It's no secret that having a baby means having more laundry. The stains that are created by such a little creature can be pretty baffling in their number and complexity. However, not all the stains and laundry are produced by your little spit-up machine. Let's be honest, between the bleeding, sweating, and leaking, you're creating your fair share of laundry yourself. But what can you do about it? Especially for those weird stains, like breast milk. If you're wondering how to get breast milk stains out of your bra, you're not alone.
The thing about breast milk is that it's different from person to person, reacts differently on different fabrics, and changes in composition over the course of your baby's life based on their needs, according to Seminars in Perinatology. That means that you might have no problem getting breast milk out of your favorite t-shirt when your tot is 12 weeks old, but you're still lamenting the great colostrum stains in your favorite robe from when your baby was a few days old. When it comes to delicates like your bra, and how to get milk stains out of your bra, it's a process, and you need to remember that they're called "delicates" for a reason.
The trick is learning how to treat different fabrics and different stains, and learning what works best for which fabrics. Whether you need cool water, a stronger detergent, or even something as seemingly random as shampoo or white wine, will depend on the stain itself.
I am really lucky. I live in Brooklyn, and I never do my own laundry. My family uses a delivery service for laundry because it's inexpensive, easy, and I never have to worry about folding clothes, which is arguably the worst chore next to loading and unloading the dishwasher. However, this was not always the case. When my babies were little, I did all of our laundry because I wanted complete control over the detergents, softeners, and machines used. Therefore, I am very familiar with breast milk stains. Admittedly, though, I wasn't very good at removing them. Remember Regina George's nipple shirt? You get the picture. It wasn't pretty.
I knew I needed to ask an expert. My dry cleaner and laundry service can get anything out of anything. I'm not kidding. My son is a magnet for every stain you can think of, and my daughter? She's an artist, if you know what I mean. Jin from Lee's Laundromat in Brooklyn, New York tells Romper that "milk stains are sticky and they smell," but they're easy to get rid of provided you act quickly.
For straight milk stains, rinse it quickly, which Lin says will prevent it from setting or smelling. After that, if it's still quite yellow and greasy feeling, use a drop of shampoo with sulfates in it, and work it into the fabric. He says, "OxiClean works as well, but if you use it a lot, it will start to take the color out of fabrics. If your clothes are white, go ahead and use it. It's good for the smell, too." When it comes to your stained bra, Jin says that all lingerie should be washed by hand or in a lingerie bag. He suggests soaking the garments in a delicate detergent like Ivory Snow or Woolite and then agitating the stain with either an OxiClean or a stain remover with a strong surfactant in it. He likes Carbona ($3, Jet.com), but that's not widely available at your local Target, and says that Shout Advanced or Biokleen are good alternatives. After you treat your bra, you'll need to let it soak for an hour or more, and then continue laundering as usual.
However, if there's blood in the milk and staining your clothing pink, there are a few ways to tackle it. Jin says, "If it is bright red blood, you need to use an acid like an aerosol stain treater or ammonia to get it out. You can't use either of these on delicate fabrics, so try spraying it with one part white wine vinegar to one part water, or dunking the area in straight cheap white wine or vodka — which has alcohol, sugar, and acid — and can break up the stain. Then treat with a drop or two of dish soap and hot water before laundering normally." If it comes out of the wash and it's still slightly yellow, he suggests trying a few sprays of aerosol hair spray and allowing it to sit for an hour before re-laundering.
If there's a stain, there's a solution. I really wish I would've known that wine tip before I tossed my pricey robe, though.