The Scoop on Cleaning Up Poop
If your baby's clothes were disposable, you wouldn't have to panic when baby pooped on them. Unfortunately, for most of us, that's hardly the case, so it's important to properly disinfect poopy pants and shirts. "Feces is a major source of bacteria and germs in humans," says Philip M. Tierno, PhD, author of The Secret Life of Germs (Atria) and director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center.
Your first step is to separate these clothes from the rest of your laundry. "You can infect a whole household with bacteria if you wash feces-covered clothes with other clothes," says Tierno. Saturate the item with plain tap water in a work or bathroom sink, and clean off the poop as best you can. Then fill the washing machine with hot water, add bleach according to package directions, and toss in the dirty clothes or bedding.
Brett Graff, a mother of two girls, is a writer based in Miami.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, October 2004.