Why Does Breast Milk Stain?
We all know breastfeeding is healthy, but does anyone know how to explain why?
A woman’s body is capable of producing breast milk that is rich in vitamins, fat, protein, and 800 healthy bacteria. All of these are essential for your baby’s health and growth. Breast milk is the perfect concoction for your baby’s meals.
Unfortunately, the proteins included in the milk have an icky yellow tint that causes spilled milk to stain. Many times, you may find a different type of stain, a greasier one. The greasy stain comes from the fatty part of the milk.
The content and the color of the breast milk can change every single day; it depends on the mom’s diet, the time of the day, and antibodies if the baby is fighting off infection.
Breast milk can cause stains, very much like blood, feces, and dairy products. Protein stains need to be treated promptly and kept away from heat.
In this article, we will shed a light on breast milk stains and the proper way to treat them.
What About Colostrum?
When a baby is born, its immune system is not yet fully developed. This makes them susceptible to infection and disease.
Fortunately, colostrum, the first milk produced by the mother after giving birth, provides newborns with essential antibodies that help protect them from harmful bacteria and viruses.
In addition to boosting immunity, colostrum is also rich in nutrients and growth factors that support intestinal development and help the baby’s digestive system to mature. It also contains substances that promote healing and prevent infection.
As such, it is no surprise that human babies who are fed colostrum have a lower risk of developing allergies, asthma, and other chronic illnesses later in life.
The colostrum is a natural amuse-bouche that is produced during pregnancy, especially for 2 to 5 days after giving birth. The colostrum blends with the breast milk for about 10 to 14 days before the complete transition to breast milk takes place. After that, the colostrum disappears altogether.
One of the benefits of the colostrum is that it is full of protein. Although this is great for the baby, it doesn’t go side by side with white onesies.
Which Cleaning Products Are Safe To Use To Get Breast Milk Stains Out of Clothes?
There are a million products on the market. Still, how can you know which ones are safe to use on baby clothes, nursing attire, and even your own clothes?
Whichever way you lean, make sure that the product you choose has the fewest allergens and irritants. It can be natural or synthetic, but either way, it should not cause rashes and skin irritations afterward.
You have to choose the mildest product available. However, you would still need a detergent and in some cases, natural stain removers with enzymes to break the stubborn proteins in the breast milk. Combining the right detergent and stain remover is the golden blend.
There are two main kinds of detergents you can choose in the market: biological detergents and non-biological detergents.
Biological detergents contain enzymes, and they show a superpower when it comes to breaking down protein stains. They will provide perfectly good clean clothes in cooler water temperatures.
Nevertheless, these enzymes sometimes may cause skin irritation, so some parents like to stay away from them. Avoid a biological detergent that acts as a skin irritant, especially when you are washing your baby’s clothes.
Non-Biological detergents are the perfect choice for you. They are very capable of removing tough stains and do not contain protein-attacking enzymes. To achieve thorough clean clothes, you have to use warm or hot water temperatures.
There is a great chance that, at least once, you will encounter stubborn stains that need to be soaked in something stronger than cold water.
In that case, here are the best synthetic stain removers that will do the stain removal magic:
OxiClean Baby Stain Remover
This product, which will easily remove yellow stains, has a favorable reputation because it is free of dyes and chlorine, and it is oxygen-based.
Dawn Ultra-Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap
We all know the classic old cleaner for greasy stains.
Medela Quick Clean Soap
Although it is commonly used for bottles and pump parts, this is one of the best synthetic stain removers that will get rid of breast milk stains on baby clothes.
Dreft Laundry Stain Remover
Another popular product that will remove breast milk stains at any water temperature.
Biz Laundry Detergent
This is a product that is loaded with enzymes and will quickly remove breast milk stains. It can be used as a pre-treatment or added to the wash cycle.
If you are a fan of natural stain removers, we have a few that will help you with breast milk blemishes:
Lemon or Lime Juice
This is a great choice because it acts as natural bleach; just make sure that it is only the juice in the stain remover bottle you use to spray on your white baby clothes.
Add ¼ cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle and you will get extra clean and bright clothes.
it is known to be eco-friendly and very effective, but hydrogen peroxide may not be the greatest choice when it comes to removing tough greasy spots.
Mix four tablespoons of baking soda in a ¼ cup of water and you got yourself a brand-new all-purpose stain remover.
Can I Use Bleach To Remove Breast Milk Stains?
Although milk stains can get very annoying, don’t get tempted to throw everything in the washer and pour half a bottle of bleach on the clothes. Bleach is so harsh that it can break down polymers included in your baby’s clothes and also will irritate your baby’s delicate skin.
Bleach contains some grating chemicals that will irritate the nose, eyes, and skin and may even cause burns and respiratory issues.
It is safe to assume that you should avoid bleach when removing stains from your baby clothes.
If you are still somehow determined to bleach your clothes, make sure to run the laundry load through an extra two cycles of rinse.
How To Remove Fresh Breast Milk Stains
We all know that when you address an issue quickly, it will be easier to solve it. So, if you immediately clean a milk spill, it will be much easier to remove.
First, you need to rinse off the breast milk with cold water.
Then, soak the fabric for at least 15 minutes in cold water; it will help break down the stain.
Next, you need to work the stain with your hands or a soft-bristled brush but make sure not to overstretch and damage the garment.
Finally, wash the clothing per the label instructions then dry it in the sun.
How To Remove Old Breast Milk Stains
If you are a pretty busy mom and do not have the opportunity to drop everything and rinse a stain right away, try to follow the next steps to get rid of old breast milk stains.
Try to rinse the best you can and scrape any crusty residue.
Spray with your choice of stain remover. Pretreat the fabric by spraying a product of your choice.
Scrub the area, use a toothbrush or some other soft-bristled brush to apply the pretreatment product to the stain.
Let it soak. Leave the product to sit on the fabric for at least fifteen minutes.
Wash per label instructions and dry in the sun. The sun is the most natural bleach in the world.
Carpet and Upholstery
There will be times when that annoying breast milk stain will not be on your clothes but on your sofa or your carpet instead. In that case, you have to act quickly.
The first step is to grab a spoon and scoop up as much liquid as you can. To prevent it from growing, start from the outside and work your way into the stain.
Once you have scooped the majority of the stain, use paper towels or a kitchen roll to soak up the liquid.
The next step is to grab a bowl of cold water and a cloth. Dip the cloth in the water and dab at the stain from the outside in. After you are done, pat the affected area with a towel.
Afterward, create a blend of 2 cups of warm water and one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap. Use a sponge or clean cloth, and take some time to clean the stain with the mix.
Once it is gone, use clean water to remove the soap that is left, and apply a dry towel or dry cloth to remove any excess moisture.
Finally, leave the stain to dry and vacuum it as soon as possible.
What About Mom’s Clothes?
Baby clothes are not the only ones that take a breast milk beating from time to time. Most certainly you have a lot of stained shirts, sheets, and bras begging to be cleaned.
One thing you need to pay attention to is not to use detergents that are aggressive because your baby’s bare skin will be constantly in touch with your body and clothing.
The same steps that worked well for the nursery clothes, work for mom’s clothes too.
- Rinse off the stain.
- Pretreat the fabric with a stain remover of your choice.
- Gently rub with a soft brush.
- Let the stain remover soak in.
- Wash the clothes per the label’s instructions,
- Dry in the sun.
The protein-based stains we all know as breast milk stains can be very greasy and difficult to remove. They are often quite a headache for moms.
The most important thing you need to remember is that improperly treated breast milk stains can remain on your clothes forever. Therefore, you have to rinse, pretreat, and scrub the stain before you put it in your washer.
Use the steps above to avoid reappearing stains on your clean laundry.
If you are a new mom, you will get used to it very quickly. Everyone makes mistakes at the beginning, so don’t worry because you will become a pro at removing stains in no time.