Bath time is probably one of the most daunting tasks for new parents. You agonize over water temperature, cleansing products, and bath techniques.
But there’s one thing that you might not have considered: baby bath towels.
You might be thinking: aren’t all towels the same? So, why do you need different towels for your babies?
But just as baby food has more nutrients and baby skincare products have fewer chemicals, baby bath towels are also different. Specifically, they’re more gentle on your baby’s precious, delicate skin.
Understanding Baby Skin
Baby skin has a fanbase of its own, and for good reasons, too. Indeed, there’s softer, smoother, and better-smelling than newborn baby skin.
At the same time, though, there’s nothing more delicate or sensitive.
Once they’re out of the womb, babies continue to develop essential body parts such as skulls and organs. One such organ is the skin.
In fact, baby skin doesn’t fully develop until 24 months of age. Particularly, the skin barrier that retains skin moisture and fends off harmful microbes continues to develop in those first two years.
According to pediatric dermatologist Dr. Kerstin, baby and adult skin differs in five main ways:
- Transepidermal water loss— baby skin loses water more rapidly than adult skin, making infants susceptible to dry, scaly skin.
- Skin structure— baby skin has fewer lipids and a more acidic pH than adult skin, rendering it fragile and prone to dryness.
- Chemical sensitivity— baby skin can not handle the chemicals present in adult skincare products.
- Skin integrity— baby skin is considerably thinner, and bruises, cuts, and scrapes very easily.
- Protection— baby skin has an underdeveloped skin barrier, making it difficult to fend off pathogens, regulate temperature, and protect against UV rays.
Considering these differences, you need to treat your baby’s skin differently than your own. Unfortunately, most parents stick to this rule regarding bath or skincare products but slack off in the fabrics department.
Best and Worst Fabrics for Babies
As we grow older, our skin becomes used to all types of fabrics. Some fabrics might be less comfortable, but we learn to soldier through.
But as we saw, babies’ skin is extremely sensitive and can react negatively to the slightest irritation. Hence, some fabrics are much more baby-skin-friendly than others.
Cotton is hands-down the best fabric for baby products, be it clothes, reusable diapers, or baby bath towels. This is because cotton is the most breathable and moisture-absorbent fabric out there.
Other baby-friendly fabrics exist, but they’re all essentially cotton. These fabrics include:
- Cotton Voile
- Lawn cotton
On the other hand, certain fabrics can easily irritate your baby’s skin. These include
- Synthetic fabrics
Pure Cotton Vs. Cotton Blend Towels
Towels are generally made from cotton-blend materials, containing pure cotton mixed with synthetic materials such as polyester or linen. On the other hand, pure cotton consists only of— you guessed it— pure cotton fibers.
Here are the significant differences between pure cotton and cotton blend fabrics:
- Pure cotton comprises 100% organic fibers, whereas cotton blends are a mixture of organic and synthetic fibers.
- Pure cotton fabrics are more prone to wrinkles, whereas cotton blends are generally more resilient to wrinkles.
- Cotton blends are more durable than pure cotton, owing to the synthetic fibers.
- Compared to synthetic blends, pure cotton is much more water-absorbent.
- Pure cotton is much more breathable and lightweight than cotton blends.
- Pure cotton is more expensive than cotton blend. In fact, combining cotton with synthetic fibers lowers their manufacturing cost, which is why producers opt for cotton blends.
While some cotton blends are admittedly softer, cheaper, and more durable, the presence of synthetic materials renders them unsuitable for baby skin.
Benefits of Pure Cotton Towels for Newborn Babies
Why should you opt for pure cotton towels for your baby instead of other fabrics? Here are the top five reasons.
1. Pure Cotton Towels are Soft
Newborn skin is extremely delicate and demands that extra bit of TLC. However, keep in mind that skincare goes beyond moisturizers and other topicals. Instead, the fabric that comes into contact with your baby’s skin is equally important.
As it turns out, pure cotton is undefeated when it comes to softness. Compared to other fabrics that can cause abrasion and irritation, cotton is the most gentle on the skin.
Plus, it’s not just the skin on their limbs and torso you need to protect, but also their face and head. Babies’ heads are extremely fragile thanks to their infamous “soft spots,” so they need something extra gentle to pat their heads dry.
2. Pure Cotton Towels are Durable
When caring for a newborn baby, spills and messes are an avoidable fact of life. Unfortunately, no matter how much you try to avoid it, your baby bath towels will get dirty almost daily.
Luckily, pure cotton isn’t afraid to get a little dirty.
The integrity of pure cotton is matchless. Even after a rough machine washing, the fibers don’t fall apart, and the fabric maintains its structure. Pure Cotton Towels are Easy to Wash and Dry
We saw earlier that pure cotton is heavier on the pocket. But while the up-front cost of pure cotton baby bath towels is high, they last much longer than other fabrics.
Hence, pure cotton towels actually help you save money in the long run.
3. Pure Cotton Towels are More Water Absorbent
Wet skin on babies is a recipe for disaster. Even a few droplets of leftover moisture can wreak havoc, causing rashes, irritation, and discomfort. Plus, the longer you take to pat them dry, the more likely they are to catch a cold or make a fuss.
So, your baby bath towels need to be quick-working and 100% effective. In other words, they need to be highly water-absorbent.
Luckily, cotton, including cotton blends, are the most water-absorbent fabric. This is because cotton is a natural fabric with high hydrophilic properties, meaning its fibers attract water readily. In fact, cotton can absorb water up to 24-27 times its own weight.
It follows that pure cotton towels can absorb more water than cotton blends. Think about it: the fewer cotton fibers in a fabric, the less water they can absorb. Any additional synthetic fibers in the fabric can not hold water as well as cotton fibers.
4. Pure Cotton Towels are Non-hypoallergenic
Pure organic cotton undergoes rigorous processing and inspection to ensure the absence of any harmful chemicals. In comparison, non-natural fabrics often have pesticide residue. While adult skin is sufficiently resilient against these chemicals, baby skin is way too porous to protect against these chemicals.
Hence, pure cotton baby bath towels help avoid adverse reactions to your infant’s sensitive skin.
Moreover, pure cotton is much more breathable than other fabrics. Hence, you can rest assured that your baby’s skin won’t act up against physical or chemical irritants.
5. Pure Cotton Towels are Easy to Wash and Dry
Parent life is hectic enough as it is. You don’t need the additional burden of doing the laundry every time your baby makes a mess.
Plus, some spills and stains are simply too hard to clean.
Luckily, cotton towels help minimize the dirty work. This is because cotton fibers release dirt and grime more easily than other fabrics. Hence, you won’t have to scrub away at a mountain of laundry when you already have your hands full.
Moreover, pure cotton towels dry up just as quickly as they are cleaned.
If you’re unsure when it’s time to wash your baby’s towels, Mizu Towels’ color-changing strips detect impurities and alert you when it's laundry time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about baby bath towels.
Is cotton good for baby skin?
Baby skin is extremely sensitive and delicate, especially because it doesn’t fully develop until 24 months.
Hence, cotton is the best fabric for baby skin, be it clothes or towels.
What kind of towels should I buy for my baby?
Some baby products are simply unnecessary marketing ploys, but baby bath towels aren’t one of them.
Hooded bath towels are much more snug for your baby, but you can use non-hooded towels as well. As long as the towels are pure cotton, you can use any kind of towel to pat your baby dry.
What is the best fabric for baby bath towels?
The best fabric for baby bath towels is pure cotton.
Cotton is a natural fiber with fewer chemical residues than other fabrics. Moreover, it is extremely soft, durable, non-hypoallergenic, and easy to wash.
Hence, cotton is the most suitable fabric option for sensitive baby skin.
As a parent, you want nothing but the best for your baby. When it comes to bath time, the best thing you can do for your baby is to be gentle on their skin.
Keep in mind that baby skin doesn't fully develop until they are at least two years old. Before then, their skin is extremely sensitive and easily irritable.
So, just as you might use a gentle body wash or moisturizer on your baby, you also need an appropriate baby bath towel.
A good baby bath towel is one that is soft, breathable, highly water-absorbent, non-hypoallergenic, and durable. In other words, you need a pure cotton towel.