How to Remove Grass and Soil Stains From Soccer Uniforms

How to Wash Soccer Uniforms

The Spruce / Hilary Allison

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

For soccer players, soil and grass stains are all part of the game. Whether they are pros or preschoolers, tumbles and skids happen. But, keeping soccer uniforms looking clean and bright doesn't need to be a big chore. It's just a matter of properly handling the material and knowing the most effective steps for stain removal.

Here are some tips and techniques for keeping soccer uniforms looking their best.

Stain Type Grass or soil
Detergent Type Standard laundry detergent
Water Temperature Warm
Cycle Type Normal

Before You Begin

Almost every soccer uniform is made from heavy-weight stretchable polyester knit or mesh. The fabric is durable, has stretch for ease of movement, and is easier to care for than cotton. The key to success in keeping the uniform clean is using the right water temperaturedetergent, and stain removal processes.

Tip

It is important to know if your water is hard or soft. Hard water contains many minerals that make detergents less effective at removing stains. If you have hard water, you will need to add a water softener like Calgon Water Softener Liquid to your pre-soak solution (this is not fabric softener; it is an additive that helps your detergent work better).

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sink or tub
  • Washing machine
  • Drying rack (optional)

Materials

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Water softener (liquid additive)
  • Oxygen bleach

Instructions

Steps to Remove Stains From Soccer Uniforms

  1. Pre-Soak

    • Rinse the uniform in a utility sink to remove as much loose dirt and mud as possible.
    • Fill a sink or plastic storage tub with warm—never hot—water, then add about 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent and 1 cup of baking soda.
    • Soak the uniform for at least an hour before washing. It is even better to allow the uniform to soak overnight. The detergent starts working on stains and the baking soda will help remove the odors.

    Tip

    The pre-soak process is safe for both colored and white fabrics, but it is best to separate the colors and whites into separate soaking tubs in case dye transfer occurs.

    Wooden tablespoon with laundry detergent poured into sink for presoaking soccer uniforms

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  2. Wash the Uniform

    • Wash the uniform separately from other clothes. Most clothes contain cotton or a cotton blend. The lint will come off and cling to the jersey’s letters and numbers.
    • Fill the washer with cool water and detergent, and launder as usual. Never use hot water. Even if the uniform is white, the lettering and numbers are colored and can fade in high heat.
    • You can add an all-fabric or oxygen bleach (brand names are: OxiClean, Nellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) to brighten and whiten uniforms. The oxygen bleach is safe to use on white uniform shirts or pants with colored stripes or lettering.

    Tip

    Do not use chlorine bleach on white uniforms in an attempt to brighten them and remove stains. It is not effective for polyester fabrics and can even damage the material. Chlorine bleach can weaken and strip away the outer covering of polyester fibers revealing the inner yellow core.

    Blue and yellow soccer uniform placed in washing machine alone

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  3. Air Dry

    • Hang the uniform to air-dry away from direct sunlight. Avoid using pins, if possible, to prevent crimps or pulls in the fabric.
    • Tumble for just a few minutes on the low heat or the air-only setting if you must get the uniform dry quickly, and check the dryer frequently to avoid damage to the lettering. (If damage has occurred to the lettering and it is cracking and peeling, there are ways you can make repairs.)

    Warning

    Never put a soccer uniform in an automatic dryer. High heat causes shrinking, can destroy screen-printed lettering and numbers, sets in stains, and fades colors.

    Blue and yellow soccer uniform hanging on drying rack to air dry

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Additional Tips for Handling Soccer Uniform Stains

Stains are going to happen. When it comes to stain removal for soccer uniforms, always start with cold water. Hot water will only set many of the stains and make them nearly impossible to remove.

The pre-soaking technique will usually take care of stains. But, inspect the uniform before you put it into the washer and treat any remaining stains with a stain remover or by rubbing in a bit of extra detergent. If all else fails, you can consult a professional cleaner for help.