Tricks to Remove Mud Stains From Clothing

Boy with dirty hands and dirty white shirt

Jamie Grill / Getty Images

If you have kids or rowdy pets, then you have probably had to deal with more than one stubborn mud stain. While dirt can make quite a mess, it is not as hard to clean up as it looks. As long as you do not set a mud stain by putting it in the dryer, you can probably save your muddy garment. Whether your mess is big or small, this trick will help you get all your clothes looking as good as new. With these simple steps, you will have your muddy mess cleaned up in less than 30 minutes.


Remove Mud Stains From Clothes

The best tip is to ignore the advice you usually hear about stains and let this one completely dry out first before you try to clean it.

  1. Wait: While you usually want to try to clean a stain quickly, when it comes to dirt, take the opposite approach. Let the clay, sand, or dirt dry thoroughly to prevent smearing. Do not attempt to wipe off the mud while it is still wet. It will only smear the stain more on the clothing.
  2. Scrape or vacuum the mud-stained area: Once the mud stain has dried, use your scraping tool or vacuum to remove as much of the dried clumps of mud as possible. You want to try to get as much of the dirt off as you can with this step, but be careful not to mash it into the fabric further.
  3. Using detergent, soak the stained clothing: Rub liquid detergent into the stain and allow to soak for 15 minutes or until the stain no longer remains. Lightly rub the stained area between your fingers every three to five minutes to help loosen the stained area.
  4. Use a stain remover: If traces of the mud stain remain, apply a stain remover stick, gel, or spray and let it stand for five minutes.
  5. Wash with liquid laundry detergent: You can hand wash the fabric or use a washing machine for this step. Follow the directions on the clothing label. You can use warm water to wash the clothes.
  1. Repeat steps: If the mud stain still remains, repeat steps three through five until it is completely gone. Never use a clothes dryer on mud-stained clothing. It will set the stain and make it impossible to remove. Once you have removed the stain, wash and dry the clothing according to the fabric directions.
illustration of removing mud stains
The Spruce / Melissa Ling

Remove Soil From White Clothes

Falling in white jeans may seem like a major disaster, but do not worry, you can save those pants. When you need to remove mud stains from white clothing, bleach is your secret weapon. Chlorine bleach is a strong stain remover, but it can also damage some fabrics. Make sure you read the garment tag before using bleach. If your clothing is not white or color-fast, use the same steps you would for other fabrics.

Remove Mud Stains From Leather

Leather jackets add some instant cool to any outfit, however, mud stains do not. Getting the dirt out of leather is a little trickier than most fabrics because water can also stain the leather. If the clay is still wet, gently wipe off as much as you can with a damp towel; once you have gotten as much of the dirt off as you can, buff the leather with a dry cloth.

If the mud has already dried, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to rub off as much of the soil as you can before rubbing it with a damp towel. Make sure to dry your leather off with a towel after you have cleaned it; you do not want to replace your mud stain with a water stain.