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How to remove poo stains

Poo stains happen, especially if you have a baby! But don't worry – find out how to clean baby poop from clothes here, plus tips on using gentle detergents.


pile of cloth nappies with baby crawling beside them

Key Steps

  1. Remove as much of the stain as you can using tissues or wipes.
  2. Soak the nappy or clothing, if you can, or use a pre-treatment such as a liquid detergent.
  3. Wash the item as normal - either by hand or in the washing machine.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 until the stain is fully removed.
  5. Air dry naturally - for light coloured fabrics, try to dry them outside as the sun can act as a natural bleaching agent.

They may be small and cute, but you’d be surprised how much poo one little person can produce… and sometimes even a hefty nappy can’t contain it all. Breastfed babies are particularly notorious for producing ‘leakers’, as their poo tends to be a little softer and more watery than formula-fed babies (although leaky nappies will happen to most, if not all, babies at some point during those first few months).

Learning how to remove poop stains is one of the most important ways you can prepare yourself for parenthood, ensuring you’re well stocked with everything you need to rescue those beautiful white baby grows and vests from nasty yellow stains.

Here are the best ways to tackle these tricky stains.

Finding the right balance between gentle detergents for babies’ sensitive skin, and powerful, effective laundry soaps can be tricky. Persil Non-Bio with stain erasing properties is the ideal choice for new mums and dads, and a great partner to Comfort Pure!

Has your lifestyle during the Covid-19 lockdown affected the type of stains you get on your clothes?

How to Clean Baby Poop from Clothes

It’s easy to think that all clothes, regardless of who wears them, should be washed in the same way, but things are a little different when it comes to babies and small children. Babies are more prone to sensitive skin than adults, and could easily suffer skin irritation if clothing is washed using harsher detergents – detergents that may not pose a risk to mum or dad.

Baby clothes should always be washed using mild, gentle detergents, but this leads us to ask one very important question – are the more gentle detergents able to remove challenging stains, such as poo? The good news is that, with the right product, learning how to clean baby poop stains is easy. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you out in some of the more ‘interesting’ nappy change situations:

  • First, remove as much excess poop from the clothing as possible. This isn’t the most pleasant part of parenthood, but it’ll make cleaning those vests so much easier and a lot less messy. One of the best ways to remove poop is to rinse the clothing underneath the tap in your bathtub.
  • As a parent, you don’t have time to be soaking clothing for hours, so a different type of stain treatment is needed. Persil Non-Bio is a good choice for parents as it comes with a stain eraser ball, which helps you to work the stain and lift out any discolouration before washing.
  • Wash in the washing machine at a slightly higher temperature than you would wash your own clothes – between 40 and 60 degrees is ideal. These higher temperatures help to kill any bacteria. Use a gentle detergent to reduce irritation, such as Persil Non-Bio.

If you're using reusable nappies, rather than disposable, then make sure you read our articles on how to use reusable nappies and our tips on washing cloth nappies.

Tackling the More Stubborn Poo Stain

Most baby poo stains should be removed fully using the steps above, but parenthood is full of the unexpected. Sometimes, a particularly stubborn stain may prove a little more difficult to remove, but don’t panic. If there’s still a little discolouration on your baby’s vests after washing, try hanging the clothing out on the line in the sun. Believe it or not, the sun makes a great alternative to harsh bleaching products, and is good at helping to remove yellow tinges from white vests and baby grows.

When you’re first learning how to clean baby clothes, poop should be a priority. Every baby poops, and poo stains are something that all parents have to deal with – there’s no way around it. Discovering the best ways to tackle these stains is a great way to prepare yourself for being a new mum or dad.


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Originally published