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

Grass Stains
Sean Justice/ Taxi/ Getty Images

Kids get grass stains, athletes get grass stains, gardeners get grass stains, and outdoor concert goers get grass stains. Most of the time, the chlorophyll stains are pretty simple to remove and we'll talk about the ground-in dirt that comes along as well.

Grass Stains on Washable Clothes

To remove fresh grass stains from washable fabrics, first, treat the stained area with a good stain remover. If you don't have a stain remover, work a bit of heavy-duty detergent that contains enough stain-removing enzymes to be effective (Tide and Persil are considered heavy-duty) into the stained area.

 Cover the grass stain with a thin layer of the stain remover and work it into the fabric by rubbing with your fingers or using a soft-bristle brush. Allow the product to remain on the stain for at least 15 minutes before you toss the item 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 sitting around for several days or weeks, you'll need to take an extra step. Mix a solution of warm water and all-fabric oxygen bleach (brand names are: OxiClean, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) following the package label directions. Oxygen bleach is safe for all types of fabrics except silk and wool and for all colors. Completely submerge the entire garment and allow it to soak for at least one hour, longer is better, up to six hours and then wash as usual.

Before you toss the clothes into a clothes dryer, check that all of the stains are removed.

The high heat of the dryer will set the grass stain and make it harder to remove. If any stain remains, repeat the soaking steps in a fresh batch of oxygen bleach and water and then rinse well before drying.

Grass Stains and Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

How to Remove Grass Stains from Carpet

Once clumps of grass have been tracked onto a carpet, the sooner they can be removed the easier it will be to remove the stains. Begin by vacuuming up as much loose grass and soil as possible.

Next, mix a solution of one tablespoon dishwashing or laundry detergent with two 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 work the mixture into the carpet fibers. Allow to work for 15 minutes and then blot with a dry, white cloth or paper towel until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Next, sponge the area with some clear, plain water until no more suds are present. 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 check that all of the stains are removed.  If the stains remain, mix a solution of oxygen bleach 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 well to lift carpet fibers.

How to Remove Grass Stains from Upholstery

Outdoor upholstery is particularly prone to getting grass stains. Follow the same steps as suggested for removing grass stains from carpet. Take care to not overwet the fabric which can cause mold to form on the pillow forms. If possible, remove the pillow covers before cleaning. Many can be tossed in the washer after pretreating the stains.

If the stains remain on upholstery, you can use acetone (if you use fingernail polish remover make sure that it does not 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 and work from the outside edges toward the center. Allow the upholstery to air dry.

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

For more stain removal tips: read Stain Removal A to Z.