Why Am I Getting Stains?

Nappies should smell completely clean and fresh when they come out of the washing machine. If they smell like poo or wee out of the machine, or have stains, it’s time to troubleshoot.

With adequate agitation/loading, a decent detergent and warm-hot water (40-60⁰C), nappies should come out of the machine stain free.

Here are some troubleshooting questions to review…


If needed, pre treat the stain after hand rinsing, before dry pailing

EBF poo, poo nappies that have sat in the pail for more than 24 hours without being rinsed, and foods like blueberries/carrot/tomato can stain. If correct loading, a decent detergent and warm water, isn’t enough, even after rinsing the soiled nappy in hot water and detergent. Try the following…

  • Add laundry booster (eg Vanish powder) in addition to detergent, washing in 60⁰C water to the pre wash cycle. See packet for quantity or use approximately 1/4 of a lid.
  • Apply Sunlight/Sard soap as per directions on the packaging, prior to or after pre wash.
  • Use a spray stain remover product such as Sard/Vanish, use as directed, prior to pre wash.

Image source: Compound Interest

See the Chlorine Bleach and Oxygen bleach vs Chlorine Bleach pages for more information.

Heavy duty stain removal

  • Soak inserts/AIO in a laundry booster product (eg. Vanish/Sard powder) as per directions on the packaging, for a short time prior to washing.
  • Try a more concentrated bleach soak, for inserts only, as per instructions on the Heavy Duty Stain Removal or Serious Ammonia page.

Why is loading important?

Sufficient surface area and friction, along with detergent and water are the factors that remove soiling. Correct machine loading for the main wash is important because the surface area influences the amount of friction that occurs. Too little in the machine results in inadequate surface area and excess suds which means the surfaces of the items don’t hit each other, therefore not enough friction occurs to remove soiling. Too much in the machine and the items don’t move around freely, again the surfaces don’t hit each other, therefore soiling isn’t removed.


Can’t I just put it out in the sun?

You shouldn’t need to rely on the sun to remove stains, that’s the job of the washing machine and detergent. The Ultraviolet as a stain removal and sanitisation method page explains more.


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