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Care for Your Carrier

Care for Your Carrier 

Carriers were made to be used and loved so don’t let concerns of washing them hold you back. Many carriers are machine washable and dryable, first check the manufacturer’s directions.  Here are some general guidelines that apply to most carriers but not all.  If you’re unsure or hesitant, hand washing and hanging to dry is always safe. 

When machine washing I usually do a small load of a couple wraps and maybe some towels – definitely no zippers which could cause a snag and no jeans or clothing with dye that may bleed.  Always wash with a gentle liquid soap with no optical brighteners.  Powder soap crystals can weaken fibers over time.  Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets with you carriers. 

My second daughter spit up several times a day for 18 months!  I didn't do as much back carrying with her until she grew out of that but I did do a lot of spot washing of my carriers.  My buckle carrier and I wish I had known about strap covers, but even then, spit up has a way of missing burp clothes, bibs and any other protective measures.

*Always check the manufacturer directions for your carriers.  Here is a guide to laundering symbols on tags. 

Wraps and Ring Slings:

Most woven wraps do not come pre-washed or pre-shrunk so they are expected to shrink to their proper size with the first wash and should generally not shrink after that if gently washed and dried according to instructions.

Quick tip: When washing a ring sling in the machine, put a sock over the rings to prevent the rings from clanking around.

Most cotton wraps can be machine washed on gentle in cool water and dried in the machine on the lowest temperature setting.  You can also hang the wrap to dry and then dry it in the dryer on no heat/air fluff to soften up the little bit of stiffness that hang drying can lead to.  Toss in 4-6 100% wool dryer balls to speed up the softening and drying.  Cotton wraps benefit from steam ironing on the cotton setting.

Wool and cashmere wraps should be hand washed and laid flat to dry (hanging can stretch and therefore weaken the fabric).  Prevent felting by using cool water and not agitating the fabric much.  Delicate or wool washes such as Eucalan make it easier with no rinsing needed. Before you lay the wrap flat to dry you can lay it on top of a towel or two and gently roll it up in the towel to squeeze out water.  

Silk wraps should also be hand washed with cool water and hung to dry.

Linen wraps can be machine washed on gentle with low spin as some linen can be prone to thread shifting, bunching and spacing of threads in the fabric.  Linen can be dried in the dryer on low but avoid over drying as that can lead to stiffness. Using wool dryer balls is a great way to not only speed up dry time but help break in the wrap at the same time.  Steam ironing a linen wrap or ring sling will really help to soften it up and help prevent permanent creases.

Hemp wraps can be machine washed and love heat in the dryer. These wraps need a wash or two and some wearing to break in.  Wool dryer balls will really help speed up the breaking in process.

Bamboo wraps should be hand washed, Eucalan or Soap Nuts are good choices, in cold water and laid flat to dry.  Do not use the dryer as bamboo is particularly prone to shrinking.

Mei Tais:

In many cases these carriers can be machine washed and should be hung to dry.  However, some manufacturers want you to hand wash.  

Buckle Carriers:

In most cases a buckle carrier should be hand washed and hung to dry.  Spot washing is a great way to clean up some spit up or dirt without having your carrier out of commission for a day while it dries.