Breastfeeding can cause nipple pain and one solution to this problem is using Lanolin cream.
What is Lanolin and why does it stain clothes?
Understanding what lanolin is also is the reason it makes it so hard to remove from clothes. It comes from sheep and is a natural waxy secretion that covers their wool.
When sheep are shorn for their wool, this wax is removed using a centrifuge machine and heat. The result is the raw lanolin that is further refined and put into beauty products. It’s also technically a wax rather than oil making it harder to remove.
If youre breastfeeding, you’ll already know that lanolin soothes dry and sore nipples. It also has a very bad habit of staining clothes and nursing bras. There are many ways to remove lanolin from clothing but only some methods work best.
How you can remove lanolin easily and effectively
Don’t worry, there are several ways to remove lanolin.
1. Dishwashing liquid
This is one of the oldest tricks that work well comes from one item you most likely have in your home already. Dishwashing liquid is designed to break down greasy dishes and washes away that greasy residue. Here are two choices that are proven effective at removing lanolin stains from clothed too.
2. Dawn dishwashing liquid
Now the big secret to using Dawn is not from scrubbing or using a stiff scrubbing brush. What you want to do is add the Dawn to the stained area generously. Let it soak into the fabric and add more so it goes completely through the material. Give the stained area a gentle rub with your fingers on both sides by pinching the fabric. It doesn’t need scrubbing since you don’t want to damage the material by doing this.
Now let the material sit for a full 24 hours until you rinse it out the next day. What this does is gives the Dawn a chance to seep into and break down the wax itself. By the time you wash it out by hand, you need to use warm water. Don’t use hot water at all for the rinsing because you can also make the color faded. After rinsing it out, the stain should be completely gone.
3. Green Fairy liquid
This is the UK’s version of Dawn and is a very popular brand of strong dishwashing liquid. It can be used in the same way that Dawn is used and requires 24 hours to breakdown waxy oils that are in the fabric. Repeat the same steps in the method above and your lanolin stain will also be completely gone. If for some reason the stain persists, repeat the dish soap method until the stain is totally removed.
If you can find Fairy dishwashing liquid in your local store, it’s a good alternative to using Dawn. Luckily it can be found online easily enough and through Amazon.
4. Seventh Generation liquid
This is on the pricier side but is totally natural and effective at breaking down very tough oils. It combines citrus and ginger essential oils along with other natural ingredients to help remove lanolin stains. Add some of this to your clothes and let it sit for 1 hour and then wash it out. The only drawback to this cleaner is the price since it’s a USDA-certified product for being a safer choice.
You’ll pay nearly $10 for 25 fluid ounces compared to 3 bucks that Dawn liquid is costing. But on the effective end of this product, it breaks down lanolin and any greasy stains you have. Considering this also contains citrus and ginger turpentine extracts, it’s more effective in doing a tough job than Dawn. And it does it in less time as a result.
5. Goop hand cleaner
Some cleaners are intended for breaking down heavy grease and oil. These have natural additives that are essential at quickly breaking down the toughest of oils that are thick and problematic. Goop hand cleaner is typically used for cleaning-off dark and burnt motor oils. These carbon residues are responsible for making your skin stained and work perfectly for clothing as well.
Squeeze a generous amount of Goop hand cleaner onto the fabric and massage it thoroughly all throughout the fabric and let it sit for 1-hour. After this period, you can rinse it out to see how well it removes the stain. There are many of these hand cleaners that will all have a similar effect. Goop proves to be a great product because it doesn’t leave any residue behind and doesn’t harm fabrics either.
6. Green Gobbler Orange D-Limonene cleaner
The active ingredient in most hand cleaners is an all-natural product call D-Limonene. It’s made from the skin of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes. These are technically turpentines and can breakdown tough oil on contact. The only problem is that these are nearly essential oils that also can stain. However, there is a citrus cleaner that combines additives that are easily washed away.
It’s also used for cleaning a variety of stained surfaces and works incredibly well on upholstery, carpets, and clothing. It can be thinned with ordinary water because of the additives that allow it to be thinned so it can be put in a spray bottle. The effect is so fast that an article of clothing can be cleaned quickly and effectively. Because it’s all-natural your clothing will not be harmed from this product.
7. Orvus paste
This is another totally natural cleaning product that is used by people who work especially with wool. They use this paste to remove excess lanolin without any trace of it being left on wood material. Orvus paste is also used for washing horses and farm animals but is also recommended for fabric materials. This can be applied to the areas that are stained and will allow the lanolin to be removed through hand washing.
You can also put it into the washing machine and acts as a powerful remover without washing it by hand. It’s also safe to use on use on virtually any kind of material so it won’t be at risk of getting ruined with harsh washing chemicals. A little goes a long way so you won’t run out of this very easily. It’s also safe for use on older fabrics that have been passed down or are second hand
8. Cornstarch, baby powder, and chalk
These are all dry alternatives that can get into your fabric and act as a self-absorbing method to remove a stain. Chalk is very effective since it can be rubbed into the fabric to dry out and loosen the lanolin. You can also use cornstarch and baby powder that also sold as talcum powder. It won’t remove the stain totally but it will be good as a first step in breaking down the wax on the surface.
This method can be used in combination with using dish soap so at least the soap doesn’t have much work breaking down the waxy nature of lanolin.
9. Steam machine
You’ve seen these before and how well they work at making wrinkled and creased clothing appear natural again. Using a hand streamer can be effective at warming up this oil using steam. You can add lemon juice to the steamer and through the effect of the citrus oil penetrating the fabric can drive out the lanolin. Put the article of clothing or bra onto a table that has at least 5 layers of paper towels underneath it.
The steam that is driven through the fabric will soften the wax enough to drive out any reside, and into the paper towels. If you decide to use a cleaner such as Green Gobbler, this will have the same effect. If you have a fresh lemon you can cut the lemon in half and rub it directly onto the fabric. After this, you can then steam-out the remaining lemon oils and lanolin. You can then put your clothing into the washing machine as usual.
10. Clothes iron
Just as you use an iron to make clothes wrinkle-free, you can choose to use an iron on low heat. Take an ordinary paper towel and place it on both sides of the clothing that has lanolin stains. Put your iron on low heat and place this onto the paper towel. The resulting capillary action should be enough to make the lanolin get sucked into the paper towel. This might take a bit longer but this doesn’t require any washing either.
This method is used the same for removing candle wax from clothing and will also work for removing your stain. Just make sure that the heat is not high as you risk burning your fabric in the process.
What to avoid
Don’t use heavy-duty cleaners that are meant for heavy stains like oxygen-activated cleaners. Not only do these contain bleaches, but they can also damage the clothing in the process. The same goes for brushes, toothbrushes, and scrubbing sponges. The fabric wasn’t meant to be scrubbed and the fibers will loosen and start to fall apart. Even when bras are made from durable material, they eventually can start to fall apart over time and several washes.