How to Remove Grass Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

grass stains on pants

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Grass stains are a common part of life. Kids playing outside often get them, as do athletes, gardeners, outdoor concert-goers, and more. Fortunately, the stains are fairly easy to remove most of the time.

Here are some tips to remove grass stains from clothing, carpets, and upholstery.

Grass Stains on Clothes

To remove fresh grass stains from washable fabrics, first treat the stained area with a stain remover as soon as possible. If you don't have a stain remover, apply a bit of laundry detergent to the stained area.

Gently work in the stain remover or detergent with your fingers or a soft-bristle brush. Allow the product to remain on the stain for at least 15 minutes before you toss the clothing into the washer. This will give the stain-lifting enzymes time to work on the grass stain and any soil that has been ground into the fabric.​​

If the grass stain has been on the clothing for several days or weeks, you'll need to take a slightly different approach. Mix a solution of warm water and all-fabric oxygen bleach following the label directions. Oxygen bleach is generally safe for all types of fabrics except silk and wool. Make sure the product says it's color safe if your garment isn't white. Completely submerge the entire garment, and allow it to soak for at least one hour and up to six hours. Then, wash it as usual.

Before you toss the clothing in the dryer, check that all of the stains are removed. The high heat of the dryer will set any remaining stain and make it harder to remove. If any stain remains, repeat the soaking step in a fresh batch of oxygen bleach and water, and then wash the item again.

If the garment is labeled dry clean only, bring it to a professional cleaner and make sure to point out the stain. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

Grass Stains on Carpet

If clumps of grass have been tracked onto a carpet, the sooner you remove them the better. Begin by vacuuming up as much loose grass and soil as possible. Use a hose attachment, so the weight of the vacuum doesn't crush the grass into the carpet fibers.

Next, mix a solution of 1 tablespoon dishwashing or laundry detergent with 2 cups cool water. Dip a clean white cloth or cellulose sponge into the solution, and wring to remove excess liquid. Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center, sponge the solution onto the stain, gently working it into the carpet fibers. Allow it to work for 15 minutes, and then blot with a dry white cloth or paper towel until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Then, sponge the area with clean water until no more suds are present, and blot dry with a clean white cloth. Don't skip this step. It is important to remove any soapy residue because it can actually attract and hold soil.

Allow the carpet to air dry, and then check for any remaining stains. If you still see stains, mix a solution of oxygen bleach (a variety that is safe for your carpet type) and water following the package directions. Repeat the cleaning steps with this solution until the stain is gone.

After the carpet is completely dry, vacuum it well to lift the carpet fibers.

Grass Stains on Upholstery

Outdoor upholstery is particularly prone to getting grass stains just because of where it's used. Follow the same steps as suggested for removing grass stains on carpet for upholstery. But take care not to saturate the fabric with the cleaning solution, which can damage the cushions and cause mold to form in them. If possible, remove the cushions before cleaning the fabric. If the fabric is machine-washable, toss it in the washer after treating the stain.

If the stains remain on the upholstery, you can use acetone (if you use nail polish remover make sure it doesn't have conditioning oils) or dry cleaning fluid to remove the stains. Always test these products in an inconspicuous area to make sure they don't remove color from the fabric. Blot gently, working from the outside edges of the stain toward the center. Then, allow the upholstery to air dry.

If the upholstery is vintage or silk, contact a professional upholstery cleaner for recommendations.