Giving Stains the Flick

giving stains the flick with cloth nappies

Ahhhhh I have a stain!! Help me!

When I started thinking about dealing with stains on cloth nappies, its a huge topic, especially with the array I have had over 4 kids. I have decided to break it down into common stains you may get when using cloth nappies, and potential remedies. (This is an Apikali member request, feel free to send me yours).

To firstly put the disclaimer in, please check with your manufacturers warranty before trying any of the below.

I will list the potential stain and possible solutions to deal with that stain. I am providing solutions which you already have laying around the house. There are lots of chemicals you can use and I will suggest (which are found below this).

Meconium (newborn first poo): Even though this poo looks tarry, it is actually very water soluble  So you don’t need any liners to protect your cloth nappies. However if you do have a few stains try the following:

  1. Make a paste of your normal detergent and lightly scrub into the stains to lift the fibres and the meconium. Rinse in warm to hot water and wash as normal. This is assuming the stain is fresh.
  2. Rub a little Sunlight/Velvet soap on the stain and gently work into the fibres. Rinse really well to remove all of the soap and wash as normal.
  3. Old meconium stain, you can try the above several times with hot water in the offending area. Or make a paste of bicarb and paint on the area. Don’t get it on the PUL or leave too long. Use a soft tooth brush to work the offending area. This should at least lighten the stain.
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Breastfeeding poo stains: These are completely water soluble and you don’t need any liners, but can cause staining. But you don’t know if you breastmilk will stain. Out of my 4 children, only my Skinny Boy stained the cloth nappy. So the staining also has something to with your child metabolism.

  1. You can leave these nappies (not PUL) to soak before washing in your regular detergent, just a tablespoon will do, or some soap nuts. Swirl around. But this is not necessary.
  2. With all honesty a nice warm wash and lots of sunlight will get this stain out. Use an appropriate cloth nappy detergent.

Sorbitol stain from panadol:

  1. These lovely grey stains are hard to move. They will disappear over time, but they need regular, daily washing and sunning.
  2. If you know you must use panadol, buy one without the sorbitol, it is only a sweetener.

Food stains: Oh these are the best, especially spag bol!

  1. An oil based stain will need a good gentle scrub with washing detergent and hot water.
  2. Tomato sauce stain can be lifted with Sunlight/Velvet soap as above. Make sure you rinse well, then wash as normal.
  3. Spinach or green stains, use same procedure as tomato sauce!
  4. Then put them in the sun.

Cloth nappy creams: Let say you had to use a cream which was not safe for the cloth nappies and you forgot to use a liner. DON’T PANIC. I have done it, but have fixed it.

  1. You need hot water and washing liquid or a paste of washing powder. Put the paste or liquid on the area and massage in . Leave to soak in hot water for about 10-15 mins. Rinse and work fibres gently with your finger tip or soft tooth brush. If there is still some residue, repeat until all gone. Wash as normal.

So in summary.

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If the stain is solid (meconium, food or creams), that is, it is attached to the fibres, you can easily work the fibres to remove the offending matter. It may take several goes, and assuming the stain is fresh.

If the stain is liquid (sorbitol or breastfeeding poos) then the stain is a little harder to manage. You need to attack the stain straight away, with treating the area as described above. Then let the sun do the work for you.

If the stain a bit old, then you will get staining of the fibres, but you should be able to lighten the colour with a lemon and bicarb paste.

At the end of the day, stains are completely normal. You cannot determine which cloth nappy will be stained. Just remember cloth nappy-ing is about the love, welfare and best option for your child. Its not about having perfect looking wee and poo catchers. Take the stress off yourself and enjoy the time with your children. Let the sun do the work instead!

As long as your nappies are clean and hygienic,  dont stress the stains. Most stains will fade or disappear with time. Washing and sunning them everyday always helps.



Well that was a lesson for me too.

What are your fail proof stain removers?

Your cloth doc


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