Removing Milk Stains From Clothing

Kids playing with milk
Westend61 / Getty Images

Milk doesn't look like a troublesome stain. After all, it's white and it seems like it rinses clean. The problem with milk stains comes after the stain has dried. Even waiting around in the laundry, milk stains, that looked like no big deal at first, can darken and yellow into a big mess. Milk contains protein and fat that can adhere to fabric and result in the stain.

As kids and milk go together and end up on each other, this is a stain you will have to keep after when you have little ones in the household. There will be lots of crying over spilled milk. And you may shed a few tears when your favorite outfits are showing the lasting effects of those mishaps.

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Time Required: Up to an hour

Supplies You Will Need to Tackle Milk Stains

  • Cold water
  • Bucket or sink for soaking
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Stain remover spray, stick, or gel

Steps to Remove Milk Stains From Clothing

  1. Soak the Fabric in Cold Water: Treat milk stains as soon as possible for the best results. Put the stained fabric into cold water for five to 10 minutes. Be sure to use cold water. Warm or hot water can darken the stained area. At this point, you don't need to use any detergent. The cold water soak may be all that is needed. If the stain appears to be gone, move on to step 3.
  2. Treat with Laundry Detergent if Stain Remains: If the stain remains, rub liquid laundry detergent into the stained area and soak in room temperature water for half an hour. Every three to five minutes while the milk-stained clothing is soaking, you should gently rub the stained area between your fingers for a few seconds. You are trying to allow the detergent to work its way into the milk stain, loosening it up. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. Use a Stain Remover: Whether you see any stain remaining after step one or you used step two, you will now want to use a stain remover to ensure that no protein or fat is left in the garment that will turn yellow later. After thoroughly rinsing the fabric, add a stain remover stick, gel, or spray to the stained area, and allow to sit for seven to 10 minutes. You don't need to check on the fabric or rub it during this period.
  1. Repeat steps 1-3 as needed until no stain remains. Dried stains may need several repetitions to fully remove the stain.
  2. Wash normally: Use the temperature and fabric settings recommended for the garment.
  3. Before drying, make sure the stain has been fully removed. Drying will set the stain permanently. If the stain remains after washing, repeat steps 1-3 again before drying. It might be difficult to determine if there is still a residue on wet fabric but inspect it well before you decide it's ready for the dryer.