When you open the iconic Didymos blue box and take out your brand new wrap, the first thing you may want to do is try it on and take a selfie. Many new wrappers ask if they need to wash the wrap first. Didymos has always held that their wraps do not need to be washed prior to wearing, stating on their washing instructions page, “There is no need to wash your wrap or sling before using it unless you want the wrap fabric to be softer right from the start.” However, there is some debate in the babywearing community on whether a wrap, in particular a Didymos wrap, needs to be washed before wearing. We will explore the factors concerning washing a wrap below.
Didymos wraps are shipped to you in what is known as loom state. Loomstate refers to a woven textile that has not been finished. There are myriad methods of textile finishing in general, but wet finishing is the process that applies to woven textile baby wraps. Didymos dyes their yarn prior to weaving the fabric, enabling multi-coloured fabric that is not printed and is thus of higher quality. The fact that the woven cloth itself is not dyed after being woven means that prior to washing, the fabric is not wet finished.
Wet finishing by washing fulls the yarn, which fluffs up the fiber and locks it in place. Some say that washing improves the safety of the wrap by reducing the propensity for thread shifting, which can, in theory, compromise the integrity of the carrier. However, we have never heard of an issue or incident resulting from thread shifting. The wet finishing process is particularly crucial for hand woven fabric, which has a looser weave structure than machine woven fabric like Didymos wraps. The rise of popularity of handwoven wraps in the Babywearing community coincided with an increased usage of the term loom state as well as staunch advisements to always wash a wrap prior to wearing. Some of Didymos’ classic weave patterns like Indio and Old Standard are dobby weaves, which are loose and more prone to thread shifting than the tighter jacquard weave patterns, so regarding thread shifting, washing before wearing can only help. Furthermore, prior to washing, the unfulled yarn can be flat and stiff. Washing greatly improves the drape and hand of the fabric.
While fulling the yarn has its advantages, does that mean that you absolutely must wash your wrap before even wrapping once? There are companies that would say yes. Manufacturing mainstream textiles can be a chemically-intensive process. From pesticides and chemical defoliants in the raw cotton to chemical and petroleum-based slashing agents used to reduce warp breakage in weaving, many of the residues found on typical fabric is not something that you would want touching your baby’s skin—or your own, for that matter. However, Didymos sources only kbA (controlled organic farm) cotton from sustainable regions so that it is grown without pesticides and herbicides. It is exclusively hand-harvested to avoid the use of chemical defoliants. And the loom is slashed only with potato starch.
With regard to being hypoallergenic and toxin-free, Didymos differs from many other woven baby wraps in that it is truly safe for wrapping your baby straight from the box. So go ahead and post your selfie, and be sure to tag #littlezenone. Then, give your wrap a wash to tighten the fibers, improve the hand and wrapping qualities, and maximize its super-soft organic potential.
Looking for Washing Instructions? Click here.