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How to Get Food Stains Out of Baby Clothes

Babies are notoriously messy eaters. Baby food is bound to end up on their clothes, on the walls, on the carpet—basically anywhere about their mouths. Fear not, parents of messy eaters, because there are tried and true methods for removing baby food stains.

How to Remove Food Stains from Baby Clothes?

Those adorable onesies and cute T-shirts you got at your baby shower? They’re going to get messy. Here’s how to get food stains out of baby clothes in a few simple steps.

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Step 1: Remove excess

You first move is to get all the heavy gunk off your baby’s clothes by running it under cold water ASAP. If you’ve got a faucet with high water pressure, you’re in good shape.

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Step 2: Pre-treat

Before you toss baby’s clothes in the washer, give yourself a fighting chance to get the stain out with a pre-treatment. Dreft Laundry Stain Remover [Dreft Laundry Stain Remover - Advanced Cleaning Formula| Dreft] has an advanced cleaning formula to help you tackle the biggest messes. Just spray it directly on the stain and rub it into the fabric. Wait about five minutes and then you’re ready for the next step.

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Step 3: Wash

There’s no need to do anything extraordinary here. Wash your clothes on a normal cycle in warm to hot water using the detergent of your choice. Dreft Stage 2: Active Baby Liquid Detergent [Dreft Stage 2: Active Baby Liquid Laundry Detergent | Dreft] removes 99% of baby food stains, and it’s safe to use in both standard and high-efficiency washing machines, so it’s a great choice. Whatever detergent you use, there’s no need to overpour—use the cap to measure it out just like you would for any other load of laundry

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Step 4: Check the clothes

When the washer buzzes to tell you the cycle has finished, remove the clothes immediately. If one washing doesn’t do the trick, do not put baby’s clothes in the dryer as drying may cause a baby food stain to set in. Instead, repeat the previous steps until the stain goes away.

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Step 5: Dry

Once the stain is out, run the wet clothes through the dryer at a normal setting. When the dryer’s done, fold baby’s clothes right away to prevent them from wrinkling.

The child steps on a soft towel

How to Remove Specific Baby Food Stains

Some food stains are more persistent than others. Here’s what to do when you face one of those hard-to-wash messes.

Fruit and vegetable stains

While blueberries, raspberries, and bananas taste sweet, the stains they leave are tough to treat. A spray-on stain remover will help lift fruit and vegetable mess right out of fabric. If you’re in a jam and don’t have a stain remover on-hand, you can try whipping up a homemade solution of one part vinegar to two parts water and messaging it into the stain. In either case, let the stain soak for a few minutes before washing.

Protein-based stain

Milk, including breast milk, formula, and even spit up can stain baby clothes. In the event of a protein-based stain, you need to act fast. Remove the excess with a cloth, soak it in cold water, and use a pre-treatment like Dreft Laundry Spray before you throw the clothes in the washer.

Oil-based stain

Baby oil can work miracles on diaper rash, but the stains they leave on baby clothes are anything but miraculous. If the stain is fresh, pour some baking powder on it to soak up the liquid. Brush the excess baking soda off baby’s clothes and put some dishwashing soap on the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so, then wash it as usual.

How to Remove Old Baby Food Stains

What do you do when you’re not home, and you’ve got a mess on your hands and on baby’s clothes? First, take a breath—this happens to all parents. When you get home, follow these steps to remove a set-in baby food stain.

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Step 1: Soak

For best results, soak the stained clothes in cold water for a few hours or overnight if you can.

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Step 2: Pre-treat

Spray on a pre-treatment like Dreft Laundry Stain Remover and let it soak for the maximum recommended time.

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Step 3: Wash

Measure out your detergent and pour it in the washer as normal. Wash your clothes on a normal cycle in warm to hot water.

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Step 4: Check the clothes

Once a stain has set in, one wash might not be enough to get it out. Unload after the initial wash and check out the garment. If it’s still stained, throw it back in the washer and wash it again.

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Step 5: Dry

Once you’re satisfied that the stain is out, toss it in the dryer.

How to Get Baby Food Stains Out of Carpet

Carpet is a magnet for baby food stains, especially new carpet. Here are some steps you can take to clean carpet stains fast.

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Step 1: Treat

Use a cloth to sponge up the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent. If you don’t have any on hand, mix two cups of warm water with one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent.

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Step 2: Blot

You don’t want to rub the baby food into the carpet, so blot the stain until the liquid is absorbed.

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Step 3: Repeat

It might take a few rounds of treating and blotting to get a baby food stain out of carpet. Keep going until the stain disappears.

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Step 4: Sponge

Once the stain is out, sponge in some cold water and blot it dry.

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Step 5: Refresh

The stink of a baby food stain can last much longer than the sight of it. Dreft Fabric Refresher & Odor Eliminator [Fabric Refresher and Odor Eliminator Spray | Dreft] removes the smell of a baby mess from carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

Babies can’t help being messy. It’s part of the territory. Now that you know how to get food stains out of baby clothes, you’re ready to keep their wardrobe looking brand new, no matter how messy your little one can be.

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