Dealing with cloth nappy stains

Cloth nappy stains are sadly a fact of life, cloth nappies are after all designed to catch poo and wee, and so you have to expect stains.  Stained cloth nappies don’t mean that they are actually dirty, but if you want to remove cloth nappy stains and get them looking white once again, what is the best way of dealing with cloth nappy stains?

Does it matter?

Nappies are designed for one thing; to catch poo and wee, so a few stains are to be expected.  It doesn’t mean that the cloth nappies haven’t been washed properly and won’t effect their use, so it doesn’t actually matter if there are a few marks on the nappies.  Having said that, it is nice to pick up a nice clean, white, nappy and place it on your baby.  Some people (and I include myself here) love to see a washing line full of snowy white nappies too. While cloth nappy stains might not actually matter, it is nice to be able to get rid of them.

Dealing with cloth nappy stains

Newborn cloth nappy stains

Most cloth nappy stains are caused by poo, while your baby is tiny and having a liquid diet you will no doubt get lots of nappies with bright yellow stains on them.  These stains are caused by the biliruben that comes out in the poo as a waste product and gives it the yellow colour.  It is the same substance that causes some newborns to have jaundice, before the liver is processing it properly.  If you have had a newborn with jaundice, then you’ll know that the main treatment is sunshine, or UV light in hospital.  Removing the yellow stains from cloth nappies needs exactly the same thing.  Don’t worry about adding stain removers, or scrubbing the marks.  A bit of time in sunshine is all you need to shift them, in the height of summer, ten minutes or so will do the job.  Even in winter when it’s a fairly cloudy day, putting your cloth nappies in the window will have shifted most of the stains by the end of the day.

Sunshine remove cloth nappy stains

Cloth nappy poo stains

As your baby gets older and starts eating solid foods, the bright yellow stains generally don’t happen any more.  You will still get the odd stain that doesn’t come out with washing.  In most cases the sun will still shift these cloth nappy stains, partly because much of the stain is still caused by the biliruben, but also because sun makes a fantastic natural stain remover.  In some cases the stains will take a bit of extra work, these could be due to the food that your little one has been eating, banana in particular can leave a mark that is quite hard to remove.  Some medicines such as pamol can cause stains. The sugars and sweeteners that are used in medicines such as this can sometimes cause stains that do take some getting rid of, this all depends on how your little one processes them; some babies don’t experience stains at all, while others end up with really grey marks.  To deal with these stains you can try using a stain remover such as sard soap and scrubbing the mark, alternatively time and sunshine will do the job, it might just take a few washes to get there.  If you are just waiting for the stains to go, there’s no reason why you can’t keep using the nappies between washes.

Stained nappy covers

When poo gets onto the nappy covers, it can also cause stains.  Again the sunshine is a great way to get rid of these marks.  Make sure that you hang the cover to get the maximum exposure to the sunshine, but don’t leave it for too long in direct UV, as this can damage the laminate layer.  If you find that stains are hiding in the gathers of the elastic, try to stretch them out slightly so that the sun can reach this area.

Cloth nappy stains can be annoying, but aren’t really a problem.  With most stains a little bit of sunshine is all you need to get your nappies looking fantastic again.

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