An image of fresh grass.

Removing grass stains, dirt stains, and sap stains from clothes

It’s a classic parenting dilemma: you love watching your child play sports and enjoy the great outdoors, but you can’t help sighing a little every time they come home from a cricket game with mud or grass stains all over their uniform. But – believe it or not – removing grass stains, dirt, and even tree sap from your little one’s clothes can actually be very simple. Here are a few clever tricks to help you remove plant stains easily, and stop those sighs in their tracks.


How to remove grass stains

There’s more than one way to go about removing grass stains. In fact, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s at least three approaches you can try. 

The key thing is to check the wash care symbols on your garment’s label before you start – these will tell you if the fabric can be treated with bleach or solvents, and what temperature to wash it at too. If the label says ‘Dry Clean Only’, you’ll need to take it to a professional. 

Here’s how to remove grass stains from clothes:

  1. Surf excel Matic Liquid Top Load or Front Load Liquid. Whether you’re removing grass stains or any other types of stains, you’ll want to use a stain-dissolving detergent that’s suitable for your washing machine. Rinse the grass stain with a stream of cold water (hot water can make it set in the fabric) and then apply some Surf excel detergent directly onto the marks as a pre-treatment. Use an old, unwanted toothbrush to gently rub it in. Finally, wash the item at the temperature recommended on the care label.
  2. Solvent. If the grass stain is really ground in, you may need a helping hand from a household solvent. This could be rubbing alcohol, hairspray, hand sanitiser or alcohol-based nail varnish remover – whatever you have at home. Put some solvent on a clean cloth and dab the stain gently. Rinse the stain with cold water and then use the Surf excel method described above.
  3. Bleach. Bleach will often give you good results, provided the garment is made from a durable and light-coloured material. However, as it is a strong product, you need to be careful about using it on delicate materials and coloured garments. Read the care label to see if the item is suitable for treating with bleach. If it is, read and follow the instructions on the bleach product label, paying particular attention to the safety tips. Here’s a quick guide to using bleach in your laundry to get you started.

Top tip: To be absolutely 100% certain that a dirt, sap, or grass stain removal method is safe, try it on an inconspicuous part of the garment before treating the whole stain. 


How do you remove dirt stains from clothes?

Now that you know how to remove grass stains from clothes, it’s time to move on to their sister stain: mud. Mud stains can look impressive, especially if they’re spattered all over your little ones’ clothes after an adventure outside. The truth is that they’re actually child’s play to remove – follow these steps to find out how:

  1. Let the stain dry. Mud is easier to deal with after it has hardened, so let the garment dry on a flat surface away from curious little hands.
  2. Scrape the dirt off. You can use a stiff brush or a spoon to brush or scrape off as much dirt as you can. It’s good to do this outdoors, as it tends to be a messy job!
  3. Use a pre-treatment. Use some Surf excel laundry detergent – Surf excel Matic Liquid, for example – to pre-treat the stain as described above. Leave the detergent on the fabric to work for a little while (about 15–30 minutes) before moving on to the next step.
  4. Wash the garment. Use some more Surf excel Liquid to wash the garment at the usual recommended temperature – check the care label for instructions.


How to get tree sap off clothes

Plenty of kids love scrambling up trees or hiding in bushes, so as a parent, it’s always a fairly good idea to know how to remove sap stains. Don’t worry! You can get the sticky substance off fairly easily, but it’s not water-soluble, so you may want to try the following method: 

  1. Use hand sanitiser. Work a small amount of hand sanitiser (which should be clear and alcohol-based) into the stain with an old (and clean) toothbrush.
  2. Wash the garment with Surf excel Matic Liquid. Consult the garment’s care label for instructions on how best to wash it. 
  3. Let the garment dry. Once it has dried, you can check for any remaining stains. If you find any, repeat the process from step 1 onwards.

Now that you know how to tackle all kinds of plant stains, from removing grass stains to getting rid of tree sap, you can relax and let your kids have their adventures outside – no need to worry the washing afterwards!

Got any other laundry challenges? Have a look in our Washing Tips & Tricks section for more advice on how to tackle stubborn stains.

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