Ah, summer: there’s no better time to bask in outdoor activities, feel the wind in your hair, and of course… get summer stains on your clothes!
Though even the crankiest among us can’t help but crack a smile at all the (shudder) gallivanting that warm weather brings, not knowing how to get stains out of clothes keeps many of us from enjoying summer to its fullest.
Whether it’s food stains on your shirt, sweat-stained sheets, or grass stains on your pants—summer can be quite the minefield for stains! Does that mean you have to resign yourself to yet another summer locked away indoors with the AC on full blast?
Not if we can help it!
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to get your wardrobe through summer unscathed. Now go open a window, and feel the warmth of the summer sun on your cheeks—because you’re about to break free from all the stains holding you back from enjoying a worry-free summer!
A Quick Primer for Treating Stains
Yes, some stains become more common during summer—think grass, sweat, pollen, mud, and sunscreen—but the principles of stain removal remain the same across all seasons. So before we tackle how to handle specific stains, let’s make sure your Stain Removal basics are on fleek!
We can’t expect you to rush home every time you get a stain on your clothes while out in the sun, but once you do, it’s important to treat that stain right away. The longer a stain stays on fabric, the more difficult it is to remove.
Don’t wipe, blot
Resist the temptation to scrub and wipe away the stains. This usually just rubs the stain further into the fabric, and we want to avoid that if we can! Instead, try blotting them gently with a soft cloth or paper towel and wait until you get home to treat the stain with a bit more—or, let’s be honest, a lot—of elbow grease.
Respect the care label
Reading a care label might feel like reading a novel as your world crumbles around you, but that’s the best way to make a bad day even worse. Always read what the care label says before you do anything else to avoid any damage to the fabric.
For “dry clean only” items, you should just take them to a dry cleaner as soon as you can.
Pretreat the stain
Summer stains are tough customers. There’s no shame in enlisting a bit of help before you go on a battle!
Soak your stained clothes in a pre-wash treatment that’s made for the type of fabric you’re dealing with. The obvious ones are liquid detergent or an enzyme-based stain remover but you can also use a white vinegar or baking soda solution if you want a more natural approach.
Let the prewash soak for at least 15 minutes before throwing it in the wash as normal.
Dry only once the job is done
Heat can cause a stain to set permanently into the fabric. So if your stain’s still rearing its ugly head after a wash, don’t dry it! Just repeat until the stain is gone.
The Summer Stain Hall of Fame
Now these are the all-star summer stains that all the little summer stainlets aspire to be one day. Tough luck for them, because we humans have our own hall of fame for how to get stains out of clothes!
If we had a dollar for every time someone asked us how to get grass stains out of clothes, well, let’s just say we’d be living in a much bigger house.
The grass might feel good beneath your feet, but it’s a nightmare for your clothes. Here’s how to get grass stains out of clothes without cursing that perfectly lovely time you had outside:
- Prewash the stain with a liquid detergent or an enzyme-based stain remover for 15 minutes or so.
- For tougher grass stains, you may have to use an old toothbrush to make sure you get into the fibers to remove any residue.
- Throw into the wash as normal.
- If the stain persists, you may want to soak it in some all-fabric bleach (the one without chlorine) for an hour or so before turning that laundry cycle back on.
Flowers have a way of making us smile, but tiny bits of pollen sticking to our clothes? Not so much.
Here’s how to get pollen out of clothes and keep your neighborhood bees buzzing:
- Pollen can sneak their way deep into fabrics, which means you have to shake off as much of it as you can before treating the stain. A piece of tape can also help you pick up the remaining bits.
- Soak the stain in an oxygen-based bleach and cold water solution for 30 minutes, up to eight hours max.
- Throw into the wash as normal.
Muddy clothes are unfortunately a common price of admission for all manner of fun outdoor activities. But don’t hang up your flag football or ultimate frisbee jersey just yet!
Here’s how to get mud stains out of clothes so you can get back to the game:
- Scrape off as much of the mud from the clothing as you can.
- Soak in cold water with a color-safe bleach and liquid detergent for half an hour.
- Wash in warm water with detergent.
- If the stain is still there, soak the stain in some all-fabric bleach—at least one hour—before rewashing.
This is a relatively easy one. Pretreat the stain with a liquid detergent solution for 30 minutes or so, then wash as normal.
But if you live in an area with hard water, you’ll have to put in extra work if your sunscreen contains avobenzone. The secret for how to get sunscreen stains out of clothes in that case is to use water softener during the wash cycle. Use warm water, skip the bleach, and for white fabrics, you can use a commercial rust remover to get rid of the yellowish tint.
Bring It Home with hampr!
Getting stains out of clothes is hard enough without worrying about laundering them after. Don’t let your stain-fighting efforts go to waste with substandard washing and drying! Finish the job by passing hampr the baton!