The pinkish tinge mystery

One of the questions that’s come up so far is what causes a mysterious pinkish tinge/stain?

Several cloth nappies uses have found nappies or reusable wipes developing a pinkish stain or tinge. We’ve ruled out mixed wash accidents, calpol or anything else obvious like kids having eaten beetroot.

a cotton flannel reusable wipe with a pinkish stain on it

An example of the mysterious stain

It seems to appear AFTER washing, rather than being on the nappy/wipe before it goes in the wash. A simple and unscientific poll in the facebook group found that mainly it’s only happened to nappies/wipes that had poo on them when they went in the wash. And nearly everyone it’s happened to lives in a hard water area.

Chemists, (or biochemists, or microbiologists) can you shed any light on it? We were wondering if it’s possibly something from faecal bacteria reacting with a mineral in the water?

Suggestions of what causes it, or experiments we could try, gratefully accepted.

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