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How to remove food stains from baby clothes

Mealtime for babies is a messy business. Don't worry, we have some great baby food stain removal tips to help you effectively remove any stubborn stains!


Baby smiling in high chair with baby food on his face

Removing baby food stains from clothes isn’t always the most pleasant of tasks, but it can be done­. Here’s how:

Baby food stains: A step-by-step guide

As you toss your baby’s clothes into the wash, inspect them thoroughly for any signs of baby food stains—be sure to look at socks, sleeves, cuffs, and even inside the garments as they can get food, milk and poo everywhere! If you notice a stain, tackle it before washing. Remember—the quicker you tackle a stain the better.

  • Begin by gently scraping as much excess food off your baby’s clothes as possible. You may find using a spoon works best for this, but be careful how you do it. Scraping sidewards along the material isn’t recommended—not only can you encourage the stain to spread, but you may also pull the fibers of the garment, and we all know that keeping baby clothes soft and comfortable is hugely important. Instead, try to gently scrape in an upward or downward motion, towards the center of the stain.

  • Soak the clothing in a bowl of cold water. You should do this for a few hours at least, but if you’ve discovered a stain in the evening, take advantage and leave the garment to soak overnight. This softens the stain and prevents it from drying out, which could make it much more difficult to remove. As the fabric absorbs water, it tends to swell a little, opening the fibers up and encouraging the easier release of the food residue. Never soak in hot water as the heat could set the stain, making it permanent.

  • You can also pre-treat the stain with a stain remover or laundry detergent. Just follow the directions on the label.

  • Put the clothing into the washing machine with a gentle laundry detergent that’s suitable for sensitive skin (make sure to read the directions on the back of the detergent package first, and to read the care label on the garment, too).

  • Optional: you may also wish to add some fabric conditioner to your wash. Fabric conditioner helps to keep clothes soft. Just make sure you choose one that’s gentle enough for your baby’s delicate skin.

Safety first: Keep your laundry detergent in a locked cupboard close to your washing machine, where curious youngsters can’t reach it.

Originally published