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What are muslin squares and what are they used for?

Polar bear muslin square with baby lying on top

Pictured: our polar bear large muslin cloth (also available in a small muslin square)


If you or someone you love is expecting and you've been searching for useful baby items, then you've no doubt come across muslin cloths and squares. But what are they for? And why are they such an essential item for new parents? Read more to find out.

What is muslin? 

Muslin is a type of fabric with a large open weave, and is traditionally cotton. It's soft, breathable and durable and so perfect for sensitive little wolf skin. Whilst muslin cloth is traditionally made from 100% cotton, manufacturers do produce muslin in slightly different formats to enhance its use, such as a bamboo viscose and cotton blend to make the cloth much softer for sensitive skin.

What are muslin cloths used for?

Muslin cloths can be used for just about anything baby related. Baby vommed down your top?  Wipe it up with a muslin cloth. Baby pooed on your mother in law's rug?  Dab that damage with a muslin cloth. Baby clothes enjoying that chocolate cake more than baby? Use a muslin cloth as an impromptu bib. Ypu get the picture. For a full list of all the ways muslin cloths can make your life as a new parent easier, check out our blog on muslin squares uses.

What do muslin cloths do? 

Muslin cloths can be used to do a lot of things. As they're constructed with an open weave, they're super absorbent and so are particularly good at mopping up sick, spills, saliva or any other bodily fluids that baby sends your way. Muslin cloths are also lightweight and breathable, so they're safe to use as a light blanket, comforter or pram cover for a sunny day. . 

What is bamboo muslin? 

Bamboo muslin is a type of muslin cloth which contains bamboo viscose.  Bamboo viscose is more absorbent than cotton, so it is even better at absorbing those spills. It's also a softer material, so it's perfect for baby products and it's rumoured to be naturally antibacterial too. However, bamboo viscose fibres aren't as strong as cotton and so bamboo viscose is often blended with cotton to improve it's strength and durability. 

What are muslin squares? 

Muslin squares are just another name for muslin cloths. Sometimes muslin squares are used to describe slightly smaller cuts of muslin cloth, which are handy for mopping up spills or if baby possets after a feed. Due to their smaller size, they can be easily tucked under the little bubs chin to protect clothes from a bottle feed.

What are muslin squares used for? 

Muslin squares have tonnes of uses, including:

  • Sick bib
  • Burping cloth
  • Breastfeeding cover
  • Pram cover
  • Swaddle blanket
  • Light blanket
  • Picnic blanket
  • Clothing cover
  • And so much more

For more weird and wonderful ways to use muslin cloths, check out our blog on muslin squares uses.

Why do you need muslin squares for babies? 

A muslin square is a small cloth that you can use to clean up sick, mop up spills and wipe away milk after your baby has fed. Muslin squares are great for lying over your shoulder when you're winding your baby to stop your clothes from getting splattered with sick. Because of their lightweight fabric, they're easy to grab and use on the go and are kinder on sensitive skin than baby wipes, so they're an essential item for life with a newborn.

For such tiny humans, babies manage to make a lot of mess. Particularly the milky-vom variety. They also have a tendency to wee just as the nappy is whipped off. So, trust us when we say that it's always good to have a muslin square handy for those times you're caught off guard.

How many muslin squares do I need? 

Some mums on Mumsnet say 9 is enough whereas NetMums argue 6 should suffice, whereas Mother & Baby writers say you can never have too many. The question really is, how much washing do you want to do? If your little wolf is feeding and being burped a lot throughout the day, then that's a lot of times you'll need to mop up sick and spills, and once your muslin cloth has been used to do this, it needs to go in the wash. So, that's a lot of washing with if you just have a small selection of muslin squares to hand.

What size are muslin squares?

Muslin squares typically come in two sizes. Small muslin squares, which are 60cm x 60cm, and large muslin cloths, which are 120cm x 120cm. However, sizes can vary, so it's best to check with the retailer or manufacturer for their muslin square sizes.

Do I need to wash muslin squares? 

Does a baby poo? The answer is yes to both. Yes, you do need to wash muslin squares. Whilst some fabrics may have antibacterial qualities, muslin squares still need to be washed, especially if they've been used to mop up sick, spills and saliva. We recommend washing your muslin squares on a cold wash before their first use, and then after that wash at 40 degrees max. Make sure you check your washing load doesn't contain any sharp items such as zips or studs, as this can snag the material. 

Got any other questions about muslin squares? Let us know in the comments below and our experts will answer.

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