own detergent is that it’s cheap, easy to make, and still packs a punch!
Here’s the recipe that I personally use.
- 1 cup of baking soda
- 1 cup borax (optional)
- 1 soap bar – grated (I use zoat because it’s at my local store)
- 1 cup of washing powder
- 30 drops of the essential oil of your choice
- Grate the soap bar
- Mix all ingredients together
- Store in an air-tight container
Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. If using a top-loading washing machine, mix detergent with a cup of hot water before adding.
Many organize their laundry loads by colors. It’s often believed that the colors will “bleed” and ruin non-like colored clothes mixed in. Apart from the rare bleed-prone items, or bleaching your whites, most clothes today are “colorfast” which means they won’t bleed colors.
Really, the main thing you need to worry about is separating baby clothes from the rest of the household’s clothes. This is because larger items will tend to soak up the soap before it reaches your baby’s clothes. Plus, we all know how stinky baby clothes can get, so making sure the soap is evenly dispersed by putting all those little baby clothes in their own load is the best.
If you have gone through a large number of baby’s towels and spit-up rags, then you could also put those into their own separate load apart from baby’s clothes.
Keeping in mind how small baby’s socks are, it is good practice to put those into a delicates laundry bag. I use ones like these. Such a laundry bag keeps like items together so baby’s little socks don’t get lost.
Pro tip: If your baby had a blow-out and badly soiled some of their clothes, pre-soak the soiled items in Oxi-Clean to help get rid of bad stains.
You can add an extra touch of freshness to each load of laundry and eliminate dryer sheets by making some natural dryer balls. These are easy to make and can be tailor scented to your’s or your family’s preference with some essential oils.
Babies grow so fast! They go through clothes almost as fast as they go through diapers. Staying organized through such constant and dramatic wardrobe shifts is super hard. The way not to be sideswiped by this is to plan ahead. I do this by using baby closet size dividers. These things are super nifty. Basically, the idea is that you separate out baby’s closet by age/size. Discs are put around the rod which divide the closet into distinct categories. You use the section that baby is currently in, but you can shop ahead for the sizes they will grow into and place them into their respective categories. As baby gets bigger, you can start using the next category of clothes that you’ve already hung up.
Be an Asset
As a nanny, you not only care for a child’s immediate needs, but you are a part of what keeps the rest of their daily life functional. The more you can offer as a nanny, the more money you can make. Check in every friday for new articles and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest info.