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How to Get Stains Out of Baby Clothes

Its frustrating isn’t it, you buy a cute baby outfit and then boom, its ruined by a stain caused by your little one. Getting stains out of baby clothes can be a challenge. But most of them can be removed with a bit of TLC, patience, time and resilience. But parents are time poor, multi tasking all the time, and have more than enough to do than spend their precious time getting rid off clothing stains. It’s not as if baby will need the clothes for very long before they outgrow them. Additionally different types of stains requires different treatments – who really has the time to analyse, and provide the required treatment to remove the stain? Unfortunately most of the time the clothes are discarded as soiled, unusable, and will end up in landfill.

Qookeee is a baby clothing rental service and has a vested interest to make sure the stains and spills on our baby clothing are removed. This is because we want our clothing to be kept in tip top condition for every rental. Our concept is to keep our clothes in circulation and reduce the amount of clothing waste going to landfill.

The most common stains on baby clothes

Lets take a look at the common stains that are typically found in baby clothes.

Common stains in baby clothing

There may be a lot to deal with but generally all these stains fall under 3 categories:

  • Protein (food, blood, poo, pee, breast milk, milk formula, reflux, mud, grass)
  • Oils (baby creams, oils)
  • Water (play paint, crayons)

Taking it one step further you then have fresh stains, ingrained stains, and dried old stains. Luckily the advances in detergents, stain removers and high efficiency washing machines help to make it easier to remove stains with a bit of effort!

Getting rid of stains out of baby clothes

With all stains the easiest way to get rid of the stain is the deal with them as early as possible.

Organic matter make up protein stains. Liquid detergents with enzymes are the most effective at breaking down the protein to disperse the stain. Oils and water based stains need to be treated differently. Dried, hardened stains will be tougher to remove, so repeating the cleaning process a few times may be needed to see a result. Here are the tools to you’ll need to get the job done:

  • Soft bristle brush like a toothbrush.
  • Blunt utensil, like a spoon, or palette knife.
  • Small bowl for making a paste.
  • Bucket for soaking clothes.
  • Enzyme detergent, such as Persil Bio. (Do not use on wools)
  • Stain removal powder, such as Vanish Oxi Advance. (Do not use on wools)
  • Washing up liquid, such as Fairy Liquid.

Getting protein stains out of baby clothes

Protein stains – such as food, breast milk, milk formula, reflux.

  • Soak in cold water, as early as possible. Ideally overnight or for a few hours.
  • This helps soften and dilute the stain in the fabric which will help ease it out of the fabric, and come out in the wash.
  • After a few hours or the next day, rub a liquid detergent with enzymes, like Persil Bio, directly on to the stained area.
  • Or use a stain remover powder like Vanish Oxi Advance, making it into a paste first by adding water and then rub into the stained area.
  • Leave for 5 minutes.
  • Wash the baby clothes with similar colour clothes at 30 degrees and include an cold pre rinse cycle in the wash.
Baby drinking milk
Baby with a cut elbow


  • If the blood stains are fresh, try and flush out the stain by holding the stained area under cold running water.
  • If this doesn’t shift the stain soak the clothing in cold water for 30 minutes.
  • Rub in an enzyme laundry detergent directly on the stain.
  • Wash at 30 degrees with an enzyme detergent with an extra rinse cycle.
  • For dried on blood, soak the clothing in a solution of Vanish Oxi Advance and cold water (follow the instructions on the packaging).
  • Rub an enzyme detergent into the stain on both sides of the fabric.
  • Rinse under cold water and repeat until the stain has started to fade.


  • If the mud is wet, leave it to dry, trying to remove wet mud will cause a bigger stain.
  • When the mud has dried try removing it by scraping off the mud with a blunt utensil like a spoon or palette knife.
  • Use a soft bristle brush, like a toothbrush, to brush off the dried mud, then shake, to dislodge it from the fabric.
  • Add some washing up liquid and cool water directly onto the stain and rub gently to lather up.
  • Rinse, and check, and repeat if still there.
  • For stubborn mud stains pre treat the fabric by soaking the baby clothes in a lukewarm solution of Vanish Oxi Advance and water, and leave for a few hours. (Follow the instructions on the container).
  • Wash at 30 degrees and include a cold pre rinse in the cycle.
A toddler getting their clothes muddy
Baby crawling on grass


  • Add an enzyme detergent, directly onto the grass stain and rub into the stain.
  • Leave for 15 minutes.
  • Wash at 30 degrees, with an extra rinse cycle.


  • Deposit any solids down the toilet, and run the clothes under a cold water tap to remove any particles.
  • Add a bit of washing up liquid directly on the stain and rub into a lather, rinse and check.
  • Repeat if needed.
  • For a stubborn stain, pre treat the stain with detergent like Persil Bio and rub into the stain.
  • Leave for 15 minutes.
  • Wash with an enzyme detergent at 30 degrees with an extra rinse cycle.
A baby having their nappy changed
Baby wetting themselves


  • Rinse the clothes in cold water and put in a 30 degree wash cycle with an enzyme detergent.
  • For a dried pee stain, soak the baby clothes in a cold solution of Vanish Oxi Advance and water, and leave for a few hours. (Follow the instructions on the container).
  • Wash in a 30 degree wash cycle with an enzyme detergent with an extra rinse cycle.

Getting oily stains out of baby clothes

Oily stains – baby creams, oils

  • Add detergent directly on the stain and rub in gently.
  • Leave for 15 minutes.
  • Wash in a 30 degree wash cycle and air dry.
Baby being oiled

Getting water based stains out of baby clothes

Baby painting

Water based stains – paints, crayons

  • Remove as much of the paint or crayon as you can by scraping with a blunt utensil like a spoon or palette knife.
  • Mix a drop or two of washing up liquid with cold water, rub gently into the stain.
  • Wash in a 30 degree wash cycle with detergent – this does not have to be an enzyme detergent.

Top tips for removing stains from babywear

  • Prevention is better than cure! Use bibs when feeding your baby. BPA free ones are best with a crumb catcher to scoop up all those dribbles and spews.
  • Alternatively an old T-shirt or a naked baby would also help keep away stains on your baby clothes.
  • If you do have baby clothes with stubborn stains that you can’t shift, use them as layering pieces.
  • Drying clothes in sunshine is a great way of bleaching out stains on light coloured clothing. On coloureds its better to dry in indirect sunlight otherwise you may end up with a variation in colour where the sunlight has bleached out parts of the clothing.
  • For those really caked on stains, that you can physically see coating the fabric, your freezer is your secret weapon! Fold up the clothes, put them in a sealed airtight container and pop them in the freezer overnight. The next day, gently scrape away at the caked on stain with the edge of a spoon and see that stain crumble away! Oh and by the way, your clothes are not frozen stiff when you remove them from the freezer, and they are free of any germs as they will be killed off in the deep freeze!
  • Never put stained clothes in a dryer, the heat will set the stain and make it very difficult to remove.
  • ALWAYS follow the instructions on the detergent container and care label.
  • Not all stain removal techniques are suitable for all fabrics eg Wools, Coated Fabrics such as Waterproof baby clothes. If in doubt leave it to the professionals!