How to Remove Grass Stains
Thanks to these expert tips on how to remove grass stains from clothes and shoes, the grass really IS greener on the other side. You're welcome.
You may have heard that grass stains are permanent, but if you spot a grass stain on your clothes or shoes, all hope isn’t lost. There are a few expert hacks for how to remove grass stains that actually work—so don’t go tossing your favorite pair of grass-stained jeans just yet! Try these smart tips for how to remove stains first.
“Grass causes stains and can be difficult to remove because grass is rich in chlorophyll, the dye that gives grass its green color. That chlorophyll can also act as a dye to fabric,” Jennifer Ahoni, senior scientist at Tide, explains.
And while grass stains can become permanent if they are allowed to set, they’re totally treatable if you can get to them in time, says Melissa Rodriguez, cleaning expert and founder of Bright Home Cleaning SVCS. In short: Your best move for learning how to remove grass stains from jeans, shoes, or any type of fabric is to treat it as soon as possible.
Read on for their best expert tips on how to remove grass stains from shoes, jeans, and any other type of clothing with ease.
Grass stain removal methods
“Baking soda is a miracle cleaning product—and non-toxic, too!” Rodriguez says, which is why it’s her secret weapon for how to remove grass stains from shoes and clothes.
To get rid of grass stains with baking soda, mix it with hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of dish soap and let the stain soak for a few hours, she says.
Grass stains are a type of enzymatic stain—stains that result from proteins (blood is also an enzymatic stain, for example—here’s how to remove blood stains)—so “your best bet is to tackle them using a liquid detergent that contains enzymes to break down the staining components of grass stains, such as Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy Duty 10x,” Ahoni says.
She suggests pretreating grass stains with liquid detergent and letting them sit for 20 minutes before washing them in the warmest water tolerable, according to the clothing’s care instructions. Repeat before drying if the grass stain remains after one load.
OxiClean or Clorox
Oxygenated stain removers, like OxiClean, can work wonders on grass stains on colored fabrics. “Mix OxiClean with water to create a paste and rub it on the stain,” Rodriguez says. “Or, if the fabric is white, you can use Clorox mixed with warm water.”
For both, let the solution sit on the stain for a few hours before washing as usual. “If the stain is still there, do not put it in the dryer—the heat can reinforce the stain,” Rodriguez explains.
This household staple works wonders when it comes to knowing how to remove grass stains from clothes. “Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent that can replace bleach,” Rodriguez explains.
To treat stains with hydrogen peroxide, Rodriguez says to mix one part hydrogen peroxide with three parts cool water and rub into the stain, along with some baking soda. The hydrogen peroxide and baking soda will interact and bubble up a bit, helping to lift the grass dye out of the fibers.
Rubbing alcohol can work, but it should be used as a last resort, Rodriguez advises: “I recommend trying other solutions first, since alcohol can damage fabrics,” so if you’re going to try this home remedy, be sure to test it on an inconspicuous spot first.
To clean grass stains using rubbing alcohol, apply it to a cloth or paper towel and gently blot the stained area to lift out the dye, then rinse the fabric thoroughly. These are more of the best stain removers for clothes. Rubbing alcohol can also be used to get rid of ink stains—here’s how to get ink out of clothing effectively.
How to get grass stains out of jeans
Washing your jeans is one of the best ways to deal with these stubborn stains, according to Ahoni. Here’s her advice on how to get grass stains out of jeans in the wash:
1. Pretreat the grass stain with a liquid detergent containing enzymes directly to the grass stain and let sit for 20 minutes.
2. Then, massage the detergent in. “Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to help spread the detergent into the fibers of the garment or rub the fabric together gently,” Ahoni says.
3. Toss the item into the wash as usual. Ahoni says it’s fine if you wash a grass-stained item with a full load. “Use the warmest water possible as recommended by the garment care label to treat grass stains,” she adds.
4. Before tossing your jeans in the dryer, check to see If the stain remains. If it does, repeat the above steps—otherwise, the heat of the dryer will set the stain.
Rodriguez prefers a homemade stain removal solution for getting grass stains out of jeans: “A combination of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap with a little elbow grease and soaking works every time!”
How to get grass stains out of jeans without washing them
For those times when you’re on-the-go or can’t launder your grass-stained jeans right away, having the right tools can help.
“Keep a stain stick pen on hand in case of emergencies—especially if you have children!” Rodriguez says. “Rub the stick on the stained area with some water. Treat the stain immediately when you get home.”
You can also create a water and detergent mixture to dab onto the stain using a cloth or paper towel. “Blot and gently rub the stain with your towel, working from the outside of the stain toward the center,” Ahoni says, then wipe away any excess suds using a paper towel or damp cloth.
How to get grass stains out of shoes
When grass stains happen on shoes, there’s no need to kick your favorite pair to the curb. These tips for how to get grass stains out of shoes–whether they’re white shoes, leather shoes, or even suede shoes—will help you save your soulmates.
“Check the care label on your sneakers for the best guidance on cleaning them and to ensure that they are machine washable. Many shoes made from canvas and cotton are machine washable,” Ahoni says.
For shoes that can be thrown into the wash, she suggests this approach:
- Use a dry soft brush to remove any excess dirt and mud from shoes first.
- Pretreat using a liquid detergent containing enzymes, and let the detergent set for 20 minutes. If needed, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to help spread the detergent and rub it into the stain.
- Remove the shoelaces and insoles (hand wash these separately) and place the shoes in a mesh garment bag, Ahoni says. Then, wash them on a delicate/gentle cycle in cold water.
- If stain remains, repeat this process before letting the shoes air dry completely before wearing again.
“Mix equal parts water and white vinegar to treat leather shoe stains,” Rodriguez says. After they’ve dried, “buff scuffs away with a wet cloth dipped into baking soda. Wipe your shoes off, then buff them once more after they’ve dried,” she says. Never put leather shoes in the wash.
Of course, the best way to remove stains on suede shoes is to avoid them all together. Before ever wearing suede shoes, they should be pre-treated with a suede protectant spray to help them resist grass and other stains. “If you do have some staining on suede shoes, lightly rub a nail file or scrub brush to gently buff stains away,” Rodriguez says—never toss them in the wash.
Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and wipe the stains away, Rodriguez suggests. “If that doesn’t work, you can also make a paste of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water, and gently rub it on the sneakers with a scrub brush, allowing it to absorb and sit for at least thirty minutes.” Rinse with water and repeat until the stain is removed.
- Jennifer Ahoni, Tide‘s Senior Scientist
- Melissa Rodriguez, cleaning expert and founder of Bright Home Cleaning SVCS