Did the baby have their first blowout? Congratulations! You’ve experienced only the first of many diverse yet equally disgusting poops that will fill your child’s onesie and your worst nightmares for years! Your baby will attack their clothes with food, drinks, dirt, and all kinds of messy materials, but few are more troublesome or nausea-inducing than a baby poop stain.
I’ve dealt with plenty of poop marks across onesies, outfits, cloth diapers, and underwear, picking up some tricks and learning from my mistakes along the way. If you’re trying to maintain your baby’s best outfit after an accident, we’ll explain how to get poop stains out of baby clothes to make them last.
How to Clean Poop from Baby Clothes
1. Rinse the Stain or Dab with a Baby Wipe
Rinse the backside of the affected area with cold water to flush out the stain. Work the stain with your hands if needed to get all of the poop solids out.
You can also remove solids and some of the liquid from a fresh stain with a baby wipe. Moistening the poop stain keeps it easier to remove when you can get it to the washing machine.
Lots of Baby Poop Stains? Get a Toilet Sprayer
A toilet sprayer attachment is critical if you’re doing cloth diapers, but I even left mine hooked up during potty training. It makes all the difference in managing the occasional pair of poopy underwear. You’ll get a lot out and be more successful when you wash the clothes.
2. Pre-Treat the Stain
Poop can create relatively tough stains, so I always pre-treat them before tossing clothes in the washing machine. In most instances, I’ll tackle poop stains with mild dish soap.
Add a few drops of dish soap to the poop-stained area. Saturate with warm water, and rub it in. You can also scrub carefully with a soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush to pick out even more poop. Let the soap sit for 10–15 minutes, and rinse with cold water.
Hydrogen Peroxide Pretreatment
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the best fixes for protein-based marks like blood stains, vomit, and feces. Standard 3% peroxide can remove stains, deodorize, and kill bacteria and viruses, a huge benefit when your child is sick. Here’s how you can put it to work on baby poop:
- Mix hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of dish soap in a bowl
- Apply the solution to the poop stain, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes (let it sit longer for tougher stains)
- Rinse the cleaner from the poop stain with cold water before throwing the baby clothes in the washing machine
Tip: For more stain-removing and deodorizing power, add baking soda or washing soda to make a thin paste. Spread the paste on the stain, and let it sit for about an hour before rinsing with cold water.
Commercial Pretreatment Options
You can use a commercial pretreatment solution for poop stains, but don’t forget your baby’s sensitive skin. Try a free and clear formula like Shout Free. Follow the manufacturer’s directions, allowing for the proper dwell time and ensuring it works with your fabric type.
3. Wash the Baby Clothes in Cold or Warm Water
Washing baby clothes in hot water is harder on the fabric and leaves the risk of setting a poop stain. For the initial wash after pre-treating, wash your baby’s clothes in cold or warm water.
Tip: Add an extra rinse cycle to the load to remove every trace of detergent and stain pretreatment, ensuring the clothes won’t irritate your baby’s skin.
4. Add Disinfecting Agent (Optional)
A cold water wash cycle with mild detergent generally won’t kill all the pathogens in poop stains. Germ inactivation typically doesn’t begin until wash temperatures reach roughly about 105°F. Hydrogen peroxide is a handy disinfectant in a DIY pretreatment, but you can also simplify matters with laundry sanitizers.
Products like Lysol Laundry Sanitizer eliminate germs in any wash temperature. They don’t remove stains, and you won’t need them for every load, but they’re excellent laundry room additions as the germ-busting, deodorizing boost you need for extra-nasty baby clothes.
5. Air Dry the Clothes
If a faint stain remains on white clothing after washing, dry the stained section in direct sunlight for a few hours. Laying my cloth diapers in the sun was almost always the answer for tough poop marks. The natural bleaching effect and disinfecting power of the UV rays are perfect for gently working out that last bit of staining.
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How Do You Get Old Poop Stains Out of Clothes?
A pretreatment is usually needed to get old poop stains out of baby clothes, as the longer you let them set and dry into the fibers, the more challenging they’ll be to remove. If the first wash doesn’t remove the stain, I’ll usually try an oxygen bleach soak for a few hours. You can also add borax, oxygen bleach, or chlorine bleach (for white clothes) to a long laundry load to give the machine another crack at removing the stain.
Tips to Prevent Poop Stains
What’s the best way to keep baby poop stains from ruining your infant’s clothes? Stop them from happening! While you can’t avoid every blowout, here are a few tips for reducing poop stains moving forward:
- Keep the proper fit – waistband pulled to the belly button and leg cuffs pulled outward
- Try a different diaper brand if you’re dealing with frequent blowouts
- Change the diaper more frequently, about every 2–3 hours
- Ensure your baby’s clothes aren’t too tight and affecting the diaper fit
- Use a cloth diaper shell over the disposable diaper
Protect Cloth Diapers with Fleece Liners
Washable, reusable fleece liners stop baby poop stains from reaching the diaper. You can buy liners online, but they’re also easy (and cheaper) to make from fleece fabric scraps. Cut them to size, and you’re all set!
How Do You Get Newborn Poop Out of Clothes?
A newborn’s meconium stools usually don’t last past the first day in the hospital, but that’s enough time to stain your clothes. Fortunately, these stains wash out easily. If you let them sit before washing, pre-treat the stain with a commercial product or hydrogen peroxide.
Is Borax Safe for Baby Laundry?
Borax (aka sodium borate) is an effective booster for softening water, disinfecting, and removing odors and stains in the wash. It can irritate the skin with prolonged direct contact, but with thorough rinsing, it shouldn’t affect your baby.
Is Cleaning with Baking Soda Safe for Babies?
Cleaning with baking soda in the pretreatment phase or washing machine is completely safe for baby clothes. It deodorizes stinky fabric and softens water to improve your laundry detergent’s stain-removing ability.
Does OxiClean Remove Baby Poop Stains?
OxiClean is a massive help with baby poop stains before the clothes hit the wash. Dissolve it in warm water according to the package directions, and soak the clothes. It may take a while, especially for old stains, but you should see a significant difference.
Does Vinegar Remove Baby Poop Stains?
Vinegar helps in the laundry machine as a water softener and deodorizer but isn’t the most effective at lifting poop stains by itself. Among natural stain removers for poop stains, I’d recommend starting with lemon juice. After spraying the area to remove excess poop, apply a few drops of lemon juice before letting it bleach out in the sun.
What Is the Best Natural Stain Remover for Baby Poop?
Hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, and sunshine are the best natural stain removers to lean on when you need something baby-safe and efficient in keeping your child’s outfits wearable. After rinsing the poop stain well with cold water, use an all-natural pretreatment on clothes or cloth diapers. Finish with the disinfectant and bleaching power of UV rays by drying in the sun.
Can Poop Stains Be Removed?
There’s no avoiding the occasional baby poop that escapes the diaper. We can only hope for minimal damage and effective cleaners to keep the clothes in the lineup. You won’t want to throw away seldom-worn articles, nor will you enjoy passing on a poop-stained outfit when your baby grows up.
With pretreatments like Shout Free, hydrogen peroxide, and lemon juice, you have more than enough solutions to get baby poop out of clothes while keeping your kids comfortable. When your baby has an accident, remembering to rinse the stain immediately and keep it out of the dryer will ensure there’s always a chance of removing it.