How to Remove Milk Stains From Clothing

You can treat those pesky stains on your own

How to Remove Milk Stains From Clothing

The Spruce / Bailey Mariner

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to 10

From the initial look of it, milk does not look like it is going to be a troublesome stain. After all, it is white, and it seems like it rinses clean. The biggest 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, turn yellow, and leave a bad mark. Milk contains protein and fat that can adhere to the fabric and result in a stain.

Kids and milk go together, so this is a stain you will have to keep an eye out for when you have little ones in the household. But don't stress as these stains can be handled with a few simple household products and some patience on your part. Just remember to never rub at the stain, only blot, and whatever you do, don't put a still-stained garment into the dryer as the high heat can set the stain and make it permanent.

Learn how to remove milk stains from clothing with these steps.

 Stain type  Protein-based
 Detergent type  Heavy-duty
 Water temperature  Cold to warm
 Cycle type  Varies depending on the type of fabric

Before You Begin

The key to taking care of a spilled milk stain is to get to it as quickly as possible. Although tempting, don't swipe or rub it, as you can push the stain further into the fibers of the material, just blot with a paper towel, napkin, or white cloth.

Always check the care label on the garment before proceeding with the steps below. If the clothing is dry clean only, blot with a dry cloth and then blot with another clean white cloth dipped in plain cool water. Take it to the dry cleaner as soon as possible, and identify and point out the stain. If you decide to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Large basin or sink


  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Stain remover spray, stick, or gel


How to Remove Milk Stains From Clothing

The best and most effective way to get a milk stain out of any garment is to take care of it as soon as possible, preferably immediately if you can.

  1. Soak

    Put the stained fabric in a sink or large basin filled with cold water for five to 10 minutes. Do not use warm or hot water since it can darken the stained area. While soaking, you do not 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. If it remains, proceed with step 2.


    Never use hot water with a protein-based stain as it can set it permanently into the fabric.

  2. Pretreat Stain

    If the stain remains after soaking proceed with this step:

    Rub liquid laundry detergent into the stained area and soak in room temperature water in a sink or large basin for 30 minutes. Gently rub the stained area between your fingers for a few seconds every three to five minutes while the milk-stained clothing is soaking. You are trying to allow the detergent to work its way into the stained fabric, loosening up the milk proteins and fats adhering to the material. Rinse thoroughly.

  3. Apply Stain Remover

    After thoroughly rinsing the fabric, add a stain remover stick, gel, or spray to the stained area, and allow it to sit for seven to 10 minutes. You do not need to check on the fabric or rub it during this period. Wash the garment as usual, following the directions on the care label.


    Do not skip this step. Whether you see a stain remaining or not, use a stain remover to ensure that no protein or fat has been left on the garment. Any remaining residue can eventually turn yellow later.

  4. Check the Stained Area

    Check the stained area before tossing the garment in the dryer. If the stain remains after washing, repeat steps 1 through 3 again. Air dry the garment the ensure the stain is completely gone. Once you have verified that the stain has been fully removed, you can put the garment in a dryer.

Additional Tips for Handling Milk Stains

Dried milk stains or stains that have set in over a long period of time may need several repetitions of soaking, treating with laundry detergent, and using a stain removal product to fully remove the stain. If you still see the milk stain, you might need the power of oxygen-based bleach. Repeat the steps as many times as necessary to remove the milk stain or contact a professional cleaner.