Will Vinegar Take Yellow Stains Out of Baby Clothes?

By Kathryn Hatter
Yellow stains in baby clothing can be unsightly.

When you find yellow stains in baby clothes, it generally indicates a protein stain that occurred from formula, breast milk or spit-up. Yellow stains could also come from dribbled juice. By treating the stain as soon as possible, you have a better chance of removing it successfully. White vinegar might be one way to remove yellow stains from baby clothes, but you may need to try other methods as well.

Put Clothes Away Clean

The longer stains sit in fabrics, the more difficult it can be to remove them because the materials sit in the clothing fibers, according to the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute. For this reason, always check baby clothes before you put them away in drawers or before you pack them away in boxes. Removing set-in stains may become more difficult or even impossible.

Cautions for Vinegar

Using white vinegar on some fabrics could cause a color change, according to Janis Stone, textiles and clothing expert at Iowa State University. Fabrics such as cotton, rayon and silk may change color with the use of white vinegar. Before using vinegar on baby clothing, test it on a seam allowance and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes to determine whether the fabric is colorfast.

Stain Removal Technique

Gather the soiled baby clothes to pretreat them with a vinegar treatment. Add 1 quart of warm water, a 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a sink. Add the clothes and allow them to soak for 15 minutes, advises Ernestine Porter, extension textiles and consumer environment specialist form the University of Idaho, in a fact sheet produced by Oregon State University. Remove the clothing and rinse it well in warm water. Wash the clothes in a regular wash cycle in cold water and then assess the staining. The vinegar may remove the stain or you may need to try additional removal techniques.

Whiten with Vinegar

To ensure that baby laundry stays white and bright, begin adding white vinegar to wash loads. Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to baby laundry during the final rinse cycle, suggests Vicki Lansky, author of “Practical Parenting Tips.” The vinegar will eliminate uric acid and soap residues from the clothing, which can cause dull and dingy clothes.

Other Whitening Techniques

Use additional whitening techniques to remove yellow stains from baby clothing. Hang clothes on a clothesline outside in the sun, advises Jenn Savedge, author of “The Everything Green Baby Book.” Sunshine acts as a natural clothing brightener, often lifting stains from fabrics. You might also rub baking soda into a yellow stain in baby clothing to fade it, suggests Lansky.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.