Can You Use Vanish On Newborn Baby Clothes : A Parent’s Guide to Washing Baby Clothes

Washing baby clothes is a task every parent knows all too well. Stains seem to magically appear and can be a real challenge to remove.

From milk to poo, baby clothes including the cloth nappy have a knack for attracting all manner of stains. In this article, we’ll delve into the practical world of removing those stubborn stains from baby clothes.

Lets explore the best ways to wash them, and learn the tips and tricks that every parent and first time mum needs to know. If you’re struggling with stained baby garments, this is a must-read guide for you.

Why Do Baby Clothes Stain So Easily?

Baby clothes are often made of soft and sensitive fabric that absorbs liquids quickly. These fabrics tend to hold onto stains more readily, and they can be a real worry for parents.

Understanding the Fabric

Baby’s clothes are often made of cotton, which is soft on the baby’s skin but can easily absorb stains. The fabric’s nature makes it more susceptible to holding onto those inevitable spills and accidents.

Feeding and Diapering Mishaps

Especially with newborns, feeding mishaps with breast milk or formula, and diaper accidents involving urine and feces are common. These can lead to stains that require specific treatment.

What Are the Most Common Stains?

From milk to poo, the list of common baby stains is long. Every parent will encounter these at some point.

Milk Stains

These are often white and can be tricky to remove if not treated promptly.

Poo and Urine Stains

These stains can be particularly stubborn, requiring pre-treatment with a stain remover like Vanish Gold or soaking in a bucket of cold water with a scoop of stain-removing powder like Napisan.

How to Wash Stained Baby Clothes? A Step-by-Step Guide

Washing baby clothes requires care and attention to the specific needs of the garment.

Sort the Clothes

Sort baby clothes by color and type. Washing whites separately will help to keep them bright.

Choose the Right Detergent

For sensitive baby’s skin, using a non-bio laundry detergent is recommended. Add the appropriate amount as per the instruction on the bottle.

Wash and Rinse

Wash the baby clothes in cold water and rinse thoroughly to remove all detergent residue.

What Detergents and Stain Removers to Use for Washing Baby Clothes?

Choosing the right products for washing baby clothes is crucial.


Non-bio detergents are gentle on baby’s skin, while stain-removing gels and sprays can work wonders on stubborn stains.

When it comes to washing newborn baby clothes, it’s essential to choose detergents that are both gentle on the baby’s sensitive skin and effective in removing stains. Here are some popular detergents suitable for this purpose:

  1. Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Liquid Detergent: One of the most popular choices for many parents, Dreft is hypoallergenic and specifically designed for newborns’ delicate skin.
  2. All Free Clear: Known for being gentle, it’s a dye-free, fragrance-free option that’s hypoallergenic and often recommended by pediatricians for baby laundry.
  3. Seventh Generation Free & Clear: An eco-friendly choice, this detergent is plant-based and free from dyes, fragrances, and artificial brighteners.
  4. Babyganics Laundry Detergent: Formulated without optical brighteners and with plant-based ingredients, it’s safe for baby clothes and effective on stains.
  5. Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent: Made with plant-derived enzymes, it effectively tackles dirt and stains while being gentle on sensitive skin.
  6. Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent: Dermatologically tested for sensitive skin, this formula is plant-based and mineral-based, ensuring gentleness.
  7. Biokleen Baby Laundry Liquid: This formula is free from harsh chemicals and fragrances, designed to be gentle yet powerful on baby stains.
  8. Honest Company Free & Clear Laundry Detergent: Known for its natural products, this detergent is hypoallergenic and specially formulated for sensitive skin.
  9. Molly’s Suds Original Laundry Powder: Made with natural ingredients, it’s safe for most fabrics and designed for sensitive skin.
  10. Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder: It’s an eco-friendly, hypoallergenic detergent that’s effective in removing baby stains without added perfumes or chemicals.

When using any detergent for newborn clothes:

  • Read the Instructions: Always follow the recommended amount. Overusing detergent can leave residues that might irritate the baby’s skin.
  • Double Rinse: Consider rinsing baby clothes twice to ensure all detergent is washed out.
  • Spot Test for Stains: For tough stains, it might be useful to do a spot treatment before washing. Just ensure the chosen stain remover is safe for babies.

Always remember to check the ingredients and the product label to ensure a detergent’s suitability for newborns. If in doubt, consulting with a pediatrician can be a good idea.

Stain Removers

Products like Vanish can be used to pre-treat stains. A mixture of white vinegar and baking soda can also create a fizz that helps in stain removal.

Here are some stain removers that are generally considered safe for newborn clothing:

  1. Babyganics Stain & Odor Remover: Formulated with plant-based ingredients, it’s gentle and effective for baby clothes.
  2. Burt’s Bees Baby Stain Remover: Made with natural ingredients, it’s safe for the baby’s sensitive skin.
  3. Dreft Stain Remover: A popular choice for many parents, Dreft is formulated specifically for baby clothes and is very effective against common baby stains.
  4. Puracy Natural Laundry Stain Remover: This plant-based formula is hypoallergenic and free of harsh chemicals, making it suitable for baby garments.
  5. Seventh Generation Baby Stain Remover: Known for its eco-friendly products, this stain remover from Seventh Generation is effective and gentle on baby clothing.
  6. Honest Company Stain Remover: Made without fragrances and dyes, it’s an excellent choice for babies with sensitive skin.
  7. Ecover Stain Remover: This formula contains plant-based ingredients and is gentle enough for newborn clothes.
  8. Better Life Stain & Odor Eliminator: An all-natural formula that is effective for treating baby clothes stains.
  9. ECOS Stain + Odor Remover: Formulated with plant-powered ingredients, it’s safe for most fabrics and is effective against a variety of stains.
  10. Attitude Little Ones Concentrated Stain Remover: Made with natural, hypoallergenic ingredients, it’s an excellent choice for parents seeking eco-friendly solutions.

When using any stain remover, it’s essential to:

  • Spot Test: Always perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area to ensure the product doesn’t damage or discolor the fabric.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: After treating the stain, rinse the garment well to ensure all product residues are removed.

How to Remove Specific Stains from Baby Clothes?

Different stains require different approaches.

For Milk Stains

Soak the stained garment in cold water and rub gently with stain remover or all-purpose cleaner.

For Poo and Urine Stains

Pre-treat the stain with a suitable stain remover, then wash with non-bio detergent.

How to Dry Baby’s Clothes Without Damaging the Fabric?

Drying baby clothes requires care.

Air Dry

Hang the baby’s clothes to dry, avoiding direct sunlight that can fade the colour.

Avoid the Dryer

The heat from a dryer can damage delicate baby fabrics. Air drying is the safer option.

Can Regular Clothes Laundry Detergent Be Used for Washing Baby Clothes?

Regular clothes detergent may be too harsh for baby’s sensitive skin. It’s best to stick to non-bio detergents formulated specifically for baby clothes.

How to Pre-Treat Stained Baby Clothes?

Pre-treatment helps in tackling stubborn stains.

Soak in Cold Water

For most stains, soaking the clothes in cold water with a gentle detergent or stain remover helps.

Use Specific Stain-Removal Products

Products like Vanish Gold can be applied directly to the stain and left to soak.

Cloth Diapers: How to Wash and Remove Stains?

Cloth diapers require special care.


Rinse cloth diapers in cold water to remove solids.

Wash with Care

Wash with a mild washing powder, and consider using a stain remover for stubborn spots.

Tips and Tricks for Every Parent to Make Washing Baby Clothes Easier

A few handy tips can make the process less daunting.

Always Read Care Labels

The garment’s care instruction should always be followed.

Have a Stain Removal Kit Handy

Keep stain removal products like Vanish and white vinegar ready for quick action on fresh stains.

Conclusion: Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Fabrics: Know the material of your baby’s clothes.
  • Detergents and Stain Removers: Choose baby-friendly products.
  • Wash and Dry with Care: Follow specific steps for washing and air dry when possible.
  • Common Stains: Learn how to tackle milk, poo, and urine stains.
  • Cloth Diapers: Have a specific approach for washing and stain removal.
  • Tips and Tricks: Equip yourself with the knowledge and tools needed for effortless washing.

Washing baby clothes doesn’t have to be a dreaded household chore. With the right approach and products, even the most stubborn stains can vanish.

Make sure you have your stain remover, non bio detergent, and a little patience, and those baby clothes will look good as new!



What is the best type of detergent to use for baby clothes?

It’s best to use non bio washing up liquid or detergent for baby clothes as they are formulated to be gentle on delicate baby skin.

These detergents lack certain enzymes present in regular detergents that can sometimes cause irritation to sensitive skin.

How often should I wash my baby’s clothes?

You should wash your baby’s clothes after every wear to ensure cleanliness, especially if there are visible stains or if the baby has been sweating.

Clothes like bibs or cloth diapers might need more frequent washing due to regular soiling.

Can I use stain removers like Vanish on baby clothes?

Yes, you can use stain removers like Vanish on baby clothes to get rid of stains. However, it’s always best to do a spot test on a hidden area of the garment first to ensure it doesn’t damage or discolor the fabric.

Also, ensure that the clothes are rinsed thoroughly to remove all product residues.

Is it safe to use bleach on baby clothes to remove stains?

It’s not recommended to use bleach regularly on baby clothes especially newborn clothes, as it can weaken the fabric and may cause irritation to the baby’s skin.

If you must use bleach, opt for a non-chlorine bleach and use it sparingly. Always follow the care instructions on the garment’s label if they get stains on them.

Can I mix baby clothes with regular clothes during washing?

While it’s technically okay to mix baby clothes with regular clothes, it’s often recommended to wash baby clothes separately.

This ensures that the garments are washed in a milder detergent suitable for babies and helps to avoid any potential irritants from adult clothes or stronger detergents.

Can I use Fairy Detergent to wash Newborn Baby Clothes?

Yes, Fairy Detergent, especially the Fairy Non-Bio variant, is formulated to be gentle and is often recommended for washing newborn baby clothes.

It’s hypoallergenic and designed to provide a thorough clean while being soft on a baby’s sensitive skin.

However, as with any detergent, it’s always a good idea to follow the recommended dosage and ensure clothes are rinsed well.

If you notice any skin irritation on your baby, consult with a pediatrician and consider doing an extra rinse cycle to remove any detergent residues.



This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.