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A child with food stains on his face and clothes sits next to the table, holding a spoon in his hands

Tips on How to Get Stains out of Baby Clothes

Babies: They’re adorable, sure, but they can also be very, very messy. (Hey, we all have our messy days, don’t we?) If you’re fighting stubborn stains on your kid’s clothes, Ivory Snow is here to help! Here’s your complete guide for how to get stains out of baby clothes.

What are the most common baby stains?

The most common baby stains are the items the baby is exposed to most often:

How to Remove Stains from Baby Clothes

Regardless of the kind of mess you’re dealing with, you can get rid of most baby clothing stains by following this simple step-by-step guide:

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Step 1: Act fast

Fresh stains are always easier to remove than stains that have had time to set. Save yourself time in the long run and jump on those stains ASAP. If you don’t have time to wash stained baby clothes right away, let them soak in cool water with some hypoallergenic laundry detergent mixed in.

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Step 2: Remove excess

Whether it’s a solid stain like banana or carrot or a liquid such as formula or breast milk, your best bet for getting great results is brushing off or blotting any excess with a clean paper towel before rinsing the garment under cold running water (Hot water can cause certain stains to set, and you don’t have time to pull up a cheat sheet each time you’re treating a stain, so use cold water as the default.).

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Step 3: Pretreat stain

Treat the soiled area with a pretreater like Ivory Snow Laundry Stain Remover.

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Step 4: Choose your detergent

For newborns, Ivory Snow Stage 1 is the dermatologist-recommended choice for delicate new-baby skin. If you prefer an unscented detergent, Ivory Snow Fragrance Free has even more cleaning power vs Newborn while being free of dyes, perfumes, and phosphates.

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Step 5: Wash

Wash baby clothes on the hottest temperature and wash cycle setting indicated by the fabric care label.

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Step 6: Don’t dry just yet!

Unload the clothes immediately after the cycle is complete. Check the wet laundry for stains before hanging the clothes on a rack or tossing them in the dryer. If you still see stains, rinse and then repeat the above steps until you’re satisfied with the outcome.

For harder-to-detect stains like baby oil, hang the garment or lay it flat to dry so you can see whether the stain has been eliminated, and if it hasn’t, repeat the process.

A washing machine with Ivory Snow laundry detergent used to remove stains from children's clothes on it.

How to Remove Stains from Baby Clothes Naturally.

If you’re trying to be as natural as possible with baby products, there’s no better friend to you than white vinegar. This all-around powerhouse cleaner also makes a great laundry stain pretreater. Simply soak the garment in a solution of one-part cold water and one-part white distilled vinegar, then wash as usual.

How to Get Old Stains Out of Baby Clothes.

Whether it’s a onesie with a stubborn stain that you gave up on long ago or a soiled pair of baby leggings you stashed away in the diaper bag and forgot all about, there is hope even for old stains.

While you will want to research the treatment options for the specific type of stain (breastmilk will have different methods than poop stains, for example), certain methods are tried and true.

For example, pretreating by rubbing dish soap into the stain and then rinsing is a common trick to cut through a variety of food and oil stains. Adding baking soda to the soap while rubbing can boost your stain-fighting power.

How to Get Yellow Stains Out of Baby Clothes

One of parenthood’s dirty little secrets (literally) is that sometimes, you will pack away what seem like perfectly clean clothes to save for another child, but somehow when you open them up years later, they’ve developed ugly yellow stains! What gives?

The stains are from milk proteins; even if you think you’ve washed all the breast milk or spit-up out of that onesie, the remnants can come back to haunt you. Luckily, the solution is simple: spray on Ivory Snow Laundry Stain remover to handle that pesky stain.

How to Use Ivory Snow Stain Remover

Parents have enough to worry about without going through a complicated routine to pretreat stains. Luckily, Ivory Snow offers two products to make simple work of pretreating stained baby clothes.

To pretreat clothes on the go, use Ivory Snow Portable Pretreater Pen. To use this travel-ready pretreater, remove the excess from the stain, place a napkin behind the stained fabric, squeeze the pen, and rub the tip over the stain like an eraser. Easy as that!

Using Ivory Snow Laundry Stain Remover is even easier: remove the excess, spray the stained area, and give it a rub. Congratulations—your garment is now pretreated!

How to Disinfect Baby Clothes

A regular load of laundry with detergent should work just fine to get rid of germs—the same way washing your hands with soap eliminates germs on your skin. But there may be times when you feel the need to disinfect your baby’s clothes, like if a family member has a nasty illness that you want to make sure isn’t passed along to the kid.

In those cases, two choices can boost your laundry routine’s germ-fighting power: hotter water (to the extent your garment care label allows) and line-drying outside. Both hot water and sunlight act as natural germ-killing agents.

For items that can’t be washed easily, like furniture or strollers, try Ivory Snow Fabric Refresher and Odor Eliminator.

No matter what foul substance is staining your baby’s clothes, there is a method to help you tackle the stain. Ivory Snow has plenty of tips for how to get stains out of baby clothes with special tricks for different types of stains. You can find those linked right from this article! Good luck, valiant stain-fighter!

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