The long straps found on mei tai’s on half buckles can be intimidating in the winter months. How to keep them clean?
Personally I just find a clean surface if I can but if I can’t I don’t worry too much. If my straps get dirty I spot clean them or wash the carrier (wash on cold on a delicate cycle – in a laundry bag if you have a top loader). I haven’t had any problems getting the straps clean, even my white strapped carrier, the only stain I couldn’t remove was my fault (don’t give a toddler chocolate while wearing!)
However there are a few other methods you can use to minimize your straps dragging on the ground, most of them simple and easy.
1/ Find something to rest your straps on.
If getting out of the car, lay the straps on a seat, but any clean surface will do, such as a table or chair.
Tie the waist strap on, then hold on to the top straps so they don't drag on the ground.
Then put on one shoulder strap at a time (if doing one at a time, You can control where they go a little better and get it on without it dragging on the ground).
After getting the shoulder straps situated, you can tuck the ends into your waist strap (and/or your pockets). Then grab your baby and untuck one strap at a time. If the straps still come too close to the floor while you are putting the carrier on just untuck/retuck it back in until they are too short to touch the ground.
2/ Pre tie
Put the carrier on before leaving home (with baby inside so you get a good fit), remove the straps off of your shoulders, and take baby out, without untying. Or if you want to tie without baby just tie the the mei tai on you front the way you would if baby were inside, only leave it loose. Leave enough room to slip your baby into the body.
When you get to your destination hold baby up on your shoulder, slide baby down into the body. Make sure to position their legs on either side of the body so that their knees are higher than their bum. You may need to pull up on the top of the carrier to settle them down inside.
When you get to a clean and dry place retie so that the carrier is snug enough and the straps are in a good place, with practice, if you can leave it just loose enough to slip baby in, you might not need to make too many adjustments after.
If you need to take your baby out you don't take the whole thing off every time, just untie or slip the shoulders off and once baby is out, loosely tie the shoulder straps back on so they aren't trailing the ground.
3/ Braided Strap Method
This clever method was shared through Wrapsody’s babywearing hack challenge. Link to the original article. https://wrapsodybaby.com/keep-mei-tai-straps-clean/ . This also works for a back carry.
1. Braid each MT strap (like you would a wrap) leave about 30cm unbraided (just enough so that when you flip the straps over you shoulder you can just reach the end behind your back). You can do this sitting in the car, or before you leave the house 2. Tie MT around your waist (the braided section will no mean the straps are short and not dangling on the ground)
3. Pop baby in MT
4. Flip one MT shoulder strap over your shoulder, reach behind you back with the opposite hand and grab the end.
5. Pull the end to ‘unbraid’ the strap and bring it around and under baby’s bottom as you normally would. Tighten the strap stand by strand if you have wrap straps.
6. Repeat with the other strap and tie off how ever you prefer.
7. Enjoy what ever you planned to do with clean, dry MT shoulder straps!
I love to sew. I have five curious and active kids who keep me busy!