Unfortunately, stains are an inevitable part of cloth diapering. If you think about the sheer nature of a cloth diaper, it is meant to hold in poop and pee. But fear not because there are many options to help you get those dirty-looking stains out of your cloth diapers. Thanks to many of my readers for some of these suggestions!
What Stains ARE NOT:
- Stains do not mean your cloth diapers are dirty.
- Stains do not mean that your cloth diapers are not functioning correctly.
Techniques to Remove Stains:
Once you have washed your cloth diapers, lay them out with the stains facing the sun. The sun acts as a natural stain remover. In the summer, I hang my wet diapers outside and let them “sun” all day. The heat from the sun also helps with any odors and kills any bacteria that may build up. If you are looking to get the benefits of the sun in the wintertime, check out some of my tips!
You can use lemon juice in conjunction with the sun! Take lemon juice or a freshly squeezed lemon and spray or put directly on the stain. Then lay the diaper in the sun, stain side up. Not only will most stains be gone, but your diapers will also smell fresh! Some people also add a small amount of lemon juice to their wash cycle (1/4-1/2 cup).
Rinse Quickly/Wash Regularly
I like to rinse my cloth diapers with my diaper sprayer as quickly as possible after it is soiled. When I am out and about, this does not always happen, but I try to rinse well to prevent those stains. In addition to rinsing, I wash my cloth diapers every three days. Even if you have a ton of cloth diapers in your stash, you do not want to go any longer than three days between washing. Not only is this to prevent stains, but also to avoid mold and additional bacterial build-up and smells.
When my daughter had gotten older and her poops had produced more stains, I started using biodegradable/flushable liners. These liners are placed over the diaper (especially when you are expecting #2). Once the diaper is soiled, dump the liner in the toilet and flush it away. Hopefully, most of the poops land on the liner and thus help to prevent stains. There are also reusable liners that are used in the same way as the flushable ones, except you rinse and wash them with the rest of your diapers. These liners will help to prevent stains. Be sure to check out this article about cloth diaper liners.
The last thing you might think of using on your cloth diapers is hydrogen peroxide, but yes, it helps remove stains! It is also very inexpensive. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide (standard) and put 1/4 to 1/2 cup into the bleach compartment during your wash cycle. Make sure to follow the wash with multiple rinses to ensure the peroxide is out of the diapers. Peroxide can also turn your diapers a light yellow color, so be sure to try a test area first. I have even heard of people applying hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain itself and letting it dry. The diapers would also have to be thoroughly rinsed after this as well.
Buncha Farmers is made with all-natural, biodegradable ingredients and enhanced with borax to soften the water and aid the cleaning process. There are no artificial dyes or perfumes, just the fresh, clean scent of natural eucalyptus and the deodorizing power of litsea. Will not discolor clothes or fabrics. Cut off a piece and throw it into your laundry. Make sure the water is warm so that the soap melts. You can also use hot water and melt the Buncha Farmers. Once combined into the water, add it to a spray bottle and spot treat directly on the diapers. Repeat if necessary.
I have mentioned using white vinegar before in your wash cycle with your cloth diapers. Vinegar can be used to reduce light stains. Put 1/4 to 1/2 cup in with your detergent during the wash cycle. Make sure to do plenty of rinses after to get all the vinegar out of your diapers. But be sure to check to see if vinegar is recommended for your cloth diapers at all!
Bleach can be a great way to treat your diapers for stains and other issues such as stink or mold. I don’t recommend using bleach daily as it is harsh. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of bleach to the bleach compartment during the wash cycle of your diapers. DO NOT PUT BLEACH DIRECTLY ON YOUR CLOTH DIAPERS. Rinse after. Surprisingly some manufacturers recommend bleach. Check out my first experience with bleaching my diapers!
This method came highly recommended to me! Bac-Out Biokleen is an all-natural cleaning solution that has live enzyme cultures which help to eat away at organic waste and bacteria found in cloth diapers. Not only does it help with stains, but the live enzymes also fight against odors. Bac-Out is also safe for septic systems. Biokleen also makes a foaming spray that can be used once a dirty diaper is taken off the baby and thrown into the diaper pail. If you want to add Bac-Out to your wash routine, add it during the wash cycle, following the bottle’s directions. Please note that I have not yet tried this product, but with all the good reviews, I will be purchasing some shortly. The nice thing about Bac-Out is that you can often find it in health food stores such as Whole Foods!
I LOVE Oxy-Clean. I have always used it on my regular laundry, but for my cloth diapers? Some readers recommend Oxy-Clean for very stubborn stains. Add the recommended amount per the packaging. Once again, I would rinse the diapers very well after using this treatment to avoid build-up residues. This method may not be a good idea for babies with sensitive skin, although I know that they make a Baby Oxy-Clean formula!
BabyGanics Stain Remover + Freezer Method
I am a massive fan of BabyGanics, a line of organic baby cleaning formulas, soaps, and wipes. BabyGanics makes a stain remover. Spray the stain remover on the stained diapers and put the diaper in the freezer for 5 minutes. Then wash it, and supposedly the stains are gone! I have yet to try this, but I am very intrigued!!!!
All of the above methods are ways to help reduce stains on your cloth diapers. Please check with your cloth diaper manufacturers because some of these methods may void your warranty or do more harm to your cloth diapers. These are only suggestions that I have put together based on my personal experience and feedback from fellow cloth diaper mamas!
How do you remove stains from your cloth diapers?