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How to Remove Food Stains From Toddler Girl Clothes

Updated on October 2, 2010

Basic Rules For Stain Removal

  • Before attempting to remove any stains on a conspicuous area of your little girls clothes test the clothing for color fastness by testing the stain removal remedy on a small inconspicuous area such as underneath the arms.
  • Always follow the laundry instructions of any toddler girl clothing as detailed on the labels of the clothing.
  • If you are using a commercial stain remover follow the instructions exactly to avoid ruining your little girl's clothes. Always apply commercial stain removers on the inside of the clothing placing a clean white cloth underneath the stain. This will allow the clothing to soak up the stain removal product.
  • And most importantly never tumble dry or iron soiled clothing before you are absolutely sure that any trace of the stain has been removed. Any form of heat will set a stain diminishing the chances of removal.

Learning To Feed Themselves

How much more fun can a little girl have?
How much more fun can a little girl have?

The Importance of Durable Toddler Girl Clothing

If ever you are going to need quality durable clothes that can withstand the abuse of spills and stains it will be during the toddler years. This is the time when your patience and ability to allow your little girl to develop will be tested on a daily basis.

One of the major milestones in your little girl's life will be to learn how to feed herself. Mastering this art, that we as adults take so for granted, is a slow painstaking process that could last for weeks if not months before your toddler can help herself without the mess. In the beginning you will find that her clothes get more food than her mouth.

For this very reason it is advisable to buy durable easy care clothing. Toddler girl clothing should be machine washable and comfortable to wear. Not only will they require repeated washing from normal soiling during play but you will probably need emergency stain treatment during this learning to eat phase. Luckily if you have easy care little girl's clothes this should not pose much of a problem as most food stains are removable as long as you do not leave them to set.

Bear in mind that stains will become embedded in the fibers if you do not remove the stain before it sets.

Water-based and Oil-Based Stains

Water-based stains are generally easier to remove than oil-based stains. Examples of water-based stains are tea, coffee and a number of food stains are also water-based stains.

If your little girl's clothing gets a water-based stain remove the excess liquids with a dry cloth by blotting the area. Never rub a stain as this will spread the stain and may work the stain into the fibers, doing more harm than good.

Use a natural solvent and cold water to remove water-based stains. These solvents are safe to use and will not cause fading or shrinkage. You can spray the stain remover directly onto the soiled area and leave to set for approximately three minutes, or according to the instructions on the product. You can then wash your little girl's clothes as recommended by the manufacturer. If the stain persists repeat the stain removing process before drying the clothing.

Oil-based stains include grease, cooking oil and butter stains and are slightly more stubborn than water-based stains.

If your toddler girl clothing gets an oil-based stain remove the stain as soon as possible.

Place the garment on a flat surface and then rub talcum powder, corn starch or baking powder lightly onto the stain. Leave the clothing for at least an hour but preferably overnight so that the stain can be absorbed by the powder. After this treatment you can scrub the powder off and wash the garment in hot water using a dish detergent.

Tomato-Based Food Stains

Tomato-based food is great - except for on clothing!
Tomato-based food is great - except for on clothing!

Toddlers generally tend to enjoy tomato-based dishes and unfortunately if these are not treated can ruin your toddler girl clothing.

Fresh tomato stains can be removed from her clothing by applying a small amount of dish soap to the stain and then gently rubbing both sides of the fabric together. Rinse the clothing in cold water and repeat the process if necessary. When once the stain has been removed with this method wash the clothing in cold water.

Never tumble dry or iron clothing before you are satisfied that the garment is stain-free.

Dried tomato stains should first be soaked in cold water and then dishwasher detergent can be applied by gently rubbing the detergent into the stain. Rub the affected area with an ice cube and then while still cold blot the area with a clean cloth moistened with vinegar. Once the stain has been removed wash as usual and air dry.

Chocolate Stains

Very few toddler girl's do not love chocolate and long before she can feed herself a meal she will want to feed herself chocolate. This will more than likely stain her clothing.

The most important thing to remember with a chocolate stain is that unlike many other stains these stains are best removed once dried. Trying to remove melted chocolate will spread the stain even further.

  • Once the stain has dried gently scrape the excess chocolate off the clothing with a plastic knife or spoon, taking care not to damage the fabric.

  • Turn the clothing inside out and hold under cold running water. This will remove any remaining chocolate particles.

  • You can now apply a liquid detergent powder to the affected area and allow to set for 10 minutes and then gently scrub the stained area with a brush.

  • Lastly wash the clothing in warmest water that the fabric will handle to get rid of the stain completely.

Coffee Stains

If your toddler girl accidentally messes her or your coffee on her clothing it is important to remove the stain while it is still wet, if possible.

Blot as much of the excess liquid with a clean cloth. Coffee stains can easily become permanent but if rinsed under cold water immediately may be removed without any further stain removing process becoming necessary.

Sprinkling baking powder onto the affected area and allowing to soak up the stain will reduce the intensity of the stain.

Alternatively use a sponge to apply a solution of one teaspoon of vinegar mixed in a quart of cold water to the stain or soak the garment overnight in a bucket of cold water and a cup of milk.

After applying any of these stain removal techniques wash the clothing in cold water and do not expose the clothing to heat before the stain has been removed completely.

There are many other foods and other sources of stains that could permanently damage your toddler girl clothing.

This is another important reason for buying durable toddler girl clothing that can withstand all the stain removing treatments that will become part of your laundry routine during the toddler years.

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    • profile image

      carpet cleaning grand rapids Michigan 

      10 years ago

      Tomato stains, chocolate stains, and peanut butter stains are the common stains that are truly hard to remove (whether on clothes or on carpets). That's why before you clean up those stains, better define first the fabric. So you can find the best way to clean it.

    • profile image

      Toddler Clothing Stores 

      10 years ago

      I am very impressed with your post"Removing Food Stains From Toddler Girl Clothing". Thanks for sharing with us.

    • earnestshub profile image


      11 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      My daughter has twin girls now 4 and very fashion conscious. Superspiderman their older brother is now 6. On the weekend we all got together for a birthday party at my older son's home.

      Within an hour both twins had stains on their dresses and superspiderman was a mess. My daughter had a change of clothes for them and defty removed the stains and re dressed them all within about a half hour. I reckon she read your hub!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      You seem to be an expert on this sort of thing

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Sauvignon

      Glad if this hub helped you with stain removal. Clothes get stained so easily at this very busy age when the little toddlers are still learning!

    • Sauvignon profile image


      11 years ago from Washington State (East)

      My daughter is 2 1/2 so I've have been learning a lot about stain removal! Thanks for the helpful hints and tips


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