How to Remove Poop Stains

Knee-deep in poopy cloth diapers? Remove those pesky stains with these easy, foolproof methods.

Have you ever been holding your precious new baby when you felt a little explosion from their bottom?

Has your baby ever had such a massive blowout that poop was all the way up their back and a diaper change turned into bath time?

Of course, your baby had on those cute white jammies you love. Now they’re covered in poop stains and you’re wondering if there’s any way to save money on buying another pair.

We ended up with a ton of white baby clothes when we decided not to find out our baby’s gender. Also, we use cloth diapers so I’ve experimented a lot with removing stains to make clothes and diapers last.

It’s possible to remove old and new stubborn poop stains to get your cloth diapers, baby clothes and even your carpet (yes, this happens) looking good as new.

I’ll show you the most effective methods, safest products and six simple steps I use to remove those pesky poop stains.

Simple And Effective Poop Stain Removal

Sunning alone works wonders as a natural bleacher for most stains. However, this isn’t always an option if you live somewhere with dreadfully cold winters or in an apartment without space to hang clothes outside. Plus, there are always those stubborn poop stains in need of a little something extra.

How To Prevent Poop Stains

Take Note

Cloth diapers are great at preventing blowouts because of their shape and elastic gussets around the waist and legs. Even if you prefer the convenience of disposables, invest in a handful of cloth diaper covers to protect the disposables.
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With cloth diapers, you won’t have to change your baby’s outfit when she poops, or get her in the bathtub after every poo explosion.

If you already use cloth, cut up fleece liners for your diapers to catch the poop and prevent stains. The poop comes off fleece liners easily, especially once your baby is on solid food.

WalMart sells fleece blankets for next to nothing, and you can cut up around 30 liners from one blanket. To get an outline for the cut-out, you can use one of your cloth inserts.

Viva paper towels also work well as liners, although using them may not be as environmentally friendly as you’d like. Fleece liners are cost-effective as they can be washed and reused if necessary.

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Natural Or Synthetic Cleaning Products?

In removing poop stains, decide if you would prefer natural methods or if you’re okay with using synthetic products when needed. This is a personal choice and each method has its pros and cons.

Take Note

One major reason why many moms choose natural products is the safety factor. Synthetic cleaning products could be harmful long-term or if misused, as they often contain probable and known carcinogens, such as phthalates, phenols, and formaldehyde (1).

However, natural products aren’t as easily accessible as synthetic ones, especially if you live in rural areas without nearby natural grocers. Online orders usually take at least two days to arrive, and if you’re dealing with a poop explosion, you’ll need a stain remover immediately.

Safe Cleaning Products For Cloth Diapers

If you are trying to remove stains from cloth diapers, make sure the stain remover and detergent you are using are cloth safe. There are online detergent indexes to check the safety level of your cleaning agents. All the stain removers listed in this article have been approved as cloth safe (2).

Removing Stubborn Poop Stains

1. Remove The Poop

Rinse off poop from cloth diapers and garments as soon as possible. A cloth diaper sprayer we hooked right up to the toilet saved our sanity! If you’re dealing with poopy carpets, try to pick up as much as possible (using a plastic bag or rubber gloves), so you don’t mash anything into the floor.

2. Soak In Water

Soak the poop-stained garment in warm water. For cloth diapers and carpets, use a spray bottle to soak the stained area. Luckily, spray bottles are cheap and easy to find so buy a few spare bottles to keep around the house.

3. Use One of These Stain Removers

Pick one of these stain removers, depending on whether you favor natural or synthetic products.

Natural Stain Removers

  • Buncha Farmers Stain Stick: Rub the stain stick right on the wetted down stain, or fill a spray bottle with hot water, and finely grate some of the stick into the bottle. Mix before spraying.
  • Lemon Juice: Either squirt a tiny bit directly on the wet stain or combine ¼ cup lemon juice with 1 cup water in a spray bottle and spray the stained area.

Synthetic Stain Removers

Homemade Stain Removers

  • Dawn dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda: Dawn isn’t natural, but this trio is effective. Combine two parts peroxide with one part Dawn and one part baking soda. Two cups peroxide and one cup each of Dawn and baking soda makes a large batch you can store for future use.
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4. Scrub And Let Sit

After applying a stain remover, scrub the stained area using a toothbrush. You can use old or new toothbrushes. Let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes after scrubbing.

5. Wash Thoroughly

Wash the garments or diapers as you normally would or throw cloth diapers in the diaper pail until the next wash. Be sure that your laundry detergent is baby and cloth safe (if you’re using cloth diapers).

For carpets, rinse using a spray bottle filled with cool water. Then pat dry with a cloth or towel or place a fan over it.

6. Dry In The Sun

If possible, hang the garments and diapers out to dry in the sun after the main wash (while they are still wet). Remember to hang colored clothes or clothes with print on them inside out to prevent fading. Hang cloth diapers “hot dog style,” to avoid stretching out the elastics.

The Bottom Line

In summary, here’s how you remove stubborn poop stains:

  1. Remove/rinse off poop.
  2. Soak the garment/diaper/carpet in warm water.
  3. Use stain remover of choice.
  4. Scrub the stained area with a toothbrush and let sit for at least 10-15 minutes. For cloth diapers, you can just throw them in your diaper pail until the next wash.
  5. Wash normally.
  6. Sun-dry if possible.

Stains remind us how messy motherhood can be. But, it is indeed possible to remove even the most stubborn poop stains. With some effort, you’ll have those baby clothes, cloth diapers, and maybe even your carpet looking good as new!

Have you found an effective method for removing poop stains? Let’s hear what works for you in the comments. Share this with your mama friends who are also knee-deep in poopy diapers.

Headshot of Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Reviewed by

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN is an oncology nurse navigator and freelance medical writer. Mary has 4 years of experience as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. including emergency/trauma, post-anesthesia, and deployment medicine.
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