How to Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes

Having a little baby at home is one of the biggest joys in life—until it comes to washing their clothes! Since breast milk and formula both have protein in them, the stains can dry a pale yellow color, making them stand out on light-colored fabrics. Fortunately, with a little time and some cleaning products, you can get rid of those stains and dress your baby in clean clothing in no time.


[Edit]Blot fresh milk stains with a paper towel.

  1. The more you can clean it now, the better! If you aren’t too busy running around changing diapers or holding your little one, grab a paper towel and quickly wipe the milk off your baby’s clothing. Then, change them into something else so you can work on getting the stain out quickly.[1]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 1.jpg
    • If you can’t get to the stain right away, that’s totally fine—having a baby in the home isn’t easy, so you’ll probably miss a few milk mishaps at least a few times.

[Edit]Chip off dried stains with a butter knife.

  1. This will help remove any dried flakes. If you only just noticed the milk stain and it’s already dry, lay your baby’s clothing out flat on the table and grab a butter knife from the kitchen. Slowly chip away at the dried milk stain, trying to get as much flaky milk off the clothing as possible before you wash it.[2]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 2.jpg
    • Stains with protein in them (including milk) tend to dry out and flake up after about an hour or so.

[Edit]Rinse off the clothing with cool water.

  1. Hot water can set stains into fabric, so make sure you’re using cool. Bring your baby’s clothing over to the sink and run it under cool or cold water for a couple of minutes. This will help get the majority of the milk out right away, especially if it was a fresh stain.[3]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 3.jpg
    • If getting up to go to the sink is too much (maybe you have a sleeping baby resting peacefully in your arms right now), try reaching for a baby wipe instead.

[Edit]Soak the clothing in a stain remover and water.

  1. An enzymatic remover will get rid of milk stains in no time. Fill up a sink or a bucket with cool water, then mix in a few drops of stain remover. Submerge your baby’s clothing in the water and stain remover mixture, then leave it there to soak for at least 1 hour.[4]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 4.jpg
    • Be sure you’re using cool water, not hot—hot water can make stains harder to remove.
    • Once the clothing has soaked for a little while, add a few more drops of stain remover directly onto the stained area.
    • You might need to soak the clothing multiple times, especially if the stain is particularly large or old.

[Edit]Mix ammonia and dish soap if you have it on-hand.

  1. No stain remover at home? No problem! Grab a bottle of ammonia and mix with of dish soap. Fill a bucket with warm water, then submerge your baby’s clothes in the mixture. Let it soak for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour if you have the time.[5]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 5.jpg
    • Ammonia is generally safe to use in your home, but take extra caution not to mix it with bleach. This creates a harmful gas that can hurt you and your family.[6]

[Edit]Try boiling hot water on cotton fabric.

  1. If you work quickly enough, you can push the stain out of the clothing fibers. Lay your baby’s clothing out in the sink, then boil a pot of water on the stove. Once the water is boiling, take the pot over to the sink and hold it as high above the clothing as you can. Quickly pour the hot water directly onto the stain, then rinse the clothing in cool water right away.[7]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 6.jpg
    • Experts typically don’t recommend this as a first option, because hot water has the potential to set stains into the fabric. However, you can use it in a pinch if you don’t have any cleaning supplies on-hand.

[Edit]Wash with mild detergent and cool water.

  1. Mild detergent is great for almost all babies. You don’t need to worry about buying special products to wash your baby’s clothing in—unless your baby has health problems or sensitive skin, use the same detergent you use for your own clothing.[8] Throw the clothes into the wash and put it on a cool water cycle to avoid setting the stain into the clothes.[9]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 7.jpg
    • If your baby has eczema or sensitive skin, check with their doctor to see if they need special detergent.

[Edit]Try oxygen bleach if the stain is still there.

  1. This is like normal bleach, but without the harmful toxicity. Once you’ve washed your baby’s clothing once, check it out to see if the stain is still there. If it is, fill a bucket with of water, and add of oxygen bleach. Soak the clothing in there overnight, then wash it like usual in the morning.[10]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 8.jpg

[Edit]Use regular bleach on tough stains.

  1. If you’ve tried everything, consider this as your last resort. Check the tag on the clothing to make sure it’s safe to bleach (if the fabric is flame-resistant, then you won’t be able to bleach it).[11] If the washing instructions say it’s okay, follow the dilution directions on the back of your household bleach bottle, then throw the clothes into the washer again.[12]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 9.jpg
    • It can sound a little scary to use bleach on your baby’s clothing, but experts note that since household bleach is already so diluted, it won’t do any harm to your little one.[13]
    • If you’re worried about your baby coming into contact with the bleach, run the clothing through the washer a second time on a “rinse only” cycle.

[Edit]Hang the clothes to dry.

  1. The heat of the dryer can set stains into fabric even more. Once you’re sure that the stain is gone, hang up your baby’s clothing on a clothesline or inside on a clothing rack. When the clothes dry, they should be clean and stain-free, ready for your baby to wear again.
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 10.jpg
    • If you want everything to dry out faster, try pointing a fan at the clothes while they dry.[14]

[Edit]Turn really stained clothing into cleaning rags.

  1. Sometimes stains just won’t come out, and that’s okay. Milk stains in particular are really difficult to get out of clothing, especially light-colored fabric. If you’ve tried everything and your baby’s clothing item is still tinged yellow from breast milk or formula, consider cutting it up to use as a cleaning rag around your home.[15]
    Remove Milk Stains from Baby Clothes Step 11.jpg
    • Or, if the piece of clothing is special to you, set it aside in a keepsake box to preserve it forever.


  14. [v161877_b01]. 11 August 2021.