A sponge bath is the best way to clean your baby until the umbilical cord falls off. To give a sponge bath, dip a soft cloth in the warm water and wring out the excess. If needed, a mild soap can be used in the water. Wipe the baby's skin gently starting from the area of the baby's head and work your way down to the rest of the body. Pay special attention to the skin creases and diaper area. Rinse your baby with clean warm water and dry him or her completely.