How To Remove Breast Milk Stains

Motherhood is more rewarding than new parents can often describe.

A new baby is exciting and wonderful, and although you may be delighted, you may also be exhausted.

Sleepless nights and smelly diapers all come with the territory, but you may also find yourself struggling with new stains that you haven’t had to deal with before, like breast milk stains.

When these show up, you may ask yourself, does breast milk stain?

Yes, breast milk will stain, and getting it out can be difficult if you have not encountered it before.

Luckily, we’ve done the research, and getting rid of breast milk stains is easy, especially if you catch it quickly.

All you need are a few basic household items to remove breast milk stains and get back to focusing on your new baby.

Continue reading to learn how to remove breast milk stains.

What You’ll Need

There are a few common household cleaning items that you will need to remove breast milk stains from clothing.

Now that you have everything you need, please continue to read to learn how to get breast milk stains out of fabric.

1. Rinse as much of the breast milk off as possible

Breast milk stains are easiest to remove if you catch them while still fresh.

As soon as you realize some breast milk has spilled onto a garment, run cool water over the affected area.

Do not be tempted to use warm water—the heat could set the stain, making it more difficult to remove.

2. Soak Stained Garment In Cool Water

After rinsing the area, soak the entire garment in cool water for about 15 minutes.

The soaking will help to further prevent the breast milk stain from setting.

Pro tip: If you did not catch the breast milk stain while it was fresh, don’t panic. You can still remove the stain. You will still need to rinse and soak the garment, but make sure that you also gently scrape off any solids or residue that may have formed on the stain as it dried. 

3. Add enzyme detergent and scrub gently

Once the garment has soaked, put some enzyme detergent into the water.

You can even apply a little to the breast milk stain if the stain is old or particularly large.

The enzyme detergent will help break down the proteins in the milk, which causes the stain in the first place.

A good option for this is Active Wear Laundry Detergent & Soak.

It’s a best-seller on Amazon and gets great reviews.

Once you have added the detergent, gently scrub the stain using your fingers or an old, soft toothbrush.

Be careful not to stretch or damage the fabric as you work the stain out.

4. Apply your favorite stain remover

If you find the breast milk stain is more difficult to remove, spray the affected area with your favorite stain remover.

There are both natural and synthetic options, and both types will work well.

Follow the instructions on the package for any additional soaking that the stain remover needs before washing the garment.

Pro tip: Stain removers that contain enzymes are particularly good at fighting breast milk stains because the enzymes lift the proteins off the fabric, removing the stain in the process.

If you are looking for an effective enzyme-based stain remover, try Puracy Stain Remover, Enzyme-Based Stain Remover for Clothes.

I found this product on Amazon and it gets excellent reviews. 

5. Wash Clothing Like Normal

At this point, you can wash the affected clothing item per the manufacturer’s instructions.

We recommend using cool or cold water to avoid accidentally heating the stain while trying to remove it.

If you get milk stains hot, the heat can set them before you have a chance to remove them. 

Once the garment is done washing, examine it to ensure the breast milk stain is completely gone.

If possible, leave the garment to air dry in the sun.

The sun can act as a natural bleach, killing off any remaining microorganism you don’t want on your clothes.

This video demonstrates how to remove several kinds of stains, including breast milk stains. 

The section on breast milk stains begins at 1:11.

1:11—Soak the affected garment in water for a few minutes.

1:16—Add an enzyme detergent to the water.

1:19—Treat the affected area with your favorite stain remover.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does breast milk stain?

Although you might think that breast milk wouldn’t stain because it is a natural product, breast milk will stain fabric.

This natural product is meant to nourish your baby, so it is full of healthy fats, vitamins, and proteins, all of which can stain clothing.

The proteins make breast milk stains a protein-based stain, like other animal and human-based products.

The yellow stains left behind result from the proteins in the milk.

If not treated properly, the stain can set into the clothing and appear months or even years later, especially if the garment in question is stored in an air-tight container.

How can I avoid breast milk stains?

Avoiding breast milk stains is all about prevention.

Breast milk is unlikely to stain if you rinse it quickly, so clean it up immediately as soon as you realize there has been a spill.

Rinse any stained garments using cool water.

If you catch the spill quickly, you should be able to remove it without it staining your garment.

You can also prevent breast milk stains on clothing by using nursing pads and old blankets or towels.

Place these over your nursing pillow and use them to clean up any spillage that may occur.

The pads, blankets, and towels will soak up the breast milk, preventing it from staining any clothing.

Finally, store your baby’s clothing in containers that allow good airflow.

Sometimes, we don’t realize that a few drops have spilled onto that baby’s clothes, especially during a late-night feeding.

If you store the clothes in an air-tight container, the stains may appear months or years later.

In a container with good airflow, breast milk stains are less likely to occur.

Can I use bleach to get rid of breast milk stains?

Although bleach can lift breast milk stains from your clothes, we do not recommend using it.

Bleach can irritate sensitive skin and even cause skin burns or respiratory issues in babies.

It might be easier now, but we advise against taking those kinds of risks with your baby’s clothing.