How to clean stinky baby bibs
September 23, 2019 12:42 AM   Subscribe

We use a “full body” bib for my 10 month old daughter’s meals, the kind with full sleeves that tie at the back. The problem is, they stink! I can’t get them to not stink. They are 100% polyester. I need solutions that can be done basically daily because they need to be reused the next day.

My current routine:
I hand scrub them in the kitchen sink with anti-bacterial dishwashing soap and rinse in hot water. Then I hang them up to dry, on baby hangers so there’s no fabric bunching up.

I’ve even tried washing them in the washing machine but it didn’t really help. I tried microwaving them in water with soap (which is what I do with sponges which worked a treat) but that didn’t seem to work either?!

What am I doing wrong? If it helps, it’s these bibs
posted by like_neon to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What is your baby eating, and what is the smell? The manufacturer’s instructions say to machine wash at 30 degrees. I might try putting them in the wash at 30 with a bit of white vinegar and then hanging to dry, in sunlight if possible, with pocket flipped out so no food bits are stuck. Alternately, do the dish soap method with some boiling water, and/or a teaspoon of bleach if the smell is more mildewy than rotten food-y?

You might also want to post a question on Amazon and see if other purchasers have had the same issue.
posted by stillmoving at 1:22 AM on September 23, 2019

Soak in vinegar for a few hours, then try washing one hot at 60c, with detergent and a wee bit of oxyclean. If it survives the wash that should kill most of the stinky stuff?
posted by sedimentary_deer at 3:49 AM on September 23, 2019

Wash them with biological washing powder in the washing machine at 30.
posted by richb at 3:50 AM on September 23, 2019

Sorry for the duplicate - but seeing richb's comment - I (like many babies) can't use biological washing powder, but if your kid isn't sensitive I agree that will help. For my stinky polyester running stuff, I took the gamble with non-bio washing liquid at a higher temp after a vinegar soak and it helped without shrinking anything...
posted by sedimentary_deer at 5:15 AM on September 23, 2019

For my daughter, I used kitchen towels tied with a clothespin for bibs. It didn’t cover her arms but almost her whole front and shoulders. I’d take it off her, use it to wipe off her face and hands and then her chair and then the floor! Toss it in the laundry. I had a little basket with a dozen of these basic towels and a little spray bottle to spritz everything down.

Otherwise, white vinegar. Put it in the wash with the bib or in a spray bottle (maybe diluted a bit with water) and use that to wipe it down.
posted by amanda at 5:21 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Polyester is kind of notorious for holding smells (see also: gym clothes.) The vinegar (or vodka) soak + sunlight has in the past worked for me with polyester clothing. You could also try a sport-formulated detergent (like Tide sport with Febreeze, I hate all that stuff but I have had some work polos I needed to get clean) can put it through extra rinses or a second load without detergent to get it all out before it sits on baby's skin.

I'd get cotton bibs going forward if you can, the more complicated the food gets with oils, etc., the harder it gets to get that out of the polyester.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:48 AM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

Polyester bibs are the worst. We've gravitated towards the silicone ones with pockets; those seem to work well, and dish soap and hanging gets them smelling clean.
posted by vitout at 6:10 AM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

Try Borax. It's great for sour smells. Hot water, borax and detergent. Green box, 20 Mule Team borax in the detergent aisle.
posted by Enid Lareg at 6:34 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Silicon bibs with food catcher tray at bottom if you want to change practices, we loved ours.

Otherwise you could utilize a light cleaning solution bath/soak before washing (even daily) so as to help the wash be able to get the odors out. That's what restaurants do with table wipes sometimes.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:14 AM on September 23, 2019

I'd try a spray-down with white or apple cider vinegar, or soak it in the sink with vinegar and water for about 30 minutes, then wash as usual.

If that doesn't work, you can try the costumer's trick of vodka for odor removal.

If desperate, I'd also try spraying with Lysol, and maybe setting outside in the sunshine. Then wash as usual.
posted by hydra77 at 1:31 PM on September 23, 2019

If she eats that messy can you feed her with no clothes or with cotton covers? You might need a lot.

It won’t last forever and polyester is disgusting.
posted by vunder at 11:27 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I’m a bit embarrassed to update this but I have actually just been drying them inside out and it’s helped immensely.

I’m going to try some of these tips for the weekly wash and also purchase some more bibs so your advice was not wasted! Thank you.
posted by like_neon at 1:41 AM on September 28, 2019

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