How to Clean the Worst Baby Stains

Babies are messy. It’s a fact.

You probably expected to change a lot (A LOT) of diapers, and you likely anticipated frequent outfit changes. But isn’t it a little shocking how so many gross bodily fluids can come out of something so adorable? (We’re not going to lie, we were a little shocked.) From poop to spit-up, here’s how to tackle the worst baby stains.

Big Blowout

You don’t forget your baby’s first big diaper blowout (as much as you’d like to). To keep the mess contained and avoid spreading poop in your baby’s hair, roll the onsie down over your baby’s shoulders instead of pulling it off over his or her head. After your little one is clean and dry, it’s time to get to work on that dirty onsie.

First, soak and rinse the dirty clothes in cool water. (Don’t let them dry!) Then spot-treat with a stain remover (Try: OxiClean Multi-Purpose Baby Stain Remover Spray) and toss them in the washing machine on warm with a baby-safe laundry detergent. Once your wash is done, make sure the stain is gone before you put clothes in the dryer. (The heat helps set the stain.) If the stain still isn’t gone, repeat the spot-treatment and wash routine.

The Milky Way

Stains from breast milk and formula can be tough. Of course, it’s best to tackle stains quickly but we know laundry isn’t high on the priority list when you have a newborn. If you do get to the stain quickly, wash the item in cool water with a detergent that contains enzymes (Try: Tide Free & Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent). These enzymes help to break down the protein and fat in protein stains like breast milk, formula, and even blood. If the stain has dried, soak the item in cool water with an enzyme detergent for at least 30 minutes. Then give the area a light scrub before machine-washing as normal.

Spit Happens

Babies spit-up a lot in the first few months and it’s likely to hit everyone and everything, at least once. Rinse and soak clothing in cool water before using a stain remover on the affected area. Then wash as you normally would. The stain should come out easily (depending on what baby ate). If it doesn’t, try a colour-safe bleach.

If your baby spit-up on something that won’t fit in the washing machine (for example, the couch, mattress, carpet, etc.), blot the area as soon as possible. Check the care tag on the item to make sure it can be cleaned with water. If so, mix a small amount of dish soap with cool water and blot the area with a sponge. If you can’t use water, blot the stain with vinegar or vodka. Don’t worry; the smell will fade after it dries. PLN Tip: You may not want to splurge on any expensive furniture until the kids are older, like 25. (Just kidding, sort of.)

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Melissa Greer

Melissa Greer

Melissa is a writer, editor and new mom. She lives in Toronto with her husband, daughter and two cats.