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Does Breast Milk Stain Clothing And How Can I Fix That?

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Breast milk is a fascinating bodily fluid. Even if it’s 87% water, the remaining 13% consists of nutrients to power your baby through infanthood.


However, producing breast milk does come with its quirks. Sure, you’re supplying your baby with the best food for growth and development. But at the same time, you deal with things like breast milk stains.


Breast milk stains are those things you don’t immediately notice until it’s too late. That maternity shirt you love so much probably has a yellowish stain on it now because of breast milk. Fortunately, you can get rid of those nasty discolorations.


Does Breast Milk Stain Clothing?

Breast milk is similar to bodily fluids like blood, urine, and sweat. As mentioned above, 13% of breast milk includes other nutrients besides water. 1% of breast milk is protein, while 4% is lipid.


Those numbers sound minuscule. But protein and fat are known to cause stains. That’s why you might see a greasy stain on your clothes if you let it soak breast milk.


And your clothes aren’t the only unsafe fabrics here. Breast milk can also leave a mark on upholstery and carpeting, so you might have to be careful during breastfeeding sessions.


Unlike the usual dirt and grime, breast milk stains won’t leave after one or two washes. Sure, your clothes look clean when you pull them out of the dryer. But those annoying stains will show sooner or later.


How Do I Get Rid of Breast Milk Stains?

Let’s say that you stained your shirt while breastfeeding or that your breasts just decided to leak on their own. What do you do now?


Adding your shirt to your regular batch of laundry won’t fix the stain in the long run. You’ll need to pretreat your discolored clothes with stain-removing products to get rid of the breast milk marks once and for all.


Lucky for you, some of these solutions might already be available in your home. Here are stain-fighting products that are budget-friendly and easily accessible:



We’re not talking about just any laundry detergent. We’re specifically looking for products with enzymes that can break down protein.


Now, do take note that detergents can dry and irritate your skin. In this case, detergent with no enzymes can work. Although, you will need to scrub your clothes in higher temperature water.


Citrus Juice

Citrus fruits, like lemon and lime, are staples for cleaning tough stains. They are rich in citric acid, a natural bleaching agent.


Using 100% citrus juice can clear those marks in no time. But don’t think of using these juices for colored clothes. Citrus is best reserved for white outfits only.


White Vinegar

White vinegar is another acidic option for cleaning your clothes. It can also remove foul smells. To use white vinegar, just add 1/4 cup into your regular wash cycle.


Baking Soda

Baking soda is another well-known all-around stain and dirt remover. Unlike citrus juice and vinegar, baking soda is not acidic. However, it’s more abrasive than regular soap, so it’s more effective at removing staining particles.


Baking soda works best when combined with water. Mix four tablespoons of baking soda into 1/4 cup of water can blast those stains away.


Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an eco-friendly and safe bleaching chemical used as an antiseptic and whitening agent. Unfortunately, it’s not as strong as other synthetic products. Either way, it can still remove stains without causing long-term issues.


All these products can be effective if used efficiently. Here’s a handy tip: Let your clothes dry under the sun. The sun’s heat can naturally bleach your outfit and kill unwanted bacteria and particles from your clothes. Plus, sun drying can remove odor and reduce the likelihood of mold and mildew from growing. It’s hitting multiple birds with one stone!


Can I Use Bleach to Remove Stains?

Bleach is an effective stain-removing product that lots of people own. However, as effective as it is, bleach can cause health side effects.


Bleach can irritate the nose, eyes, and skin and reduce the fire-retardant properties of clothes. If directly exposed to bleach, it can cause burning and respiratory problems.


It’s best to avoid bleaching clothes, especially if it’s worn or touched by children. In case you do wash your clothes in bleach, make sure to rinse them thoroughly.


How Do I Prevent Stains in the Future?

Stains can be a preventable problem if you know how to avoid them.


Stains don’t immediately set in, so you have enough time to remove them before the stick. You can use either cold water or stain-removing wipes to eliminate those discolorations.


While breastfeeding, you can cover yourself and other stainable items with an old towel or sheet that you don’t mind staining. Don’t forget to wipe your baby’s face with a dedicated burp cloth.


Finally, use a nursing pad when wearing an outfit you don’t want to stain. Alternatively, some mothers use a handkerchief to cover their nipples. Just make sure you don’t mind messing up those hankies!



What causes breast milk to stain?

Breast milk, like some body fluids and food products, contains protein and lipids that can cause staining.

Why is bleach unsafe for cleaning breast milk stains?

Bleach can cause irritation at best and burning at worst. It’s best to avoid bleach, especially on clothes for children.

Can breast milk stain other items besides clothes?

Breast milk can stain other fabrics, too, like upholstery and carpeting.



Breast milk is fantastic as food for your baby. But it’s not so fantastic when it gets on your favorite blouse and pants. 


Breast milk can stain clothes because it contains protein and lipids. Protein and fat make stains hard to remove in one wash, so you’ll need to use something else besides soap. Citrus juice, vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide are classic and safe stain removers. Just think twice before you use bleach.


Untimely stains are annoying but not impossible to get rid of. Just a little cleaning agent, water, and elbow grease can make those clothes shine again.