Monday, September 19, 2011

Cloth Diapering Tips – Use the Sun to Remove Stains

You would think that you wouldn’t care if your diapers were stained. After all, they just get pooped and peed in. And they are just going to get pooped and peed in again after you remove the stain. So why bother? I don’t know—I guess it’s kind of like making your bed. You’re going to go back to bed in about 14 hours, but it’s nice to have it look neat and clean until you mess it up again.

But baby (or toddler, or preschooler) poop can stain a diaper pretty badly. If you don’t take care of it, you’ll end up with diapers that have overlapping, mossy green stains all over them. And then you’ll be out and about, changing your baby’s diaper at your next play date, and it’s a little embarrassing to pull out those stained diapers. Your friends might wonder why you’re putting a dirty diaper on your baby. Well, it’s not dirty, it’s just stained. It’s like how your mother always told you to wear clean underwear to the doctor.

You know that feeling you got when you looked at the photo at the top of this blog? That’s the feeling you’ll get every time you use your stained diapers.

So how do you get rid of those stains? You don’t want to use your regular shout stain remover. Regular stain removers and detergents can cause buildup on diapers and irritate sensitive bums. There are several options for getting rid of stains, but let’s start with the greenest, cheapest, and best one, hands down: the sun.

That’s right. That good old ball of fire in the sky can get rid of really bad stains in about an hour or so. Just wash your diapers as usual, but don’t dry them. Lay them out in your backyard, on your clothesline, or even on the hood of your car and let the sun beat down on them. The stains will disappear and you’ll have a pristine, white diaper again.

Here are some tips for using the sun to bleach your diapers:

  • Start with a diaper that has been washed, but not dried. For some reason, it works better when the sun is working on wet fabric.
  • This works better on natural fibers than on synthetics, so your prefolds, hemp doublers, and diapers with bamboo velour may see better results than your pockets with a microfiber lining or your microfiber inserts.

The sun bleaching method to remove stains works well on baby clothes, too. If my baby has a blowout and it gets on his pants, I just wash with a little dish soap until most of the poop is off. I don’t even wash the soap out all the way. Then I put the clothes out in the sun. Once they are bleached, I throw them in the wash.

Using the sun to get rid of stains works well for a lot of food stains:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Banana, pear and watermelon (if you get to it right away)
  • Some popsicle colors (it works better on red than on yellow)
  • Sweet potato

So next time you pull your child’s shirt out of the laundry and it has unidentified stains all over the chest, wet it, try washing it with some dish soap, then putting out in the sun. You’ll save money, you’ll avoid using harsh chemicals, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the stains disappear.


  1. The sun is pretty great. The only thing it hasn't completely gotten out for me is blueberry stains. They are faded, but stubborn.

  2. Yeah, some stains are hard to get out. Baby T is obsessed with popsicles, and yellow popsicles don't come out either.

    But I forgot to mention that the sun gets out odors, too. I put my diaper pail out in the sun when it stinks. I put diaper covers out between washings. And you know when you leave your clothes in the wet laundry for too long and they smell icky and musty? Wash them again and dry them in the sun. It's amazing.

  3. I need a cloths line but my condo association wont let us put them up. they say they are ugly. I have to hang my clothing inside...