Fluffy Friday: Getting Rid of Cloth Diaper Stains WithOUT Using Bleach – Sun Them!

A long time ago, I wrote a post about sunning cloth diapers.  I mean a really long time ago – 1 1/2 years ago {hey, that’s a really long time ago in the blog-o-sphere}!  So, I thought I would revisit the subject today and show you a great, easy, cheap, and natural way to get rid of cloth diaper stains!

First, let me say that you can bleach inserts.  Most cloth diaper users and companies would advise you to not put bleach on covers or any part of the diaper containing PUL.  Even if you use bleach, you don’t want to use it a lot – so you’ll need an alternative to use more often.  This is that alternative!

Sun Your Cloth Diapers

Harness the Power of the Sun.  When you cloth diaper, it’ll be your best friend!

Not only does line drying your diapers save on your energy costs – it helps keep stains at bay, make your diapers last longer, and it’s really fun to see cloth diapers hanging on a line {or a drying rack in my case}.  I line dry all of my covers and AIO’s.  That’s the reason that if you go through my stash right now, you won’t find any stains – line drying your cloth diapers in the sun will help erase any light stains that you may get from time to time.  And it doesn’t have to be sunny – it’s probably best not to let your diapers dry in the rain – but mine have been out in cold, cloudy weather or just sitting by a window inside!

I don’t typically line dry my inserts for a few reasons: {1} They tend to get crunchy when line dried. {2} Heat/Dryer doesn’t hurt them at all, like it does PUL. {3} I don’t have a ton of room on my drying rack!

Stubborn Cloth Diaper Stains

For those reasons, I tend to get more stubborn stains on my inserts than I do the Covers.  {Although I’ve found that my bumGenius Freetimes and Bummis Tots Bots EasyFits {older style w/ bamboo inner} tend to stain more than other diapers, even when they’re always line dried.} 

So, what do you do if you have a stubborn stain that sun alone won’t get rid of… like this one? 

That is my Ragababe liner that lays on top of my AIO.  Yep, it’s yucky and I don’t like stains at all.

Juice those Inserts!  That’s right – a little lemon juice will help speed the sunning process.

You can use fresh lemon juice or the bottled kind.  Sometimes I mix it with water, sometimes just straight lemon juice.

Put the cloth diaper or liner, in this instance, in the sun.  You can leave it as long as you want.  Today I left it out for a few hours.  If you have a really stubborn cloth diaper stain, you may want to go outside and add more lemon juice.  You’re simply letting the natural juices and the sun bleach away your stains for you – no scrubbing required!

Voila!  No more stains!

After you do this process, be sure to wash the cloth diaper that was juiced very well, with a couple of extra rinses.  I simply put my liner in with my dirty diapers, in the pail, and will wash with the whole load – with a couple of extra rinses, just to be sure all the acidity is gone.

There is no reason for you to deal with yucky stains on your cloth diapers – especially when you can harness the power {and frugality} of the sun!

Be sure to check out Jenny’s Fluffy Friday post today, at According to Jenny!

  1. This worked for me - (I cloth diapered 6 babies back in the 80's and 90's) 1. Rinse out soiled diaper as soon as possible. 2. Have a large bucket of water with 1/4 cup dissolved Borax for soaking soiled/rinsed diapers till wash day. 3. Sun drying/air drying- the hot air of a conventional dryer will set a stain fast. Note - I used primarily flat diapers as opposed to folded. The drying time is much faster! I never tried lemon juice and sunshine on a diaper but it worked on underarm stains for my white blouse.
    1. Great advice, AnnaMarie! I don't recommend soaking modern cloth diapers in water until wash day because it can break down the PUL, but for flats/prefolds, that can be a great idea.
  2. I don't have any outdoor space; I live in an apartment. So do you get the same bleaching effect drying your diapers by a window? And do I need direct sunlight ?
  3. Pingback: Why I cloth diaper
  4. I did this the other day and it didnt work at all :( I was so disappointed bc Ive heard so many ppl say it worked great. Ill def try it again though.
    1. Sarah, if you're stains are REALLY set in {either still dark after washing or have been there even after a few washings}, one sun session isn't going to take them out. If you're not opposed to bleach, I'd put a tiny bit in a wash cycle WITH INSERTS ONLY {not PUL/Covers}. Otherwise, you could try sunning a few more times and definitely add the lemon juice! Let me know if you have any questions and you can always shoot me an email at
      1. Thanks for the reply! I think the stains prob are really set in..I mayve even put them in the dryer before. I didnt know you could do that with bleach in the wash for inserts so I will try that too and lemon juice a few more times.
  5. Thanks! I so need this. I have been sun bleaching 3 diapers for days and then washed them again to get the stains out. It's been rainy here the past couple of days, but will definitely be trying the lemon juice once the sun comes back out.

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