You are not imagining it: that spot you sponged up on the rug is still there, weeks later. Protein stains caused by breastmilk, formula, and the aftermath of those products (hello, spew!) are the bane of new parents, but especially those of us who love adorable baby clothes and accessories. Its hard to watch such cute things get so abused. As we are in the business of selling adorable items, well share a bit of information and advice about protein stains.
Not only are protein stains stubborn, they are also sneaky, sometimes making themselves known after a washing and, because they settle into the fibres, even weeks later in the form of discolouration and yellow splotches on white. Wood floors, carpets, your clothes nothing is safe.
Stain removal tips are great, except that their advice never seems to take into account real life with a baby. When parenting a newborn, its pretty tough to follow the first dictate of stain removal blogs everywhere: act fast. Youre not going to carefully blot that stain up and put some kind of treatment on it, because you have only one free hand, if youre lucky, and the baby needs to be fed again. No, the more likely scenario is that youll change the bib or onesie and toss it in the laundry basket, where it might sit for a few days.
A non-toxic product called Bac-Out by Biokleen allows you to actually follow the act fast rule: just give the stained area a quick spray or soak with Bac-Out and then you can leave the item until its next washing. A lot of parents say that pre-treating with Bac-Out and washing with regular gentle detergent is all they need. Its a lifesaver in the nappy bag.
You can also use enzyme-based washing powders, but check the ingredients; cellulase is an enzyme that will break down cotton fibres over time. Common products such as OxiClean (which contains sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate) and Persil Bio are excellent at stain removal. Skin irritation is rare but possible with these products, so switch to just Bac-Out and a non-biological cleaner if you think your washing powder is causing irritation to your baby.
A few notes: enzyme cleaners do not work at high temperatures, so wash your bibs and bandanas at a medium temperature. Also, baking soda raises the pH of water, so it can counteract the enzymes dont use the two together.
Life with a newborn rarely leaves us with time to be fussy, but if youre burning with a desire to treat some stains, you can blot up the offending spew, rinse through the fabric, and blot on a bit of hydrogen peroxide.