As a parent with a young family, it is likely that you always have a muslin cloth or muslin square close to hand around the house, in prams and pushchairs and the all-important changing bag.\nMade from 100% cotton, muslin cloths are soft, breathable and incredibly versatile. Whether it's bath time, feed time, playtime or bedtime – these everyday items offer a function, as well as comfort to your little one. But being used so often means they can be a hotbed for bacteria and need regular washing to keep caring for, and not compromising, your baby's soft and delicate skin.\nTo give you peace of mind when it comes to caring for this baby essential, we have put together a guide to washing muslin cloths by machine, by hand and how to treat stubborn stains that can happen all too often!\n\nAre you looking for some parent-related inspiration? Read our blog on the variety of ways muslin cloths can be used with your baby.\n\nWashing muslin cloths in a washing machine\n\nWhile the temptation may be there to turn up the washing machine to its hottest setting, using a 40-degree cycle is hot enough to stains and dirt. It also means that you aren't spending money unnecessarily on hot cycles while also being environmentally friendly.\nPicking the right detergent can feel a little overwhelming. It's important to remember to use a washing detergent that protects babies' sensitive skin and doesn't leave residue – many big brands include ingredients that come from petroleum, containing impurities, harsh chemicals and heavy metals that cling to fabric and irritate the skin.\nLook for non-bio products, as these do not contain harsh enzymes. Always opt for liquid detergents, as they are more soluble and leave less residue, and where possible, choose eco-friendly, plant-based products that are less toxic, and more natural and kinder to the skin.\nTo keep items looking as fresh as possible, we recommend separating muslin cloths by colours and washing with similar items: whites\/lights and pastels\/brights and darks. \nTo prevent the cloths from snagging, avoid washing with items with zips or Velcro. You could also opt to use the gentle cycle or hand-wash setting on your machine for delicate pieces. To make sure the items are as clean as can be from the cycle – avoid overloading the machine. \nTake out the items as soon as the cycle has finished and dry on a line, radiator, or clothes horse, or if tumble drying, put on a low setting.\n\nHow to wash muslin cloths by hand\nAn act of love, many parents choose to wash their baby's items by hand – especially those that are more delicate or if you can't quite make a full load yet! It's not as strenuous or time-consuming as you might think.\nTo wash by hand, fill a sink, bath or bucket with warm water and add in the recommended amount of your chosen detergent.\nSwill the mixture together to mix well and add your items. Use your hands to agitate the fabric and ensure the cleaning products can do their job correctly; you may want to rub the cloth together to treat any dirt patches. Leave the items to soak for an hour before rinsing with cool water until no more suds appear when rinsing and squeezing the cloths.\nIf your items are still stained, repeat the process, or read on for our guide on treating stubborn stains. Squeeze out as much water as you can before hanging on a line, radiator or clothes horse or tumble drying on a low setting.\n\nHow to treat stubborn stains\nIf you are not already, you will soon become accustomed to stains. Colourful food that escapes when weaning, messy play ingredients or little surprises from your baby will quickly have you addressing stubborn stains.\nThere are several ways to try and tackle stains. You can use specialist stain removal products or chlorine-free bleach, mixing the products into a paste and applying to the area, rubbing the cloth together, or using a toothbrush.\nYou could also try baking soda and lemon juice, or baby bubble bath, using the same method as above for a gentler approach. Then wash the cloths, as usual, using a washing machine or by hand.\nIf the stains refuse to disappear, try the process again, or opt for soaking the cloths in hot water and chlorine-free bleach, before rinsing until there are no more soap suds and washing the cloths as usual to remove any lasting residue.