42 answers

4 Year Old Breastmilk Stain Removal?

This is a good one--hope someone can help!

I went digging through my daughter's old newborn clothes today (she is almost 4), and the entire bin appears ruined. :( Several years ago, I carefully washed, dried, and folded everything 0-6 months and put them away in a Rubbermaid storage bin and up into the attic. Today when I started pulling items out, every item which is light pink or white has horrible yellow stains all over the collar and shoulder areas. I could not believe my eyes. My first thought was that something seeped into the bin or water damage of some sort, but it could not be since some clothes were not even touched and others were severely stained. Also, the stains are only on the collar and shoulder areas of all the tops/onesies/rompers.

My second thought is maybe breastmilk has something in it that even though you wash it and it comes clean, something stays in the fibers forever? My daughter had terrible acid reflux/spit up as an infant and it honestly looks like wherever spit up or breastmilk may have once been, it came back. Could heat exposure (in the attic) or just the passing of time have brought back former spit up stains like this?

The real kicker is that nothing in the 6-12 months bin has this problem. Coincides with the fact I stopped nursing around 8 months and she quit spitting up around 6 months? I am no detective ladies, but I am trying to figure this out!

Anyone have any suggestions? I have washed and oxi-cleaned the whole lot, but to no avail. The stains remain.

On a side note, I am crushed. Some of those clothes are so special to us and we can remember exactly where she wore them and how she looked. The whole reason I was looking through the bins was for a special tribute I was going to make using some of her cutest newborn clothes and my own. Not to mention they could have all been used/worn again when I put them in there...

Help! Thanks in advance~

R.

12 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi ladies!

First off, thank you all so much! The number of responses and amount of information was overwhelming! Oxi Clean seemed to be the most consistent method recommended and it is a product and method I am familiar with...so here is my story.

I used about 8 big scoops of Oxi Clean Powder, filled the garden tub with scalding hot water, and just threw everything in. About 6-8 hours after that, I added more scalding water and more powder. Less than 24 hours later...right now...every stain is gone! I do not see any discoloration or changes to the fabrics. I was a little worried about the concentration of Oxi Clean and it damaging the clothes, but everything looks okay.

Now for drying in the sun...wow a clothesline would be nice right now! Never thought those words would come out of my mouth!

On a side note, I am going to store these clothes in a closet inside the house from now on and see what happens. I still find it strange that none of the burp cloths or bibs had any stains on them, but maybe the fibers in these items are specially designed to prevent this? Maybe we really are getting what we pay for in some cases!

Thanks so much again to everyone for your war stories and helpful insight!

R.

Featured Answers

If I were you I would use oxi-clean. You can buy it in a powder. Dampen the clothes and put the powder right on the stains and wash. I would put the amount in the wash load along with the clothes that has the powder on them. I would probably buy some Zout and spray it on the clothes along with the oxy-clean and hopefully the stains will come out. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I've had good luck with white vinegar. I was given clothes with dark stains and yellow spots also. The vinegar worked wonders. Now I use a combo of Spray N Wash and white vinegar. It works well. My grown kids even bring me things to remove stains. It doesn't seem to harm any fabric thus far.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same problem w/ my kiddos clothes. I sprayed the spots with Dreft Stain Remover or Totally Toddler, let it sit for a few minutes and then soaked it in OxyClean (a whole scoop in the bucket). It took days of soaking, but most of the stains have come out. I don't know if they are gone for good or if they will come back up after awhile. I've also read that drying them in the sun helps. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I know you've had so many responses you don't need any more. I just wanted to help clear up the stain mystery.

It is indeed proteins staining the clothes, in addition to the milk protiens it's the proteins found in the stomach fluids that are staining the clothes. (This is why both ERA, Folex and Oxi-Clean work.) That's why it doesn't matter what you feed your kid, the spit up will stain. And this is why that which comes out the other end stains too.

Also, plastic will always out-gas some kinds of volatile hydrocarbons. These react with the proteins in the fabric and cause the change in color. Especially in a nearly air tight situation. This is why you don't use plastic to store natural fabrics/paper long term.

This is also one of the reasons(non-acidic materials is another) why scrap-bookers use very special materials to keep their treasures safe over time. I'm not sure what type of plastic is used for those page sleeves, but you can bet they've found one that out-gases something that won't react with the proteins in the papers and inks. And because the book isn't stored in an air tight container, the hydrocarbons can escape.

Glad you got the clothes clean, you've got more determination in that way than I do.

3 moms found this helpful

R.,,
I had the same problem and used BIZ Powder Detergent, but you must use a cupful in a dishpan or large bowl and let them soak for a couple of days. They will be bright and like new. For insurance, treat with stain remover before soaking.I usually rub the stains occasionally as they soak.
Most washers don't get all the chemicals out in one wash, and with time they get yellow again. IN MOST CASES THE BIZ SOAK WORKS GREAT! It won't damage fabrics at all. I've used it for 32 years successfully.

2 moms found this helpful

I had the same thing happen with my son's clothes! He was a preemie, and on iron fortified vitamins. He also had terrible reflux, and was on zantac for over 9 months. I completely breastfed him for 9 months and then continued morning, evening, and bedtime until he was a little over a year. When my due date for my daughter got closer (he was 5 1/2) I started going through some of his clothes to pull out nuetral colored onesies that she could use. I have saved all his infant clothes wanting to make a quilt with them. I had washed everything before putting it all into boxes as well. We kept the boxes in a closet in the house, and yet when I puled his clothes out a lot of them had stains on them, and the stains were all neat the collar area. I thought it was because the vitamins had mixed with the milk and stained them. But now I'm wondering if it has something to do with the actual milk!! It's interesting to know that it didn't just happen to us. I haven't tried anything to remove the stains. I'll have to cut pieces out of the outfits to make a quilt anyway, so I just figured I would cut around the stains. I haven't noticed if the same has happened with my daughter's clothes yet since I haven't gone through any of them, she's not quite 2. Good luck, I hope you can find something to get the stains out. My sister swears that if you mix 1/2 water to 1/2 ammonia then add 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar that will get out any stain. I haven't tried it yet though. Let me know if you find something that works!
J.

2 moms found this helpful

I had the same problem w/ my kiddos clothes. I sprayed the spots with Dreft Stain Remover or Totally Toddler, let it sit for a few minutes and then soaked it in OxyClean (a whole scoop in the bucket). It took days of soaking, but most of the stains have come out. I don't know if they are gone for good or if they will come back up after awhile. I've also read that drying them in the sun helps. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Rachael,

Try Mean Green, you can buy it at Walmart or the Dollar Store. I spray it on my girls clothes and toss them in the washer when I find stains or sometimes I let it soak a few hours. Or try vinegar and let it soak for a few hours or a day and then wash. My baby had an outfit that had mold/mildew all over it from sitting wet. My mom poured apple cider vinegar all over it and let it soak in water for a few hours. She did do a small amount of scrubbing after it soaked, then let it soak for a few more hours. It looks fabulous. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm sure that the breast milk just reappears magically when you least wnat it to. It happend to my dtrs old clothes. ...?the disadvantage of breast feeding? ... :)
Who knows.
Then I was not aware of FOLEX (found only at Lowe's).
Granted it is a carpet spot remover but I use it also as a laundry stain remover.
So far, I haven't had a adverse reaction with any clothes that I have used it on.
It got the breast milk spitup out of my 2nd dtrs clothes. Another stain that never seems to go away is sdrool when kids are teething...it works on that too!! It got the tar out of my carpet from our moving dolly and grease out of hubbys clothes.
I use it on any and all stains.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes it's breastmilk. Oxygen bleach (not chlorine bleach) and the sun. Try several washings.

1 mom found this helpful

If I were you I would use oxi-clean. You can buy it in a powder. Dampen the clothes and put the powder right on the stains and wash. I would put the amount in the wash load along with the clothes that has the powder on them. I would probably buy some Zout and spray it on the clothes along with the oxy-clean and hopefully the stains will come out. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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