The official equation probably goes something like this: (SxG) + J = P(0)
We’re no mathematicians, so the above equation may also explain the space time continuum, or unlock the meaning of life, but no matter how you calculate it, this simple yet daunting laundry problem can be easily solved by anyone.
We all love it when the kids go out to play, or when hubby spends Saturday afternoon providing a freshly cut lawn, but it can be tough to avoid grass stains in the process. The rich color and smear-y nature of this particular mess notoriously coats footwear and embeds itself within the fibers of jeans and other clothing. It’s usually bright green in color, but you can easily have brown mud and other fun stuff mixed in as well.
You don’t want to take away the soccer ball, or tell your children that backyard football is off limits, and you certainly don’t want to let your lawn grow into a wild mess, but remembering to put on special shoes and clothing before going outside isn’t practical. Using the steps below, you’ll be able to easily eliminate any stain created by grass, so you’ll never have to worry about what your kids look like when they come back inside.
Instead of clenching your teeth and biting your tongue to avoid swearing at your family members, you’ll be able to keep your cool because you’ll know that no matter how bad they look now, it’s only temporary. Continue reading below and follow the step by step instructions to turn back time, and make any pair of dirty jeans look like they never touched a single blade of grass.
Why Is Stupid Grass So Darn Stain-y?!
It doesn’t seem right that something so simple, and so easily encountered would wreak such havoc on our wardrobes, but it does. Grass gets it’s lovely color from the chlorophyll that is abundant within it’s cellular make-up, and when released from the fibrous portion of the plant, this green stuff acts like a dye on clothing and other materials. When little Billy tackles his brother on the way to the end zone, or when little Suzy accidentally trips while playing freeze tag in the front lawn, green stuff from the grass will smear into their jeans, and it will quickly bond with the material to become almost permanent in nature. Just like a dye, it will appear to change the blue colored fabric into a green and brown disaster. Using the wrong method may lock the stain in forever, and others may just cause it to fade. When you follow the steps outlined below, you will gently loosen the awful stain-y ingredients, release their choke hold on the fabric, and then lift them off to eliminate any signs of a stain.
The Easy Way To Remove Grass Stains On Jeans
- Quick N Brite Paste
- Heavy Solution (optional) – 3Tbsp QB liquid mixed into 1 quart of water
- Terry cloth towel or cleaning rag
Our method does require the use of a cleaning product you may not have yet, but this powerful, all natural cleaner is great for this job, plus hundreds others, and it will pay for itself once you save the first pair of jeans.
If you don’t have any yet, or if you refuse to try the best all natural cleaner on the planet, you can skip down to the list of traditional methods that follow. They may not be as effective, but you probably have the stuff required to try one or more of them, and one of them may help you get the stain out today.
Before starting, you’ll want to gather your supplies, and place the pants on a flat surface so the dirty spot is easy to work with. To begin, we sprayed the affected area with some heavy solution. This is not required, but it can make the whole process faster and easier. If you don’t want to mix any, or don’t have a spray bottle on hand, you can also prep the area by wetting it with warm water. Make sure to saturate the whole area.
After you prep the stain with water or heavy solution, get some paste and apply it to the area. Just scoop out a little bit with your hand, and slap it on there. Once in place, take a fingernail, and work it in a little using a side-to-side, or back-and-forth motion. It should look something like the photo above. The key to this step, is to use plenty of cleaner, and make sure that it penetrates the fabric well enough to touch all areas that are stained. You don’t really need to scrub, but you do need to ensure that all green spots are coated thoroughly.
If you don’t want to use your hand, you can also apply it with a towel or rag, and then work it in gently with a small brush. There is no risk to your skin because it’s made with safe and natural ingredients, but some people may prefer to avoid touching it.
After applying the cleaner, JUST LET IT SIT for ten minutes or more. This step is very important because it allows the cleaner time to work. While it sits, it will break down the chlorophyll, release it’s bond with the jeans, and allow you to easily lift it off the material.
Once you let it sit for a while, come back with a dry terry cloth towel or a good cleaning rag, and buff the area. Rub up-and-down and back-and-forth to remove all of the cleaner and the dirt. You will notice that the stain transfers from the jeans, onto the towel. This part only takes a moment, and when you finish, the jeans will be clean, or at least mostly clean. If you look at the photo above, you can see that after one application, in this case, some green was still visible. At this point, you could probably just toss the pants into the wash and they would come out totally clean, but for the sake of demonstration, we continued with a repeat application in order to fully eliminate the stain prior to washing.
It’s tough to see the degree of staining left when the material is still wet, so we let it dry. THe picture above shows how the pants looked after a single application, and after drying all the way. If we had let the cleaner sit longer, or had we attempted to clean the stain sooner, the first application may have been enough to finish the job. In this case, it was not.
The second application was applied in the same way as the first, and it was also allowed to sit for about ten minutes afterward. This time around we did use less of the spray, and more of the paste in order to make the application stronger and ensure it would be the last one.
After sitting, we removed the cleaner again with our dry towel, and with it came the remaining green stuff. With the stain eliminated, we allowed the jeans time to dry, and once done, they were totally wearable again. Start to finish, this did take an hour or more, but most of the time was waiting for it to dry. If you are in a hurry, and there is no time to wait, you could use a blow dryer on the area to speed things up. The picture above shows the stained area immediately after cleaning, and the one below shows the spot after the pants were dry.
Take a final look at the results. The picture above shows the clean pants, and the one below shows a side by side comparison of the spot before and after cleaning. As you can see, the once destroyed jeans, are now nice and blue again. It took very little effort, and there was never any risk of damage.
If you aren’t in a hurry, or if you’re kind of lazy, you can get the same results with even less effort by using Quick N Brite as a laundry pre-treater. To do this, simply smear and scratch some cleaner into any stain before you toss it into the laundry basket. Make sure to do it at least 8 hours prior to washing for best results, but then just launder as normal to make almost any stain disappear. This method can give the same stunning results, and it takes hardy any effort at all, but the trade-off is that it takes much longer. If you need to wear the clothes right away, or if you want to ensure total removal prior to washing which may cause some stains to set in, then use the method above. If you just want the fastest, easiest, and safest way to remove nearly any stain from a piece of clothing, and you don’t care about speed, go with this pre-treat method.
Other Stain Fighting Techniques
- Vinegar – Also safe and natural, this common household item can work fairly well for this task if used correctly. Don’t try it on a large spot because it’s not extremely powerful, and don’t go into it thinking that you will lift the whole spot quickly. This stuff works best as a pre-treater, so saturate the green spot with white distilled vinegar prior to washing, then launder like normal. Depending on the severity of the stain, it may work all the way, it may cause fading, or it may not work at all. If it does work, but only fades the stain, repeat to finish the job. This method is very safe, and not at all risky, but it does lack a bit in the effectiveness department.
- Rubbing Alcohol – Not as safe as vinegar, but often more effective, this is another item you probably have at home. It can damage some fabrics, so be careful when you apply it, but for regular jeans, it should be OK to try. This one is also a slow fix because it also works best as a pre-treater, so you shouldn’t expect full removal of the stain until after you launder the pants. Rubbing alcohol works by breaking down the chlorophyll so it can be washed out. The alcohol itself is not really good at cleaning, but it will loosen the pigment in order to give you the opportunity to clean with something else. Use a cotton ball to apply the alcohol, and completely saturate the green spot. Let it sit for a moment, then flush with water. Use dish soap to scrub the area, then rinse again and toss into the laundry. Once washed, the stain should be pretty much gone in most cases.
- Bleach and Peroxide – If you have very light colored jeans, you can try this method, but you should be extremely careful, and you should be aware of the possible damage that may occur. In order for this method to work, the solution needs to sit for a while so any fabric that is sensitive or brightly colored would be off limits unless you want to trade a green spot for a white one. If you’re working with very light jeans or some other white clothing, then mix 1/4 cup of bleach with 1/4 cup of peroxide, then add to one cup of water. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution, then let it sit for at least thirty minutes. After sitting, rinse it out, then launder like normal.
- Regular Detergent – You can’t expect regular detergent used in a regular way to make much of a difference with a stain like this, but if you use it in a concentrated way, it may just do the trick. This method is slightly risky in terms of damage, but it should be safe for almost any type of clothing when applied carefully. Detergents with ammonia or de-greasing agents might not work, and alkaline ones may make the green spot permanent, but if you have some regular style stuff in your laundry room, it might just do the trick. Detergents with color safe bleach seem to be the most effective for this job, so for best results, use one of those. Use the laundry soap as a pre-treater by applying a good amount right on the stain. Once on there, work it in, and let it sit for at least fifteen minutes. After it sits, wash like normal. If there is no change to the stain, you’ll want to try something else, if it does show some improvement, a repeat try might finish the job.
- Stain Sticks and Other Spot Removers – Not all will work, and they are pretty expensive, but if you have one at home, why not give it a try? Make sure to read the directions for the product you are using as some are more dangerous than others, and each will have slightly different directions for use. These sticks and liquids do not guarantee results any more than anything else, but they are quick and easy to try, and the risk of permanent damage is minimal because they are formulated for use on fabric. As with anything else, if it sorta works the first time around, a second attempt may get the area totally clean.
Don’t worry the next time your kid walks in saying “what?!” as you ask them what the heck happened to the knees of their jeans. Whether you use the guaranteed method we outlined above, or you choose to try stuff you have at home, you should be able to get the green spot out to make the pants wearable again.
If you have tried this, please share your results below.
If you have another technique that works well, and you don’t see it mentioned here, use comments section below to share with others.