Another possibility is an overuse of chlorine bleach which causes the cloth not to get whiter, as you would think, but to deteriorate and become yellowed.
And finally, it can be from age and storage of clothing, both of which can cause them to develop stains or general yellowing.
This page is really devoted to this last type of issue, and the tips I've collected from readers for how they remove such stains.
I'd love to hear from even more people about this issue, sharing how they've removed or lightened these stains, and salvaged their linens or other clothing so it can be used again. If you've got a tip of your own, you can share it here!
Otherwise, scroll down to see the tips already submitted by other readers to solve this very common problem.
Yellow Stain Removal - Removing Yellow Stains From Old Baby Clothes
by Mae L.
Old Baby Clothes Can Develop Yellow Stains While In Storage
Mae tells her secret for yellow stain removal, and how she saved her hand me down baby clothes for a second use.
When my oldest child grew out of her infant clothes I lovingly packed them away in hopes that a sibling would come along some day.
As her sister’s arrival approached I went into the attic to pull out the onesies, bibs, and adorable pajamas I had saved. As I pulled them out of the container I was horribly disappointed to find the clothes covered in yellow stains.
I knew I had washed them before putting them away, and the dryer sheets were left in as proof.
It turns out that those yellow stains were secret, hidden proteins from breast milk. As the milk sits on fabric over the course of time the protein breaks down and leaves behind a yellow stain.
I thought the clothes were ruined. I called my best friend and cried.
Luckily, my friend had heard somewhere that OxiClean could help. I made a solution of warm water and OxiClean in a clean bucket. I slipped in the clothes and crossed my fingers.
After soaking for a few hours I removed the clothes and put them through a spin cycle on the washing machine. The clothes looked cleaner, but it is always hard to tell when they are wet.
I didn’t want to raise my hopes only to be disappointed once more. I put all the clothes through a regular wash cycle, and then put them in the dryer.
When I pulled them out the stains were gone! It was a wash day miracle! I now know the secret for yellow stain removal!
Since then, I have used OxiClean on all my baby stains.
For example, just the other day I saved a lovely white sundress from a messy diaper leak.
If you add an extra scoop of Oxiclean into each load it catches the stains I didn’t even know about.
The only wish I had known about the power of OxiClean with my oldest child.
Thanks Mae for sharing your tips for yellow stain removal.
I get questions all the time about this issue of yellowed baby clothes, because after a regular washing, right after it happens, the clothing looks clean.
It is only after time, and generally some heat while the baby clothes are stored somewhere like an attic that can get hot that the stains oxidize and all of a sudden you are left with the task of removing yellow stains from clothing.
Soaking In BIZ Removes The Years From Antique Linens
by SR101 Reader
SR101 Reader says:
To remove the yellowing from antique linens fill a sink (or large bowl for small items) with warm water, a small amount of detergent and a large amount (as much as three times the recommended amount) of Biz.
Mix it all really well then add the item to be cleaned.
Be sure the item is clean and wet.
Let it soak for several days.
If the water gets dirty, pour it out and start over.
After soaking and when the item is as clean as you want it, then rinse well and wash again.
This works well on white or colored items.
Thanks so much for sharing this tip.
Both of the tips so far for removing yellow stains from clothing and other fabric have involved the technique of presoaking the cloth, just using different products.
There are, of course, lots of uses for BIZ stain remover, for both stain removal and clothing, so check out the article if you'd like to learn even more about them, or to share your own.
Further, I would love to hear from more people who have successfully removed yellowing from older cloth, sharing how you did it. You can share your own tips here, and I'll add them to this page!
I hope you enjoy this gift, and stop by again soon!
CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.