How to Remove Stains from your Reusable Cloth Diapers

Removing Stains in Cloth Diapers

Table of Contents
Is it Normal for Cloth Diapers to Stain?
Types of Cloth Diaper Stains?
Stains & Cloth Diaper Performance
Cloth Diaper Stain Removers
Tips on Preventing Stains

You have figured out
how to wash your cloth diapers and found a wash routine that works for your family, but now you have come across a few stains. Don’t Panic! It is important to know that as long as your diapers smell clean, there is nothing wrong with your wash routine if your diapers come out with a stain or two. If your cloth diapers still smell soiled, it is best to throw them in for another wash. However, if they smell clean, it is likely that your cloth diapers are stained.

 “Is It Normal for Cloth Diapers to Stain?”

Stains on cloth diapers are an inevitable aspect of the cloth diapering journey, but they don't signify failure or inadequacy. In fact, they're quite normal and can be viewed as badges of honor, showcasing the active use of eco-friendly alternatives to disposables. Cloth diapers, unlike their disposable counterparts, often leave behind remnants of certain substances, especially from breastfed babies, due to the natural pigments present in their waste. Additionally, minerals in water or residues from detergents can contribute to staining.

Rather than viewing stains as unsightly blemishes, it's essential to recognize them as evidence of a diaper doing its job—absorbing and containing messes. Embracing stains not only normalizes the cloth diapering experience but also reminds us of the environmental benefits and personal commitment to sustainability that come with choosing reusable options.

Stains are part of cloth diapering. Over time, stains can begin to lift and wash away. However, if you’re looking to get rid of your cloth diaper stains, here are a few tips!

It is important to know what type of stain you are dealing with. First, lets discuss types of cloth diaper stains you may come across and have to tackle with cloth diapers!

Poop Stains: The consistency of Poop can vary through every stage of growth, which in turn causes different stains. Newborn Poop and Exclusively Breastfed poop can stain, and may leave bright yellow colored stains on your cloth diapers. While Toddler poop can leave more of a brown stain.

Food Stains: If your little one has started on solids, then expect to see some colorful stains. For example – Spinach can leave green stains, blueberries can leave purple stains, etc.

Mold: Mold can start growing when you let your soiled diapers sit unwashed for a long period of time. Ensuring your cloth diapers are sprayed clean of solids and stored where there is air ventilation and washed every 2-3 days can help prevent mold growth. To read more about tackling mold, visit our Blog Post.

Mineral Stains: Do you have Hard Water? Washing Cloth Diapers in Hard Water can cause Mineral Build up affecting the absorbency of your cloth diapers, and can even cause a rusty brown stain. To learn more about Cloth diapers and hard water, head to our blog post here.

Zinc Stains: Zinc is an ingredient found in diaper creams. Zinc oxide creates a barrier against moisture and can be very effective against diaper rash,  However, since zinc tends to stain, it is recommended to use a disposable liner or sheet to make sure you protect your diaper. It may take several treatments to fully remove the zinc stains but as long as the diaper is not repelling water and causing diaper leaks, you can use the diaper while you’re removing the staining.

Pink Diaper Syndrome: Pink diaper syndrome: Rare but not uncommon, This rare staining is often due to the bacteria Serratia Marcescens. It can also be due to your baby's diet, or if they've recently taken any medications that may stain the diaper. 

Treatment: While this can be challenging to remove, bleach can lighten these stains. Sun exposure may further reduce their appearance. Keep reading for bleach, and sun treatment. 

Other Causes:  Other causes of stains on your cloth diapers could be from illnesses or medications (causing your baby's pee or poop to cause stains. Rash creams, or detergent. it's important to note that there are several causes to consider when we see cloth diapers retaining some staining. 





Stains & Cloth Diaper Performance: 

  • Good news! Staining is common, and will not affect diaper performance 
  • Stains do not mean your cloth diapers are dirty. 
Please note: Because stains don't affect diaper function, they are not covered by warranties. Check out Nora's full warranty policy here 

Now that we have discussed a few stains one may come across while cloth diapering, let’s talk about our recommended Cloth Diaper Stain Removers.


If you find your cloth diapers are stained, you will discover that the Sun can be your best remedy.

  1. Wash your cloth diapers as you normally would
  2. While wet, find a sunny spot to lay your diapers, inside up
  3. Allow them to sunbathe for 2-3 hours.
    * If you live in an extremely hot climate, only allow your diapers to sunbathe for 1 hour at a time. Very high temperatures can melt the elastics in the diapers.

Oxygen Bleach:
Add a small scoop of Oxiclean or BioKleen oxygen bleach to your diaper load to help remove any staining.

Laundry detergents with enzymes can help prevent staining. One brand we often recommend is Tide. The Enzymes in this detergent “eat away” at the stains by breaking down proteins with every wash. Read our 'Best Detergents for Cloth Diapers Blog' on our website for our top detergent recommendations! 

Buncha Farmer’s Stain Stick or Grandma’s Spot Remover:
These are natural cloth stain removers. Buncha Farmers is a stick and Grandma’s is a liquid. Apply them as a pre-treater for removing stains.


Sun, Water and Oxygen Bleach Solution:
Use a spray bottle filled with water and oxiclean, spray newly washed, damp diapers and follow the same steps when laying your diapers in the sunshine.


Some Tips on preventing Cloth Diaper Stains:

Invest in a Diaper Sprayer. This will help remove any solids from the cloth diapers, especially if they will be sitting for a day or two before getting washed.

Use Liners: This not only helps prevent stains, but also allows an easier clean up! Check out our Disposable Bamboo Cloth Diaper Liners on our website!

Add an extra rinse to your cloth diaper laundry routine. Sometimes heavily soiled Cloth Diapers may just need an extra rinse, or two! 

When there’s poop involved, pre-rinse your diapers in WARM water before tossing it in a hot cycle. Washing directly in hot water can ‘bake’ in the stain, whereas rinsing it in warm water first will help it loosen from the fibres.

*Do you have hard water? Remember that if you have hard water that a water softener needs to be added to all rinse and wash cycles. Check out our blog here for more tips, and tricks on washing with hard water. 

Despite what you may have heard, newborn poo does stain. A diaper that catches newborn poop can sometimes stain a light shade of yellow. Fortunately, this should come out on its own after a few washes.



1. Q: If my diapers have stains on them, does that mean they are dirty? 

A: Absolutely not! Stains are common, especially with cloth diapers, and just because you are left with a stain, does not mean your diapers are dirty! 

2. Q: Are stained cloth diapers safe to use?

A: As long as they smell fresh and clean post-wash, they are safe for use.

3.Q: What would cause my diapers to have mold/mildew on them? 

 A: improper storage and washing routines often lead to mold growth.


When it comes to stain removal, and a wash routine, it is important to find the best solution that works for you and your family.
Still have questions? Be sure to download our E-Book for everything you need to know about Cloth Diapering.

About Nora's

Here at Nora's we pride ourselves on providing you and your little ones with sustainable Cloth Diapering and Nursery products that are made with the highest quality materials and up-to-date on stylish designs and functionality.

What's New