Does Breast Milk Stain Clothes?

Breast milk has a way of leaking like a busted pipe at any time, despite any efforts to protect your wardrobe. Despite the giving nature of your breasts in much-needed proteins, fats, and vitamins, does break milk stain clothes?

Yes, your nursing bra, post-maternity tops, and other clothes will stain due to breast milk’s protein and fat makeup. Other protein-based stains and animal-based secretions include blood, dairy products, and poop. When left untreated, milk stains will stick. But you can get rid of them with the help of baby-safe detergents, stain removers, and protein-breaking enzymes.

Besides treating breast milk stains promptly, you must keep them away from heat; otherwise, they turn indelible. To learn how to keep your wardrobe, baby clothes, and bed linen free of staining, plus how to get rid of those accidental stains.

What Makes Breast Milk Stain Clothes?

Breast milk is nature’s gift to mammals, a readily available substance that contains all your baby needs for healthy growth. Included within milk are immune cells, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and essential vitamins. The nutrient-filled concoction forms a child’s first exclusive meal until they can consume more solid fare.

It’s these same benefits that cause breast milk to stain clothes. Proteins, and to a degree, fatty lipids, are responsible for that yellow-tinted stain left behind by impromptu leakages. The rich fats cause the grease surrounding such staining in your milk. These types of stains are more prominent in your early day’s breastfeeding colostrum.

While regular breast milk leaves a visible stain when fresh, it’s easier to remove than the gold-colored sticky colostrum. Due to its stickiness, first-milk stains can prove a challenge to get off your clothes. But you don’t have to throw out that white blouse, expensive nursing bra, or designer bed sheets yet. That’s because you can confidently remove fresh or set-in staining from garments once and for all.

What Not to Do When Removing Breast Milk Stains from Clothes

Before going into materials suitable for getting rid of breast milk stains from clothes, I will also tell you what you shouldn’t do. Whether you’re dealing with a fresh breast milk spill or a stain that’s set into clothing, you should avoid;

Heating the Stain

When breast milk and other animal-based stains are exposed to heat, the protein coagulates, becoming stickier. Even moderate temperatures are enough to start this process, and rinsing stained clothes in warm water worsens them.

Leaving the Stain to Set

When you leave a breast milk stain to sit for longer, it penetrates your clothes fibers. The stain dries to become more impervious to removal. As the protein molecules break down over time, such staining will yellow, especially on sensitive fabrics like silk or satin.

Using Powerful Cleaners

It would help if you didn’t use chlorine bleach and similar heavy-duty cleaners to clean out breast milk stains. That’ll only end up ruining the fabric. Such products are also unsafe for your baby’s sensitive skin and almost always have odors that can lead to respiratory reactions.

What Type of Cleaners Should I Use to Remove Breast Milk Stains from Clothes?

When it comes to removing breast milk stains, there are laundry products that are both effective and safe for your baby. Milk stains are primarily proteins and fatty lipids, and favorable removers include;

Traditional Detergents

Also known as non-biological detergents are standard gentle and baby-safe cleaners that you probably use in your everyday laundry. While weak in cold water, non-bios work differently on the various milk stain varieties according to the type of milk and age of set-in. Other than that, these soaps are less likely to irritate baby skin and can effectively take on slight, fresh staining.

Biological Detergents

These products are also called enzyme cleaners as they break down proteins using biological enzymes. While quite effective at removing breast milk stains, these detergents also work well in cold water. One downside to using these products is they can cause your baby skin irritation.

You can choose to do away with enzyme cleaners for the best health of your child. However, some do use them for their anti-breast-milk-stain fighting power. Such savvy laundry mums swear by rinsing at least twice more before removing their products from the washer. Silk and wool are natural fibers with proteins components, and these don’t do well when cleaned with biological detergents.

What Is the Best Way to Remove Breast Milk Stains from Clothes?

The best time to remove a breast milk stain is soon after you notice the spill. Rinse fresh, damp stains in cold water since that’s the only temperature that’ll prevent protein coagulation. If the staining isn’t significant, a dab of water with a brush or your fingers is sustainable without distorting or stretching sensitive fabrics.

You can also soak the garment for at least 20 minutes if the breast milk stain is substantial. When your hands are busy elsewhere, like burping a suckled baby, you can leave the affected clothing in cold water, making the staining easier to remove.

Use a washing machine cold cycle to wash your stained clothes normally. Add the detergent you’ve chosen or which is allowed by the cycle or fabric type. By drying your fabrics in the sun, its solar rays naturally bleach stained garments, and you can turn them inside out to avoid color fading. Air drying is also recommended so that you can prevent high temperatures generated by dryers.

How to Remove Breast Milk Stains That Have Set-In Your Clothes

You’ve done all you can to avoid breast milk stains from setting but with a baby on your hands, a few escapes. Set in milk staining can be removed, but for this, a few extra steps are called for to get out the spots for good. 

A stain remover of choice comes in handy to remove set-in breast milk stains, but you must have first dealt with the topical part of the spill. That means that you’ve removed any caked, dried, or flaked milk to allow the cleaner to penetrate the fabric’s fibers.

Use a sponge, microfiber cloth, or soft brush to apply a stain remover to the breast milk staining on your clothes. Allow this to sit for the minimum recommended time according to its user instruction or the maximum. When you’re using a natural substance like lemon juice or baking soda.

After that, machine wash with cold water and your preference of biological or non-biological detergents. If possible, air your garment out to sundry for the temperature evading and natural bleaching reasons.


Are you new to breastfeeding or trying on your last time’s dresses? After your newborn, you may soon find out how embarrassing breast milk stains can be. Staining varies from bad to worst depending on the type of milk you’re producing and the type of fabric stained. By following the tips I’ve provided, you can concentrate on tending to your child or other engagements without worrying about stain spots.