Having kids and a dog with no sense of boundaries, I’ve found poop outside the toilet has become weirdly intrinsic to my life in recent years. While I’ve come to manage the occasional stain with patience and poise, poopy bed sheets still bug me to this day. When I’m already tired and trying to get everyone ready for the morning, finding poop in my toddler’s sheet completely screws up my routine and crushes my mood.

It hasn’t gotten any less aggravating over the years. But removing stains from bed sheets has become easier as I’ve gained experience. While the complexity of feces stains can make them seem challenging, a few straightforward steps will make them vanish completely. For fresh-smelling, stain-free bedding, follow this easy guide on how to get poop stains out of sheets.

How To Remove Poop Stains from Sheets

Cleaning poop stains from bed sheets is simple in the washing machine. Pre-treat the stain with dish soap or a commercial pre-treatment spray, and launder in cold or warm water with an enzyme cleaner. Always check the sheet before drying to avoid making the stain permanent. Here’s a more detailed look at the process.

Step 1: Scrape Off Large Poop Chunks

Before applying a wet cleaning solution, pick off the large poop chunks with a paper towel or baby wipe. A dull knife or credit card can lift a thick smear, but you must ensure you only scoop and pick at it instead of spreading the poop stain further across the sheets. Discard the paper towels in a plastic bag, and toss them in the trash.

Step 2: Rinse the Poop

Rinse the poop stain in cold running water to remove excess feces on the sheet. Take the sheet off the bed, and wad it up, isolating the stained section away from the rest of the fabric. In the bathtub, run cold water over the stain or through the backside of the cloth. 

Gently loosen the excess poop with your fingers (rubber gloves are a good idea). Soft poop will stick like peanut butter in the fibers, so cleaning it out can take a little work. The goal is to thin the poop layer until only a stain remains.

Step 3: Pre-Treat the Stain

With most of the poop gone, you can start the stain-removal process. I typically use blue liquid dish soap like Dawn for convenience, rubbing a few drops with water into the feces stains before washing. 

Alternatively, you can use spot treatment formulas, including:

Let the stain remover sit for about five minutes before laundering. Carefully read the product instructions, as many pre-treatments can damage wool, silk, and other delicate fabrics.

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.

DIY Poop Stain Pre-Treatment

If you prefer a more natural, DIY approach, my recommendation is to use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda because they work well together for dealing with protein-based stains. Follow these steps:

  1. Combine one cup of hydrogen peroxide, two tablespoons of baking soda, and 2–3 drops of dish soap in a bowl
  2. Mix the ingredients into a goopy paste
  3. Apply the paste to the poop stain, and let it sit for about an hour
  4. Rinse the paste off the stained area with cool water before laundering the sheet

Note: Always check the manufacturer’s label on the sheets and the pre-treatment product before using any cleaning solution to ensure it won’t damage or discolor the fabric.

Step 4: Wash in Warm or Cold Water

After applying the pre-treatment, wash your sheets in warm or cool water to remove poop stains. Protein-based stains, like poop, can set under high temperatures. While this is more of a concern in the dryer than the washing machine, I prefer not to take any chances and generally still get good results with cooler water.

Use Enzyme Detergents

Poop contains massive amounts of bacteria alongside various proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and other organic compounds. To thoroughly remove this mish-mash of ingredients, I recommend an enzyme-based laundry detergent, like Seventh Generation Free & Clear

Active enzymes target individual components that contribute to stains and their odors. They can effectively eliminate poop stains in sheets while working in a safer, more eco-friendly detergent solution than aggressive synthetic laundry products.

Another nice aspect of using enzyme laundry detergents is that they work in colder wash temperatures. Enzymes like lipase reach their peak performance in cold or warm water temperatures between roughly 85°F–100°F, with hot water often deactivating them. That’s perfect for a poop stain that may set under high heat, giving you more reasons to choose a cold water wash.

Step 5: Sun Dry the Sheet

Sun drying your sheets offers a few benefits over the dryer in finishing off the stain removal process. Direct UV light can disinfect and lighten lingering stains, and you don’t have to waste electricity on a dryer cycle. Leave your sheet to dry in a breezy, sunny spot. After an hour or two, you should return to find the sheet refreshed and stain-free. 

Warning! Do not put your sheet in the dryer before the stain disappears entirely. Heat drying will set it, so always check the sheet when it comes out of the washing machine. If there’s a lingering spot, take additional steps to treat the stain before re-washing.

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Does OxiClean Work on Poop Stains?

Oxygen bleach is amazing for all kinds of stains and is one of my first choices in treating stains that won’t come out in the washing machine. OxiClean uses sodium carbonate, sodium percarbonate, and surfactants to break down and lift dirt while brightening clothes. It’s eco-safe, easy to use, and highly effective in deodorizing and removing poop stains on carpets, couches, and clothing.

Dissolve OxiClean in a bowl of warm water according to the directions. Let the stained section of fabric soak in the solution for an hour or longer, checking occasionally to see how the spot is lifting. After soaking, wash the sheet as you normally would.

Note: The sheet will wick the solution as it sits, so ensure the entire sheet is in the bowl and not hanging out on the floor or countertop. Otherwise, you’ll come back in an hour and find water all over the place.

Fun Fact: You can make sodium carbonate, aka washing soda, at home with baking soda. Sodium carbonate is a much more aggressive cleaner than sodium bicarbonate, making it an effective stain remover when dissolved in water. It does demand a few safety precautions during use, as it has a high pH and can be irritating if you inhale it or get it on your skin.

Sodium percarbonate, the active ingredient in OxiClean, is an unseparated sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. It activates in warm water as the crystals release the two cleaning compounds. By mixing your homemade sodium carbonate with hydrogen peroxide and a little Dawn dish soap, you can make a poor man’s oxygen bleach! 

Granted, that’s a lot of work for removing poop stains one time. But with so many practical uses for washing soda around the house, a savvy penny-pinching DIYer can get a lot of utility from keeping it on hand.

Do Poop Stains Come Out in the Washer?

Poop-stained sheets should become clean in the washer when you use an effective liquid detergent or laundry pod and appropriate pre-treatment. As a washing machine additive, chlorine bleach is excellent at removing stains and disinfecting white sheets. For poop stains on colored sheets, use oxygen bleach. Always follow the product directions for measurements, and avoid using any bleach product on delicate fabrics like wool, silk, or leather.

Does Dawn Remove Poop Stains?

Scrubbing with Dawn is my first pre-treatment solution for almost any stain. I’ve found that if it doesn’t remove the stain entirely, it at least makes an effective pre-treatment that will keep poop stains from setting if you can’t wash the bed sheet immediately. And it doesn’t have to be Dawn. Any mild dish liquid can work as a pre-treatment, though you may want to double-check the ingredients to ensure it doesn’t have any bleaching agents.

Can Hydrogen Peroxide Remove Baby Poop Stains?

Hydrogen peroxide is an effective oxidizer that can safely break down and get rid of poop stains in numerous places, whether it’s some baby poop in the sheets or dog diarrhea on the rug. When you mix hydrogen peroxide with baking soda and liquid dishwashing detergent, it can create a potent mixture of oxidizers, surfactants, and odor absorbers in a laundry pre-treatment paste.

Does Soaking in OxiClean Remove Stains?

OxiClean will remove feces stains if you dissolve it in warm water and let the sheet sit in it for at least 30 minutes. Depending on the severity of the poop stain, you may need to soak your sheets for a couple of hours.

Does Poop Wash Out of Bedding?

Poop washes out of bedding with relative ease if you wash it as quickly as possible and use a quality enzyme detergent. A pre-treatment is a vital part of the process, as poop contains a complex arrangement of stain-producing ingredients that can take some extra muscle to get out.

Will Poop Stains Come Out of Sheets?

Poop stains and odors will come out of sheets when you show urgency and use the stain removal techniques outlined here. Disinfection is one addition I might encourage if the poop stain occurred because someone (or your pet) was sick. You may need to do an extra wash with chlorine bleach or hot water to kill the remaining germs, but only use heat when you know the stain is gone.


Noah Hoit