How To Remove Breast Milk Stains – The Complete Guide

Are you wondering how to remove breast milk stains? Every new mom knows that baby clothes are small, but baby stains can be huge.

Breast milk is a strong bonding protein that is difficult to remove when it has dried and impossible to remove after it has aged due to all the ingredients.

I could remember getting my baby clothes out of storage; I was surprised to find some yellow stains that weren’t there when I put them in the tote bag.

I was saddened but determined to get them out because we didn’t have the money to buy a whole new wardrobe.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about removing stains from your clothes and why these stains appear.

Why Does Breast Milk Stain?

Well, nature has made our bodies capable of producing breast milk that is not only rich in vitamins but also contains the required amount of fat and protein your baby needs.

Breast milk stains, like blood, feces, and milk products, are known as protein-based stains.

Animal-based products or secretions cause these stains. Protein stain must be treated on time, kept from heat, and requires enzymes to break them down.

If not treated properly, these milk proteins can cause stains that appear months to years later, especially if you store your baby’s clothes in an airtight plastic container.

Which Cleaning Products Are Safe For Me To Use?

Although there are a lot of different stain remover products on the market, how to know which one is safe to use on your clothes, nursing attire, and, more importantly, your baby’s clothes must be put into consideration.

Whether you go for a natural or synthetic option is a personal choice, but no matter what, always look for a product with the fewest allergens and irritants possible when using them on your baby’s clothes.

You’ll want to choose the mildest laundry product possible that gets the job done, but you’ll also need a detergent and stain remover that contains enzymes to break down those stubborn proteins in breast milk.

Enzymes will attack the stains by digesting the proteins. Remember not to use cleaners with enzymes on wool or silk, as it could potentially ruin the garment.

Can I Use Bleach?

The thought of tossing everything inside the washer along with a healthy dose of bleach and calling it a day can be tempting.

As frustrating and difficult as breast milk can be, we strongly advise you to put the bleach down and step away from the washer.

Oxygen color-safe bleach can also help remove protein-based stains, such as breast milk, but it can pose a serious health threat, especially when used around children.

Bleach contains harsh chemicals that can irritate the nose, eyes, and skin and can even cause respiratory issues and skin burns to babies. Because of these risks, it’s best advised to just avoid bleach when removing stains from your baby’s clothes.

Read Also: How To Whiten Baby Clothes Without Bleach

How To Remove Breast Milk Stains?

The approach behind removing breast stains is pretty straightforward, and something we will jump into shortly. Before we get to the lively stuff, let’s brush you up on some baby laundry tips.

Detergent Type

In general, there are two kinds of laundry detergents from which you can choose from and they are biological and non-biological detergents.

Biological Detergents

These detergents contain enzymes, and enzymes are troopers when it comes to breaking down a protein stain.

They can also deliver a perfectly good clean in cooler water temperatures, this makes them more Eco friendly and cost-effective for your laundry.

However, these enzymes can irritate sensitive skin and may not be suitable for your baby, so some parents decide to bypass this type of product.

Non-Biological Detergents

These detergents are perfectly capable of taking on tough stains.

A non-biological detergent does not contain the enzymes which help break down protein stains such as baby spew and poo but is less likely to irritate sensitive skin. To launder you will require using a hotter wash cycle to clean effectively.

Pretreatment Options

Synthetic Stain Removers

Suppose you’re not overly concerned about chemicals and just want something convenient and safe for your baby. In that case, you should consider trying out one of these synthetic stain removers since many parents have experienced exceptional results from using:

  • OxiClean Baby Stain Remover: This has earned a good reputation for getting stains out.
  • Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap: an oldie but awesome, this is a classic cleaner for those greasy stains.
  • Fels Naptha Laundry Bar And Stain Remover: Fels Naptha is stain removal magic, according to some parents. It’s not only an inexpensive way to pretreat stains, but also it can be used around the house to treat mildew, clean your carpets, and make handmade soap.
  • Medela Quick Clean Soap: This is usually used for bottles and pump parts, but it’s also great for removing stubborn breast milk stains in nursing clothes.
  • Biz Laundry Detergent: This product is loaded with enzymes, so it’s sure to remove quite the variety. Also, it can be used as a pre-treatment or even added to the wash cycle.
  • Dreft Laundry Stain Remover: This is another industry standard among parenting circles; this stain remover can do its work in virtually any water temperature.

If synthetic stain removers aren’t your thing, if you want to limit your family’s exposure to harsh chemicals, you’ll probably want to use one of these natural stain removers.

Natural Stain Removers

  • Lemon or Lime Juice: One-hundred percent real lemon juice is a great choice for white clothing, as it has a natural bleaching action due to its acetic acid.
  • Buncha Farmers Stain Removing Stick: This product is an all-natural, environmentally-friendly stain remover made with saponified coconut oil and borax. The stick can be rubbed directly on the stain or also, or you can make a spray by grating the stick into some water.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: This is another effective bleach alternative that works well even on the toughest stains. Plus, it’s safe for the environment.
  • Baking Soda: This can be useful in banishing breast milk stains and clothing odors. Simply add four tablespoons of baking soda to 1/4 cup of water, and you have an all-purpose stain remover.
  • White Vinegar: To use this, simply add about 1/4 cup to your normal wash cycle for a bit of extra cleaning and brightening power.

How To Remove Fresh Breast Milk Stains

Follow this guide to remove fresh breast milk stains from a piece of fabric.

  1. Firstly, rinse off the breast milk with cold water.
  2. Soak the garment for at least 15 minutes in cold water. This helps to break down the stain and prevent it from setting into the fabric.
  3. Then work the stain with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush (like a toothbrush), taking care not to overstretch or damage the fabric.
  4. Wash per the fabric label’s instructions.
  5. Finally, dry in the sun to harness Mother Nature’s natural bleaching powers.

Read Also: How To Get Breast Milk Off Of Wood Furniture

How To Remove Set-In Breast Milk Stains

Follow this guide to remove set-in breast milk stains from a piece of fabric.

  1. Firstly, rinse off the area as best as you can. If any crusty residue is left, gently scrape it away from the fabric.
  2. Then pretreat the fabric by spraying your product of choice on the stain.
  3. Now use a soft-bristled brush (such as a toothbrush), gently working the pretreatment into the stain.
  4. Allow the pretreatment to sit on the fabric for at least 15 minutes or as directed on the stain remover bottle before throwing it in the wash.
  5. Wash per the fabric label’s instructions.
  6. Dry in the sun. Remember, it’s the most natural bleach in the world.

How To Remove Breast Milk Stains On Mom’s Clothes

As you may know, your baby’s clothes are not the only ones to get to take breast milk beating from time to time. Oddly, you have stained shirts, sheets, and bras just begging to step through the laundry room.

The good news is that all of the above guides will also work for your clothes. So simply:

  1. Rinse off the breast milk.
  2. Pretreat the fabric.
  3. Gently rub with a soft-bristled brush.
  4. Allow the pretreatment to soak in.
  5. Wash per the fabric label’s instructions;
  6. Dry in the sun. More so, your clothes can also reap the benefits of natural bleach.

While it might be tempting to use detergents that are a little more built for strain-fighting business, remember that your baby’s bare skin will continuously be in contact with your body and clothing.

Therefore, to avoid accidentally passing along something that might be irritating to young skin, we advise parents to stick with milder products whenever possible.

Read Also: How To Get Breast Milk Out Of Mattress

How To Prevent Breast Milk Stains? 5 Tips To Try Out

To prevent dealing with breast milk stains in the future, try out some of these tips:

  1. Clean up accidents immediately.
  2. Always wear nursing pads.
  3. If you have an old blanket or towel you no longer use, you should place them over your nursing pillow.
  4. You should store your baby’s clothes in a container with good airflow.
  5. Finally, use cold water at all stages of the stain removal to prevent the stain from setting into the fabric.

Read Also: How To Remove Sour Milk Smell From Car


For new moms, wondering how to remove breast milk stains can create quite a headache. Breast milk stains can be stubborn to remove, requiring direct action and enzymes.

If you’re a new mom, getting comfortable dealing with these kinds of stains won’t take long. Although this might take a bit of trial and error at first, you’ll soon become a pro and find yourself passing on tips you’ve learned along the way to others who might desperately need them.

Have you successfully removed breast milk stains from your clothes before, are there any other tips you’ve put to the test yourself and worked out for you that we haven’t mentioned in this article? Kindly share in the comments section and let us know all about it!

Speaking about stains, you can read some home tips to try on different set-in stains on baby pants and shirts. From ink to blood, learn how to remove set-in stains from clothes here just in case you also happen to be in that sticky situation.