A Guide to Removing Grass Stains from Anything
With warmer weather upon us, you and your family are likely eager to get outside and enjoy the sunshine—even if it’s just in the backyard. But with outdoor activities often come the dreaded grass stains. Frustrating everyone from soccer moms to casual picnickers for as long as anyone can remember, grass stains are notoriously difficult to remove thanks to their makeup of assorted proteins and chlorophyll.
This year, fear not! Our cleaning experts at Merry Maids® have put together a guide to help you remove grass stains from just about anything, including jeans, shoes, and even upholstery. It’s your cheat-sheet to enjoying the great outdoors but leaving the lawn where it belongs.
How to Remove Grass Stains from Clothing
Chlorophyll, the main component of a grass stain, is a green pigment that gives grass and leaves their color. When transferred to clothing, however, it is a green pigment that acts as a dye. Combine that with dirt, sweat, and other hard-to-remove elements, and you have yourself a challenging stain.
Grass stains are typically easier to deal with when they are fresh, regardless of the material. Think about tie-dying a shirt or coloring your hair: The longer a dye sits on a fiber, the better it sets into it. When possible, treat grass stains as soon as you notice them. Older stains aren’t a lost cause, though—they just might take a little more work. Read on for textile-specific tips.
Denim and Other Washable Fabrics
To remove fresh grass stains:
Pre-treat the stain before laundering. If grass stains are common in your home, you may want to invest in a stain removal product that targets them. If you don’t have any stain remover on hand, you can also use some enzymatic laundry detergent (this includes most standard liquid laundry soaps). If you don’t have either of these options, use a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. Thinly coat the entire stained area with your stain remover and work it into the fabric.
Allow the stain remover to sit for at least 15 minutes. It needs this time to break down the stain. You may want to try scrubbing the stain with a soft-bristle brush to push the stain remover further into the fibers.
Wash on a cool setting. Hot water can set a stain that wasn’t fully removed, so use cold water.
Check before drying. If the stain is still visible, repeat the above steps before drying. The heat from the dryer, even more so than hot water, can lock in a stain. If the stain is gone, dry as usual.
For older or set-in grass stains, soak the entire garment in a solution of warm water and oxygen bleach for at least four hours. After soaking, if the stain is still visible, follow the above steps for treating and laundering, but avoid the vinegar option. (Although the combination won’t create toxic fumes like chlorine bleach and vinegar, oxygen bleach works best in an alkaline environment rather than an acidic one.) If the stain is gone, launder as usual.
For canvas shoes, use a clean toothbrush, nailbrush, or scrub brush to remove dirt or other debris from the stained area. Mix 1 teaspoon of laundry detergent with 1 cup of water, dip in your brush, then gently scrub the grass stain until it disappears.
To clean sneakers, especially white ones that seem to be a magnet for grass stains, use vinegar and a cotton ball to wipe away stains.
“Dry Clean Only” Fabrics
Unfortunately, this is one area where you’re better off trusting the professionals. Bring the grass-stained garment to your favorite dry cleaner and be sure to note the stain.
Getting Grass Stains Out of Carpet or Upholstery
No matter how careful you are or how closely you watch your family or four-legged friends, sometimes grass can be tracked inside and end up ground into your carpet or furniture. Here’s how to remove the stains.
Start by vacuuming the area to eliminate as much loose grass and dirt as possible. If the stain is on a sofa or other piece of furniture, use a small handheld vacuum or your vacuum cleaner’s attachments.
Combine 2 teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap with 2 cups of cool water in a bowl or cup to create a stain-busting solution.
Using a clean toothbrush, nailbrush, or other soft-bristled brush dipped in the soapy water solution, gently scrub the stain. Work from the outer edges of the stain to the center to contain any potential spreading.
Let the solution sit on the stain for 10 to 15 minutes. This allows it time to lift the grass and dirt from the fibers of the carpet or upholstery. Then blot with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Remove any leftover soap—which can actually collect dirt—by blotting the area with a clean cloth, sponge, or paper towel dampened with plain water. Take care not to saturate the material with water, especially on furniture; too much moisture can lead to mold or mildew inside the upholstery.
Blot again with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to dry the area.
Finally, vacuum once more to remove any remaining debris and to lift the fibers of the carpet.
Looking for related advice from Merry Maids®? Check out Keep Dog Dirt Outside and How to Clean Outdoor Furniture, or browse through our collection of cleaning tips.