It's no surprise grass stains are one of the most common and annoying stains for moms, landscapers and gardeners. They are also one of the most challenging types of stains to remove from denim jeans, work shirts and bib overalls because they are protein stains in the same category as blood, chocolate and sweat. Protein stains chemically bond with natural fibers to act like a dye stain. The chlorophyll binds tightly to the fabric making grass stains incredibly difficult to remove.
Step 1: Act Fast
Attack a grass stain as soon as possible; don’t let it set overnight. Start by removing excess dirt and other debris from the stained area. Then put the grass stain face down on an absorbent cloth such as a towel. Sponge rubbing or denatured alcohol onto the back of the stain. This acts as a solvent. Blot as much of the stain as possible onto the towel beneath it.
Step 2: Warm Water
Sponge the area with lukewarm water and allow it to dry. Be aware that heat can permanently set a protein stain into the fibers it’s bonded to, so don't use hot water. For the same reason, you don’t want to dry the article of clothing in a clothes dryer until you're sure you've got the stain out.
Step 3: Use Detergent
Wash jeans, overalls or coveralls using a detergent containing protease, an enzyme that breaks down protein molecules so they can be washed away. Pour a bit of this detergent, at full strength, onto the grass stain and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Another alternative is to use a stain pre-treatment such as Wisk or Zout® containing stain-removing enzymes.
Step 4: Soak It
After pre-treating, loosen the stain from the fabric by gently scrubbing the back side of the stain with an old toothbrush. If the stain isn’t budging, soak it for several hours in a mixture of lukewarm water and a capful of enzyme detergent.
Step 5: Wash It
Finally, put the stained article in a load of wash using cool or lukewarm water. Check the affected area before transferring the article from the washer to the dryer. If you notice the stain isn’t completely gone, repeat the process before drying in the dryer.
Prefer to use a home remedy? Here are three to try:
Yes, a product like Adolph's Meat Tenderizer® digests and breaks up protein using natural enzymes from fruit-- bromelain from pineapple and papain from papaya. Here's how to use it to remove grass stains:
- Run cool water over the stained fabric.
- Sprinkle meat tenderizer on the stain.
- Let it sit for an hour.
- Wash the item in the hottest water the fabric care label recommends.
- Remove from your clothes washer and air dry.
- Repeat, if necessary, to insure the stain is removed completely.
For colorfast jeans, pour white vinegar directly onto the grass stain. In many cases, this alone will remove the stain. If some stain remains, soak the jeans in vinegar for up to 2 hours. If the jeans are not colorfast, dilute the vinegar with an equal amount of water, then soak your jeans for 2 hours. After soaking the jeans, wash as usual.
Baking Soda Toothpaste:
Rub baking soda toothpaste into the stain with an old toothbrush. The grittiness in the toothpaste helps loosen the grass stain. Once the stain is completely covered, wash the jeans as you normally do.