WARNING: Stains ahead...

This might sound crazy, but I was so happy when I found a stained prefold in my son's closet the other day. For weeks now, I've wanted to write a post about treating cloth diaper stains, but I wanted to have before and after shots to prove the method works. I've seen some really dramatic before photos of heavily stained dipes next to after photos of pristine white ones, that looked like nothing had ever happened. But I wanted my own before and afters! [stamps foot] :)

Problem is, I can count on one hand how many times I've had to deal with a cloth diaper stains. I guess I can owe that to my diaper sprayer. I always spray the diaper immediately, trying to get as much off as I can, and wash every couple days. Whenever we have had an issue, it has usually been on natural fibers, and although I have been using flats exclusively since the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, I've had nada. 

flats on line

I'd almost given up on finding a stained dipe, when my luck suddenly changed! As I was going through some prefolds in my son's closet, I found one! I have never been so excited to find a stained prefold! And it wasn't just a little spot, this was heavily stained. Now. Let's get rid of that stain!

stained prefold

You may think that getting rid of cloth diaper stains may be complicated or requires harsh chemicals, but most of the time, it's not and it doesn't. You can treat cloth diaper stains without the use of chemicals AND without spending a dime.

The answer? The Sun! If you take your diaper out of the washer and notice (although it's clean) it has some staining, just lay it out damp in the sun for a 2-3 hours. (Use caution in locations with high heat! You may not want to wait that long to check on your dipe!) More often than not, that's usually all it takes to naturally bleach away the stains.

Since my stained prefold had been in the closet for several weeks, I decided to up the ante. For stubborn, set in stains, you can use a 50/50 mix of water and lemon juice in a spray bottle and spray the stain before laying it out in the sun. ALWAYS be sure to wash the diaper before putting it back on your baby if you use this method. 

spraying prefold with lemon juice solution

I dipped my prefold in the pool to get it wet as it would be out the washer, then sprayed it with the lemon juice/water solution. Then, time to sun...


Two hours later, I went to check on the stained prefold...

TADA! The stain was completely GONE!!!

stain gone!

Oh yeah! We can't forget this:

before and after

When I first heard of sunning diapers to treat stains, I thought it was hogwash... that was until I tried it myself! It really does work amazingly! Bleach and oxygenated bleach can also be used to treat stains, but some manufacturers do not recommend it. Doing so could void the warranty and if not done correctly could damage your diapers. If trying this free, chemical free method doesn't work for you (sometimes you have to do it more than once!), check with your manufacturer to see their recommendations.

And if you can't get the stain out, oh well! Just because your diaper is stained, doesn't mean it's not clean. All that anyone is going to be looking at are those cute colors and prints on the OUTSIDE of the diaper and that beautiful babe that it's on.





Stephanie Beck is a busy mama of four. She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her family. Stephanie started her blog, Apron Strings Attached, because she wanted to share her experiences with raising kids, breastfeeding struggles and success, and cloth diapering. She now enjoys blogging about life in cloth diapers for TGN.