A child by a washing machine. Learn how to clean your child's poopy underwear.

As a nurse, I have no fear of discussing bodily fluids and how to manage them. When it comes to being a parent, handling dirty underwear and other gross things is just part of the adventure of raising children. While it may seem like a daunting task, with the right techniques and a few handy tips, you can easily keep your child’s clothing clean and odor-free. In this article, I’ll walk you through the process step by step on how to clean your child’s poopy underwear. It isn’t pretty, but its possible!

Why should you care?

Hygiene and Health

Proper cleaning procedures ensure that all traces of fecal matter are effectively removed from the underwear. This helps prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and pathogens that can lead to infections or illnesses, both for the child and those handling the laundry!

Comfort and Well-Being

Maintaining clean underwear is essential for the comfort and well-being of your child. Soiled underwear can cause discomfort, skin irritation, and even rashes. Proper cleaning procedures help prevent these issues.

Potty Training Success

When potty training a child, consistency and cleanliness are key factors for success. Teaching children the importance of clean underwear reinforces good hygiene habits and encourages them to use the toilet regularly.

Longevity of Clothing

Properly cleaned underwear is less likely to be stained or damaged, which extends their lifespan. This can save you money on having to replace stained or ruined underwear frequently.

Odor Control

Underwear that isn’t cleaned properly will still smell! This is especially important so that your child doesn’t feel embarrassed.

Preventing Cross-Contamination

No one wants cross-contamination of fecal matter with other laundry items. This is crucial for the overall cleanliness of your laundry and to avoid spreading germs to other family members’ clothing.

So, How Do You Get Your Kids Poopy Underwear Clean?

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you start cleaning your kids underwear, make sure you’ve got everything you need.

  1. Rubber Gloves: Put on some rubber gloves to decrease the “ick” factor and protect your hands from coming into direct contact with the mess.
  2. Scraping Tool: Use a plastic scraper or old credit card to remove solid waste.
  3. Bucket or Soaking Container: To soak the training pants before washing.
  4. Mild Detergent: Choose a detergent that is suitable for cloth diapers to avoid skin irritation.

Step 2: Removing Solid Waste

Start by gently scraping off any solid stuff from those training pants and giving it a one-way ticket to the toilet. Some parents swear by giving the underwear a swirl around your clean toillet bowl to give it a little pre-rinse. You could also try using something like this Bumco Diaper Cream Spatula to help you do the job.

Step 3: Pre-Soaking

Fill a bucket or soaking container with cold water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Place the poopy underwear in the water and let them soak for about 30 minutes. This will help loosen any remaining stains and odors.

Step 4: Wash By Hand

Still got your gloves? After soaking, gently rub the pants together to agitate the water and detergent. You can use a soft-bristle brush for stubborn stains. Rinse the underwear thoroughly with cold water until the detergent is completely washed out.

Step 5: Machine Wash

Once the initial hand washing is complete, transfer the underwear to your washing machine. Wash them in hot water with a mild detergent, following the manufacturer’s care instructions on the label. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, as they can damage the fabric and reduce absorbency.

Step 6: Drying

After washing, hang the training pants in direct sunlight to naturally disinfect and remove any lingering odors. Sunlight is also effective at fading stubborn stains. If you prefer, you can tumble dry them on a low heat setting or air dry indoors.

What Can You Do For Stubborn Underwear Stains and Smells?

Dealing with stubborn stains on your child’s underwear can be frustrating, but there are a few more things you can try:

White Vinegar Pretreatment

For fresh stains, start by blotting (not rubbing) the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb as much moisture as possible. Then, apply a bit of stain remover or a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar directly to the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes before laundering.

Oxygen-Based Bleach

Consider using an oxygen-based bleach (like OxiClean) in your regular wash cycle. Follow the product’s instructions for the right amount to add. These can be effective at breaking down stains without the harshness of chlorine bleach.

Baking Soda Paste

Create a paste using baking soda and water and apply it to the stain. Let it sit for a while, then gently scrub with a soft brush or an old toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly before laundering.

Enzyme-Based Stain Removers

Enzyme-based stain removers are designed to break down organic stains, such as those from food or bodily fluids. Look for a product specifically designed for baby clothes or cloth diapers, as they tend to be gentle on fabric.


Sometimes, patience is your best ally. It might take a few wash cycles or attempts to completely remove a stubborn stain, so give it another round though the washer.

Important Considerations When Washing Poopy Underwear

Never wash poopy clothing with your other loads! This type of laundry needs its own quarantine. You don’t want cross contamination or your non-poopy clothing to smell.

Remember to check the care label on the underwear for any specific instructions or restrictions on stain removers. And always double-check that the stain is completely gone before tossing the pants in the dryer, as heat can set stains permanently.

When All Else Fails……….

Sometimes poopy underwear so bad, it is just not worth all the hassle to rehabilitate it! There are times, no matter what you do, it’s just too disgusting.

Give yourself permission to chuck underwear that has long ago seen better days. If you need some decent replacements, check out this list of quality absorbent underwear for kids.

Don’t Shame Your Kids

This is a friendly reminder not to shame your kids when poop accidents occur. “Crap happens,” and it’s okay. Eventually your child will get out of the potty training phase, and cleaning poopy underwear should be a rare occasion. Be patient, and know that there are lots of ways to get stains out, or when in doubt, just throw it out!

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