Stains. They may be worn as a badge of honour during a match – proof of a well-fought game – but when it comes to laundry time, they can be a bugger to get out. So, here are our tricks to getting those grass, blood and dirt marks out of your sporting gear, so that it becomes a blank canvas again … ready for the next game.

Before trying to remove stains, remember to read the clothing label to determine the proper washing instructions.

Grass stains

The following methods all work well, so simply choose the one you like best. Remember not to use ammonia, degreasers or alkaline detergents on grass stains as they might permanently set the stain.

  • SOAKING
    Soak the clothing in a solution of water and detergent, then wash in the washing machine. Be sure the stain has disappeared before placing the item in a dryer, otherwise the stain will set further.
  • USING SPIRITS
    Methylated spirits or rubbing alcohol can be a quick way to treat a grass stain, diluted with water (50:50) to protect coloured fabrics. Rub the solution over the stain, then wash in the washing machine.
  • USING BLEACH
    This always works a treat on white items. Soak the clothing as per the instructions on the bottle, then wash as per usual.
  • USING A STAIN STICK
    Stubborn grass stains can be treated with an stain stick (such as Sard Wonder Stick). These sticks contain enzymes that prevent the stain from setting. Use on the stain as soon as possible, then wash the item as you usually would within the next week.
  • USING WD-40
    I probably wouldn’t use this product on fabrics, however you can squirt it on leather shoes and balls and rub away the grass stains to make them look new again.

Blood stains

A scraped knee or busted lip can leave unwanted blood stains on clothing. But this type of stain quite easy to remove…

  • USING VINEGAR
    Before the stain sets, pour white vinegar straight onto the area. Allow it soak in for 5-10 minutes, then blot it well with a clean cloth or paper towel. Repeat if needed, then wash and hang immediately in direct sunlight.
  • USING SOAP
    Run the stain under cold water, from the back of the clothing to the front so that it pushes through the stain. Never use hot or warm water as this can cause the blood to bond to the fabric. This should remove some of the stain. Next, apply a laundry soap, such as Sunlight Soap, on the stain and rub the fabric together over the stain to remove it. Wash the clothing in the washing machine using cold water, then hang it on the washing line so that the stained area faces direct sunlight to bleach away any remnants.
  • USING AMONIA OR SALT
    Soak the clothing in a mixture of one litre of water to 2 tablespoons of ammonia or salt for about 20 minutes. Next, rinse under cold water and cold wash in the washing machine. Hang in direct sunlight to dry.
  • USING COCA-COLA!
    This actually works! Immediately pour a little on the stain at the ground/stadium if you have a can handy, then soak it overnight in more of the drink for best results. Wash and hang in direct sunlight. Voilá!

Dirt stains

If not handled correctly dirt/mud stains can become a permanent blight on sports clothing. The colour of the dirt does make a difference – generally, darker or red soils can be harder to eliminate than lighter, sandier types. If the dirt is caked on, let it dry and then scrape off as much as you can before trying to treat the stain. Next, run cold water through the back of the item of clothing to rinse out more of the dirt, then try one of the methods below. Avoid using a dryer after washing as the heat can further set any remnant of a stain and it will become almost impossible to remove.

  • USING DETERGENT
    If the dirt stain is light, simply wash as per usual in the washing machine. You can also rub a little bit of the detergent into the stain first before washing.
  • USING SOAP
    Use a laundry soap, such as Sunlight Soap, on the stain and rub the fabric together over the stain to release the unwanted colouring. Wash the clothing in the washing machine using warm water.
  • USING VINEGAR
    If the fabric is colourfast, saturate the stain with vinegar and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, wash as per usual.
  • SOAKING
    For deeper stains, soak the clothing in a solution of water and detergent (or a product such as Napisan), then wash in the washing machine using warm water. Wash separately from other clothing so the stain isn’t spread. Repeat the soaking steps if the stain hasn’t lifted.

Do you have any stain-removal tips? Please share them in the comments section below.

Feature photography: The under-9As’ clash between Da La Salle Caringbah and Kurnell Stingrays after a downpour in 2014. Photo by Jane Dyson.

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