You have figured out how to wash cloth diapers and perfected your wash routine. But all of a sudden you find that your diapers are stained, and you are puzzled not knowing what went wrong.

Don’t worry.

First off, there is nothing wrong with your wash routine when your diaper come out with stains. If your diapers still smell like poop, then it means that they didn’t get washed properly.

But if they smell clean and only look stained, then there is nothing to worry.

No matter how much we take care of them, it is surreal to keep them look like new after repetitive use. Cloth diapers are mainly catching your baby’s poop day and night, eventually, expect to see some poop stains or other stains of solid foods or even (God forbid!) mold.


Stains are also a common concern while buying used diapers. Be prepared to notice some old stains if you are in the used cloth diaper market. But don’t let stains bother you so much.

Most stains will eventually come out with repeated washing. Some parents are chill about stains and will let time take care of it. While others feel squeamish, and feel the need to fix it as soon as possible.

So, what kind of stains can you see in a diaper?

  • Poop : The consistency of poop is so different at every stage of growth. And, they all stain differently. The first newborn poop ( meconium) looks like a tar.Exclusively breastfed (EBF) poop leaves a bright yellow color stains on the cloth diaper. While, mature toddler poop leaves a slight brown color stain.
  • Food Stains: If you have started giving your baby solids, then expect to see some colorful stains on the diaper. Purple – Blueberries, red – Beets, Green – Spinach.
  • Mold – Mold can start growing when you let your soiled diaper sit unwashed for a long period of time ( say, more than a week?) You need to make sure that your diapers are stored where there is air ventilation and washed on time to prevent mold. Mold stains are one of the hardest to get rid of.
  • Mineral/Rust Stain – Do you have hard water problems? Washing diapers in hard water can make minerals like iron, to settle on the diaper leaving a rusty brown stain.

How to Get Stains out of Cloth Diapers (Naturally) :

1. Sun:

Sun is the most effective and natural stain treatment. The ultraviolet rays in the sun break down the molecules in the diaper and make stains disappear.

Sunlight acts as a natural bleach and works great on whitening the stains, plus there are no chemicals to worry, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.This method has always worked for me with great success.

How to do Sun Bleaching?

  •  Wash your cloth diapers just like you would usually wash.
  •  When the diapers are wet, lay them flat with the stained area facing the sunlight.
  •  Let the diapers soak in the sun for 2 – 3 hours.
  •  If there are still stains in the diaper, repeat the same the next day.
There are a few pitfalls to keep in mind while sunning diapers. Just because its free to sun diapers , you shouldn’t let your diapers get fried in the sun.
  • Do not let the diapers sit in the sun for more than 2 -3 hours. Too much sun can damage elastics and PUL.
  • In colder months, you can even dry your diapers indoors in a room facing the sun. You can hang the diapers near the window or in a drying rack where the sunlight falls.

2. Lemon Juice:

Another superb natural alternative. In most cases, repeated sunning of the diaper must be able to get the stains out for you. In case, you need an extra boost; lemon juice can do that for you. Mix 50 % lime juice with 50% water, spray over the stains and dry them in sunlight.

3. Buncha Farmers:

Buncha Farmers is a 100% non-toxic stain remover stick made with natural and biodegradable ingredients. It works magic on almost any kind of stains. The best part about these sticks is that you can use these to remove stains from diapers, baby clothes, car seats, and even clean carpet.

The instructions for using Buncha Farmers is straightforward. Just wet the end of the stick, rub over the stained area and through it in the wash. You can be rest assured that stains will be taken care of.

For the toughest of stains like food stains ( think blueberry!) you can dry the diapers under sunlight for better results.


White Vinegar is another excellent alternative to try. Almost every household will have vinegar; you can use this instead of lemon juice. You can spray some vinegar over the diapers, let it soak for a few minutes and then wash regularly.

5. Peroxide :

Hydrogen peroxide is an effective stain remover. You can make a homemade stain remover spray using 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. Just like other stain removers, spray the mixture on the stains and wash away. You can even use an old toothbrush and scrub the area before you throw it in the wash. Soaking and scrubbing can take out even the most stubborn stains.


Borax also is known as Sodium Borate is a naturally occurring mineral. Many use borax to their regular cloth diaper wash to deal with hard water. Borax can also help whiten clothes and remove stains.

You can mix Borax with lemon juice, make it a paste and rub it on the cloth diapers to remove stains. You can also add borax directly into the washer and wash the diapers.

Homemade Stain Removers:

You can use any of the natural ingredients listed above to make your own stain removal spray or paste.

  1. Mix 1/2 cup lime juice and 1/2 cup water in a spray bottle. Spray over the stains and let it soak.
  2.  Borax with lime juice or Borax with peroxide makes a great stain removal paste.

If you are dealing with a particularly nasty stain, then you might need a tough stain removal technique. I wouldn’t recommend using chemical bleach or stain remover for regular use.

Normally,the natural options or homemade stain removers discussed above should get rid of the stains. But occasionally you might need a extreme treatment. Keep this as a last resort when nothing else works are you are desperate to remove the stains.

This method uses blue dawn dish soap, Oxi bleach and Peroxide to remove old set stains on a used cloth diaper. check out the video to learn the exact steps involved in this method.


How to Prevent Cloth Diapers from Staining?

Prevention is always better than cure. Taking some simple precautions can make a huge difference in preventing stains from setting in. Newer stains are easier to deal with than an old set stain.

Here are some tips to prevent stains:

  • Spray the diapers : I love my diaper sprayer. I immediately remove poop and spray my diapers well that greatly helps in preventing stains. If you don’t own a sprayer, then you can always dump the poop in the toilet, give your diapers a quick rinse before throwing them in the storage pail.
  • Use liners : If you don’t like messing with diapers and rinsing them beforehand, then liners can be your best friend. Reusable Liners go over the diaper, catches all the poop and stops them from staining the diaper.
  • Pre-wash in cold water: If you don’t want to do 1 and 2, then atleast give your diapers a quick pre-wash in cold water with 1/4 detergent you use for a regular wash. I wash my diapers in warm water so running a cold pre-wash prevents stains from setting in.

Final Recap:

Stains happen when you use cloth diapers. They are easy to deal with, though. You can remove them with some easy tweaks in your wash routine. Here are the steps to keep in mind while treating stains.

  1. Remove Poop and dump them in the toilet.
  2. Spray your diapers or rinse them to prevent stains from setting in.
  3. Wash your diapers in a regular wash.
  4. When they are still wet, dry them under the sun for 2-3 hours.
  5. If you still notice stains, apply any of the above discussed stain remover ( Buncha Farmers, Lime juice, Borax, Vinegar or Peroxide)
  6. Gently scrub the area using an old toothbrush
  7. Let the diapers sit and soak for 2-3 hours
  8. Re-wash and dry under the sun.
Cloth diapers stains are no big deal. I hope this post relieves you from worrying about diaper stains.

Have you ever dealt with diaper stains? Let me know in the comments what worked for you!



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