Cloth diapers are fancy poop catchers, so staining is to be expected. Some staining doesn’t bother me, but when a diaper looks like it was recently used even though I just washed it, I feel the need for them to look nicer. An important thing to remember is that stains are not a sign that a diaper is dirty. So if stains don’t bother you, you don’t have to do anything. There are several things you can do and several products you can use to remove stains.
Rinsing your diapers after you take them off can help prevent stains. It won’t prevent all of them though. Especially if your kid ate blueberries. Rinsing can help to make stain removal easier. It can also help prevent ammonia build up in your nighttime diapers.
Lemon juice should be used only as needed, as lemon juice is an acid and could damage the laminate and elastic over time. Thirsties actually suggests using a solution of 50/50 water and lemon juice to remove stains on the inner gussets of their covers. Just spray it on after washing and set it in the sun. Thirsties has a great picture showing the difference that lemon juice can make.
These are both pretty good stain removers. You can read my posts about bleach here and oxygen bleach here. I do advise using these only once in a while. Both kinds are capable of causing damage if you use too much or use it often. Make sure to read the instructions!
Bunchafarmers makes a stain stick and laundry additive that are my two favorite ways of treating stains. I was so excited when they sent me both to review! I use them on my cloth diapers and my regular clothes. The stain stick is great for spot treating (it is awesome at getting breastfed poop stains out of muslin blankets). The laundry additive is made from the same ingredients as the stain stick (all natural!), but it comes as flakes in a tub. There are three or four little cloth bags included that you stuff with the flakes and then toss in with your laundry. Then you wash like normal. I love these because you don’t have to do an extra rinse to get them out, they’re made from natural ingredients, and they work pretty darn well. As an added bonus, the laundry additive also softened my diapers! I haven’t had any problems with the stick or the additive causing damage, repelling, or build up. Maybe I’m weird, but I think it smells rather good.
The best stain remover is… the sun.
Sorry, but nothing beats the sun for stain removal. Lay your stuff out while it’s still wet and let the sun work its magic! Using lemon juice or one of the Bunchafarmers products will help speed up the process, as you can see in the pictures. These diapers (one is a Swaddlebee’s newborn Simplex and the other is a large prefold) were washed with the Bunchafarmers Laundry Additive and then laid out in front of a window (I live in a second story apartment, laying them outside is not an option) for a few hours. These pictures are after just one treatment. As you can see, it got most of the breastfed poo stain out, while the toddler stains are going to require way more treatment. The Bunchafarmers does work well without the sun, but it works even better used in conjunction with the sun.
If you are unable to hang your diapers outside, you can hang them inside in front of a window or lay them on the floor in a sunny spot (what I did). Get creative! Be careful with your covers, because if they get too hot in the sun, it might damage the waterproof layer and elastic.
There you have it.
So when trying to remove stains from your diapers, you have a lot of options. Always be careful and read and follow the directions (which I realize a lot of us don’t do).
To get some Bunchafarmers…
You can find Bunchafarmers Stain Stick at quite a few cloth diapers store. Kelly’s Closet has it (here’s my affiliate link), while the only place that I have seen the Laundry Additive is on their website.