How to Remove Diarrhea Stains from Clothes

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Having diarrhea is never fun. The sudden urges, the strange sounds, the embarrassing clean-up afterward. You may think you’re in the clear after you’ve wiped down and disposed of your soiled paper products, but what about soiled clothing?

If you’ve ever been unpleasantly surprised by the appearance of diarrhea stains on your clothing, you know how difficult it can be to get them out. 

The good news is that it’s possible to eliminate these unsightly reminders of a bad day. 

Here are some tips for removing those stains:

Does Diarrhea Stain Clothes

Diarrhea will stain your clothes. It’s easily absorbed into fibers and will leave a visible mark on your clothes until it’s treated.

The main cause of diarrhea-related staining is because of its acidic nature—the pH level varies in different types of diarrhea and can range anywhere from 1 to 7 (a pH level between 0 to 6.9 is considered acidic). Acidic substances like this tend to leave stains on surfaces they come into contact with, especially if they’re left sitting there for a while. 

When clothing becomes stained by diarrhea, it’s usually due to how the stool comes into contact with the cloth.

Why Does Diarrhea Stain Clothes

Diarrhea is made up of three components: water, bacteria, and protein. The bacteria and protein combine to create the greyish-brown color that we associate with diarrhea, but they also break down into amino acids which can cause staining on clothing.

Bacterial infections are often related to food poisoning or viruses like the flu, but they can also be caused by other things like stress, certain medications, or travel sickness. 

Does Diarrhea Wash Out of Clothes?

Can you wash diarrhea out of clothes? It is possible to wash diarrhea out of clothes and linens, but the key is to act fast. Once the diarrhea mess has dried on your fabric, it becomes a lot harder, although it can be removed. Your first step should be to rinse the affected material under cold water while avoiding spreading it further. 

Then, you’ll have to decide if you should use a home remedy or a store-bought stain remover, depending on what ingredients you have on hand and how stubborn the stain is. 

How to Remove Diarrhea Stains from Clothes

If you’ve ever experienced the unfortunate luck of having diarrhea (and if you haven’t, don’t speak too soon), then you’ve probably wondered at some point how to remove diarrhea stains from clothes. 

Method 1: Dishwashing Liquid Detergent

  1. Remove any excess feces or liquid with a butter knife, spoon, or paper towel. You’ll want to be careful not to spread the stain further while doing this.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning up.
  3. Rinse out the stain under cold running water, making sure to rinse on both sides of the fabric. Do not use hot water as this will set the stain in the fabric, making it more difficult to remove later.
  4. Apply a small amount of dishwashing liquid directly onto any leftover visible stains and scrub lightly with a soft brush or toothbrush. Be careful not to rub too hard as this can damage delicate fabrics like silk and lace.
  5. Rinse out the dishwashing liquid and apply more if needed until all traces of feces are gone from the material being cleaned.

Method 2: Stain Remover

Remove Excess Diarrhea

Use a paper towel or rag to blot up as much excess diarrhea from the fabric as possible. 

Apply Stain Remover

Spray the stain with an enzyme-based pre-wash stain remover (or a 1:4 vinegar/water solution) and let it sit for 20 minutes before washing. The enzymes in these cleaners will break down the proteins in the poop and make your job easier when washing it out later on!

Throw in Wash

Throw the stained garment into your washer with a small amount of detergent just enough to cover the stain with suds when agitated by water and wash with hot water on a normal cycle using either chlorine bleach (for whites) or oxygen bleach (for colored fabrics). Repeat until all is gone.

Can you wash poop clothes with other clothes?

The answer is no, it would be unwise to wash clothes that have come in contact with feces along with other clothes. The reason for not doing so is that pathogens are very much likely to spread from feces-contaminated clothes to other clothes, which can lead to serious health problems.

It would be better if you washed the poop cloth separately using a disinfectant and separate detergent. If you do use a machine for washing, then clean the machine thoroughly after washing the poop cloth.

It is always a good idea to keep a separate laundry basket for diapers and poop cloths. This will help in avoiding the cross-contamination of diapers and poop cloths with other clothes, as well as preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

Is it OK to put poopy clothes in the washing machine?

There are many reasons why you would need to wash clothes that have feces on them. 

Perhaps you forgot to use a cover on your cloth diaper and the poop got everywhere, or maybe your baby spits up their entire outfit while they were out with you.

Either way, there are safe ways to wash these items so that you don’t risk contaminating another laundry.

It’s important to note that laundering clothes with feces on them aren’t always a good idea. If the garment is heavily soiled, there’s a risk that the feces can spread throughout the cycle. 

This could cause a whole host of problems later down the road, such as spreading bacteria and causing your washer to smell bad. 

That’s why it’s crucial to remove as much fecal matter as possible before placing the clothing into your washing machine. The process for this varies depending on what kind of machine you own.

Should You Use Hot or Cold Water for Poop Stains

Experts agree that it’s generally better to use cold water for poop stains, as hot water can fix stains on clothes and make them harder to remove. 

Hot water can also shrink fabrics like wool and silk, making it a bad strategy if your garment is made of one of these fibers. 

You should always follow the care instructions on the tag of your clothing before doing anything else, but in general, you’ll find that cold water is your safest bet when trying to get rid of poop stains.


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