Getting Rid of Stains on Baby Clothes

I have been doing a lot of research on how to get rid of old and set in stains for some of the items I've purchased and been given. A lot of the clothes that have some stains have a lot of "life" left in them and are very cute - except for those pesky yellowish stains around the collar or brown spots. Most of them seem like old formula stains, some who knows!

So here are a few places I've found suggestions and a summary of the suggestions which may be helpful to someone else in the same situation some day!

  • How to Get Stains Out of Baby Clothes:
    1. Pour 1 cup of powdered Clorox 2 and 1 cup of Cascade dishwashing detergent into a pail, bucket or other container large enough for the stained item. Add VERY hot water and stir until Clorox 2 and Cascade seem to be dissolved. 
    2. Add the item and soak from a couple hours to overnight (depends on how set in the stain is). 
    3. Wring out the item, and launder as usual.

  • How to Remove Formula Stains From Baby Clothes
    • Soak the item in cold water before you treat the stain. This makes the product that you use more effective and get some of the residue off of the clothing.
    • Use an "oxygen bleach" product containing sodium percarbonate to treat the stain. Use the solution to pre-treat the formula stain or simply add it to the baby's wash.
    • Put lemon juice on white clothing. Since many mothers choose not to use bleach on a baby's clothing, you need a natural bleaching substance like lemon juice. Spritz the juice on the stain and let it sit for some time in the sun.
    • Place meat tenderizer on the stain. Oddly enough, meat tenderizer and water mixed together removes formula stains from baby clothes.
    • Set your washing machine to the pre-wash cycle. This cycle is used to get out extra stains.

  • Baby Food Stains and How to Get Rid Of Them
    • Often times a liquid detergent will help in removing the baby food stain. Simply put the detergent directly on the stain and let it sit. The worse the stain is, the longer you will want to leave the detergent on. After the detergent has set a while on the stain, rub the detergent into the stain. Afterwards, rinse the garment completely. If the stain is completely gone, you can then launder it like normal.
    • Another method you can try for removing baby food stains is to lather the stain with shaving cream. You can put the shaving cream directly on the stain and let it soak for approximately 30-60 minutes. You will want to make sure that you use foamy shaving cream instead of the gel shaving cream. After the shaving cream has set for a while, rub the stained area and then rinse. If the stain is completely gone, you can then wash the clothing like normal. If the stain is still there, you can repeat the above steps in order to completely remove the stain.
    • Hydrogen peroxide and water can be mixed together to help remove baby food stains. Use 50 percent water and 50 percent hydrogen peroxide. Spray the mixture on the stain and let it stand for approximately 30 minutes. You will then want to rinse the stain with a mixture of 50 percent water and 50 percent vinegar. After the garment is completely rinsed, you can then launder as normal.
    • There are a variety of store products that work great on baby food stains. You can pre-treat the stains with either Shout or Zout. You can then let the garment sit for a while and then launder as normal. that may not be removed during a regular wash cycle.

  • Tips For Removing Yellow Stains From Clothing and Other Fabric (a collection of reader suggestions)
    • Make a solution of warm water and OxiClean in a clean bucker. Add in the stained clothes. Soak for a few hours and run through a regular wash cycle, then dry (after checking to make sure stains have been removed).
    • Hydrogen peroxide works well for stains.
    • Baking soda toothpaste rubbed into the stain, then soaked in hydrogen peroxide, followed by regular laundering.
    • Fill a sink, large bowl, or bucket with warm water and a small amount of detergent and a large (up to three times recommended amount) of Biz. Mix well and allow stained item to soak for up to several days. If water gets dirty, pour it out and start again. After soaking and ensuring stain is removed, rinse well and launder as per garment instructions.

  • BabyCenter Community Responses: Removing Old Yellow Stains from Baby Clothes
    • Mix OxiClean with All Free and Clear Detergent and let the items soak in hot water. After rinsing, if there's still a stain, make a paste of the OxiClean and Detergent and apply directly to the stain. Allow to soak, then launder and check again before drying.
    • Wash in Tide and OxiClean.
    • Add 1 cup of dishwasher powder (such as Cascade) to your laundry load.
    • Soak in Biz.
    • Use OxiClean powder in sink - scrub into the stain with a brush and let soak for hours. Wash in Dreft after.
    • Use dishsoap to pre-treat stains, then launder.
    • FELS bar soap - shred a little into the wash and let it soak.
    • Fill the tub of a washing machine with water and add a Tide rapid release tablet. Add some Mean Green, and regular detergent. Let soak overnight.
    • 1 part vinegar to 12 parts water and soak stained items overnight.
    • Wash with OxiClean and then dry in the sun.
    • Treat stains with Resolve Orange Stick, let sit for a couple of days.
    • Wet stained items and lay in the sun to dry.
    • Use OxiClean gel stick on the stains and allow to set for at least 24 hours.
    • Resolve Spray & Wash or Resolve Spray & Wash Max to treat stains. Allow really bad stains to soak for an hour or two. Dry stained items in the sun.

  • Stain Removal
    • HOT WATER (enough to fill a big, clear plastic tub) , equal parts (about a cup of each) BIZ and the blue DAWN LIQUID DISH DETERGENT. I use a wooden spoon to mix the clothes around.
    • I throw all the stained clothes into the tub of hot water ( make sure the clothes are all the same color, don’t mix colors and whites) and let it sit for a couple days. if the stains are still there, I leave them in the water up to a week. then I dump the entire tub of clothes and soapy water into the washer. If there’s still stains, I repeat the process. (THIS FORMULA IS VERY SLIMY SO WEAR GLOVES)

Based on what I had in my house, what I'd already tried, and my curiosity to see if it would work - I opted to try a big, clean tub, filled half full with hot water, and I mixed in 1 full scoop of OxiClean powder with about half a capful of Dreft detergent. I mixed those together until mostly dissolved and threw in about 20 or so items of clothing with various stains on them - most with milk stains around the collar / shoulder areas, a few with other random spots on the fabric. I put this the basement and allowed to soak for 24 hours before checking anything. When I pulled items out of the tub to check, I was having a hard time finding any of those spots and stains I'd thrown them in the tub to soak for! I did find one white dress with a black flower where the flower had actually bled a little onto the white of the dress from soaking in the mixture, so I pulled that one out and sprayed the discolored area with resolve spray remover and let that soak a little while I worked on the rest of the clothes. Of about 25 items that went into the tub, only three came out with stains that I could still see! One had a lot of brownish discoloration around the collar / chest area, one has a pesky brown stain at the top of the collar, and the other is that white dress - and I think that the OxiClean did get out the stains I put it in to soak for, but caused that black fabric to bleed which is a new spot. I am pretty sure I'll be able to get that one out easily enough though, even if it takes more localized spot treatment to make sure I don't have the color bleeding issue again. I got an OxiClean gel stick and am going to try that next on the ones that still had some notable stains on them. I'll pretreat those tonight and see what happens.


I picked up some Biz and a few other items (like spray Resolve and OxiClean Gel Pen) yesterday and so last night, after my success with the OxiClean experiment, I decided to give the Biz powder a try. There are a lot of success stories using it! I pulled out items I had already previously spot treated with Shout and washed, and didn't have success in getting stain free enough to use; probably 40-50 pieces of baby clothing! I added 2 full scoops of Biz along with 1/2 a capful of Dreft to hot water and stirred to dissolve then added the clothing and more water to cover. I stirred it all up with a big wooden spoon (baby clothes soup!) and am leaving that to sit for 24 hours and will check things tonight and see if it needs another night before washing. Some of the items in there really looked ruined - like they'd gotten mold or something similar on them and had it washed and dried in. I am VERY curious to see if the Biz powder is able to make a dent in those!!

So after 24 hours, the Biz had removed pretty much all of the "minor" stains - on about half of the items I added to the pre-soak. I wrung those ones out and ran them through the wash with some Dreft and a little more Biz and was really pretty impressed with how much better they looked! The more severely stained items got wrung out and put back in some fresh water mixed with Biz (the water was pretty gross looking!) I'm leaving that for another 24 hours, and will check again. A couple of the pieces might need another couple days - a couple had what looked like mold stains that had been washed and dried into them without being treated when they were "fresh". I'll probably have to try scrubbing in a paste onto those ones to see if that might help. Even though all of the items I'm trying to clean at this point are items I'm planning to sell or donate, it's become a challenge to me - to see what it takes to get them looking as good as possible again!


I am now at day 2 1/2 past putting some pretty severely stained items in the bucket of water and Biz to soak. This morning I pulled items out and checked them over - about 5 of them were ready to be washed and dried. The rest I took a paste of OxiClean and water to and scrubbed it into the stains using a toothbrush, then folded the item over and put it back in the soak bucket. The water has gotten pretty dirty again, so I'm going to check everything this evening and see if it needs another day. If so, I'll dump the dirty water and put some fresh water in there with the powder and give it some more time. I'm coming to the conclusion that there really isn't much of anything this stuff can't get it - it might just be a matter of giving it enough time to do it's thing. I can't believe how successful the Biz and OxiClean have been so far on items I thought were just going to have to be used for "around the house" type things - it's amazing how much it's gotten out so far!

Of the two items that looked like they had mold stains, one is almost completely stain free - the other it doesn't look like it's had much effect on yet - we'll see how long that one has to stay in a soak and if it ever is able to actually make a dent in them. I figure at this point the clothing articles aren't really that usable anyway, so it's worth a shot to see what will happen using the stain remover!

I've also used some of the OxiClean paste on an old, set in reddish stain on the carpet and am curious to see if it will be able to remove some of that old stain! I'm on a stain removing mission this weekend!


So as of this morning all I have left in the pre-soak bucket is about 6 or 7 of the items that were the most severely stained. There are a couple onesies and 2 dresses that had bad brownish staining around the collars. All of them look a LOT better, but still have stains so I refreshed the water last night (dumped the old and put new hot water and more Biz in the bucket before adding the items back in) and am letting them sit probably another day or two. About 5 of the items were ready to be washed this morning - little by little the pre-soak continues to work and do it's magic! The OxiClean paste worked really well on the stain on the carpet - we let it sit on the stain for about half of the day and then used our spot carpet cleaner to get it up and vacuumed up the rest of the loose OxiClean powder. This morning I could feel there was still some powder in the carpet, so we sprayed it down a little and blotted that but I'll probably run my steam vac over it to make sure to get it all the way out. The red is essentially gone. The difference is very impressive and I'm pretty sure I'll be using that again on other set in stains in the carpet! Thanks to 5 dogs and red Georgia clay we have a few!


Last update - just wanted to show a BEFORE / AFTER picture of a couple of the items that were the most stained. Both stayed in the pre-soak bucket for a total of 5 days, with the water being refreshed I think 3 times total. They didn't come out perfectly stain free, but are VASTLY improved!


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