Organization and Cleaning

Cleaning Tip: Yellow Stains on Stored Baby Clothes


As part of a massive organization overhaul, I recently took our saved baby items and clothes out of storage in an effort to reduce and reorganize. We plan to have more children in the future, and were very intentional on caring for, washing, and storing Olive’s baby items as she outgrew them.

On the initial store, I washed every item, and treated all visible stains. No stained clothes were saved for Baby #2, only the best for my imaginary child! Imagine my shock when I discovered roughly 3-5% of our stored clothes were covered in disgusting yellow stains around the neckline area!

A quick google assured me that I wasn’t alone. I discovered this relatively common phenomenon is a result of “protein stains” from breastmilk, formula, spit up, etc. Even if clothes go through a wash cycle, the proteins can remain and continue to stain your precious clothes while in storage.

No one told me this! I was clueless. Chalk it up to being a first time mom. The more you know!

I immediately put the clothes through a normal hot wash cycle with a Tide Pod. No luck. Still stained. Another google was in order. My favorite solution came from Paging Supermom.

I used the following method and SAVED my clothes from the nasty little staining protein devils:

As stated early, I did a typical wash cycle first. This didn’t appear to have an effect. I did NOT dry.

I sorted the stained clothes and determined which pieces were worth the effort of saving. I tossed a few generic onesies.

I pre-treated with OxiClean Maxforce, which I traditionally use on ANY stubborn stain. You can leave the pretreat on for a few minutes, or a few days. My experience is that the stain removing power is enhanced the longer the product is allowed to set.

I purchased OxiClean powder on the recommendation of the linked blog, added two scoops and a Tide pod, and began a HOT wash cycle, leaving the lid to the washing machine open.

I recieve no compensation from Oxiclean…

I let the agitator run, but, as the lid was open, it did not enter the rinse cycle. I let the clothes soak overnight. (*Note, if you have a front loading HE machine, simply soak the clothes in a bathtub or sink).

In the morning, I added a small amount of vinegar to a fabric softer ball, closed the lid, and let the washing machine run it’s course.

I removed the clothes to spot check. I was supremely satisfied to discover that 90% of the stains were ELIMINATED COMPLETELY!

Unfortunately, I dont have “before photos”, because I wasn’t a blogger at the time.
But trust me, they were sad, yellow disappointments. As you can see, the stains are mostly visable on white clothing.

I ran the clothes through another rinse cycle to remove any leftover chemicals.

I dried on delicate. You can also hang dry or sun dry.

For the remaining stains, I will likely pretreat and do the process again. The stains were significantly lightened, but not totally eliminated.

Works in progress. The top sweater was the most severerly stained item.

I discovered that Oxiclean also makes a baby stain specific product, Oxiclean Baby. I believe that soaking/washing clothes in an oxygen-based cleaner PRIOR to storage in the way to go. I will let you know on the next go around.

I am very satisfied with this cleaning tip for an issue I never even knew existed! Hopefully it helps you or at least points you in the right direction. Thanks to Paging Supermom for initial information and inspiration!

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