How to Remove Baby Formula Stains

Formula stains are a mostly unavoidable hazard when caring for an infant, but that doesn't mean you should have to pack away all your nice clothes until after your baby's first birthday. Although yellowish formula stains are notoriously difficult to remove, most respond to proper cleaning and fabric care. So, don't panic and throw away your shirt if your baby spits up on you during a feeding. Instead, head to the kitchen sink as quickly as possible.

Treat the stain immediately whenever possible. If it is very fresh, you can probably remove it with a moist baby wipe or by running it under cold water.

Pretreat with a prewash enzymatic stain remover and then launder the item as soon as possible. If you can wash the affected piece of clothing right away, the stain won't have time to set. If you can't wash the item right away, and rinsing with cold water does not remove it, soak it in cold water until you can throw it in the washing machine.

Pour undiluted lemon juice over dried formula stains on white or very light fabrics. This will remove the darker stain. Place the piece of clothing in the sun to dry.

Remove stubborn stains from light colors, whites and bleachable colors by pouring 1 gallon of cool water into a plastic bucket and adding 1/4 cup household chlorine bleach and 1 cup detergent for automatic dishwashers. Soak for 30 minutes and then launder as usual.

Clean formula stains from carpets and upholstery by sponging the area with a mixture of 1 tablespoon dishwashing detergent and 2 cups cool water 2. Blot well with paper towels to soak up the liquid, and then repeat as necessary.


Only use cold or cool water when attempting to remove baby formula stains. According to the University of Iowa, hot water will set protein stains like those caused by formula or spit up.

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