How to get grass stains out of clothes

Grass stains can be one of the most stubborn and frustrating types of stains to remove from clothing. Whether it’s from your kids playing outside, your dog running through the yard, or your own gardening and lawn work, those pesky green stains can be a real pain to get out of. But don’t despair – there are several effective methods you can use to remove grass stains from your clothes and get them looking fresh and clean again.

In this article, we’ll go over the best techniques and products to use for getting grass stains out, as well as some tips and tricks to prevent grass stains in the first place. By the end, you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you need to tackle even the toughest grass stains and keep your clothes looking their best.

get grass stains out of clothes

What Causes Grass Stains?

Grass stains are caused by the chlorophyll in grass and other green plants. Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants their green colour, and when it comes into contact with fabric, it can leave a stubborn stain behind.

Grass stains typically occur when the grass is wet, such as after dew, rain, or sprinklers. The moisture helps the chlorophyll adhere to the fabric fibres, making the stain harder to remove. Stains are also more likely to occur on lighter-coloured clothing, as the green pigment shows up more prominently.

In addition to the chlorophyll, grass stains can also contain dirt, mud, and other organic matter that can further set the stain and make it more difficult to remove.

Best Methods for Removing Grass Stains

There are a few different methods you can try for getting grass stains out of your clothes. The best approach will depend on the type of fabric, the age and severity of the stain, and what cleaning products you have on hand. Here are some of the most effective techniques:

1. Pretreat the Stain

The first step in removing a grass stain is to pretreat it as soon as possible. The longer a grass stain sits, the harder it will be to get out. As soon as you notice the stain, rinse the affected area with cold water to help lift some of the pigment. Then, apply a stain remover or pretreatment product directly to the stain.

Look for products that contain enzymes or oxygen-based bleaching agents, as these are particularly effective at breaking down the chlorophyll and other organic matter in grass stains. Some good options include:

  • Persil ProClean Stain Remover
  • Shout Advanced Stain Remover
  • Biz Stain Fighter

Rub the pretreatment product into the stain using your fingers or a soft-bristled brush, then let it sit for 15-30 minutes before washing. This will give the active ingredients time to penetrate the fabric and start breaking down the stain.

2. Soak in an Enzyme-Based Detergent

Another effective method for removing grass stains is to soak the affected clothing in an enzyme-based laundry detergent. Enzymes are natural, biodegradable compounds that can help break down the proteins, fats, and other organic matter that makeup grass stains.

Fill a sink, bucket, or washing machine with cold water and add a generous amount of an enzyme-based detergent like Persil, Biz, or Persil ProClean. Submerge the stained clothing and let it soak for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours for older or tougher stains.

The longer you can let the clothing soak, the better the enzymes will be able to penetrate and dissolve the stain. Once the soaking time is up, wash the item as you normally would.

3. Try Vinegar or Lemon Juice

If you don’t have any specialty stain removers on hand, you can also try using some common household ingredients to get grass stains out. Both vinegar and lemon juice contain mild acidic properties that can help break down chlorophyll and other organic compounds.

For vinegar, simply soak the stained area in undiluted white vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour before washing. You can also try making a paste with vinegar and baking soda and rubbing it into the stain before washing.

Lemon juice works similarly. Apply fresh lemon juice directly to the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes, then wash as usual. The citric acid in the lemon juice will help lift the stain.

4. Use an Oxygen-Based Bleach

For extra stubborn grass stains, you may need to use an oxygen-based bleach product. These types of bleaches, like OxiClean or hydrogen peroxide, are more gentle on fabrics than chlorine bleach but can still effectively lift and remove tough stains.

Mix the oxygen-based bleach with water according to the product’s instructions, then soak the stained clothing in the solution for several hours, or even overnight. The active oxygen compounds will gradually break down the stain over time.

Be sure to check the care label on your garment first, as oxygen bleaches may not be suitable for all fabrics. They work best on natural fibres like cotton, linen, and wool.

5. Try an Ammonia-Based Cleaner

Another household product that can help remove grass stains is ammonia. Ammonia is a powerful cleaning agent that can help dissolve and lift stubborn organic stains like grass.

To use ammonia, dilute it with water at a ratio of about 1 part ammonia to 3 parts water. Sponge or dab the ammonia solution directly onto the stain and let it sit for 15-30 minutes before washing. You can also try mixing the ammonia solution with a bit of laundry detergent for extra cleaning power.

Just be sure to test the ammonia solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first, as it can be harsh on some fabrics. Never mix ammonia with chlorine bleach, as the fumes can be toxic.

Tips for Preventing Grass Stains

In addition to knowing how to remove grass stains, it’s also helpful to have some strategies for preventing them in the first place. Here are a few tips:

  1. Pretreat clothes before activities: If you know your kids will be playing on the grass, or you’ll be doing yard work, pretreat their clothes with a stain remover before they head out. This can help create a barrier and make the stains easier to remove later.
  2. Wear darker colours: Grass stains are much more noticeable on light-coloured fabrics. Opt for darker colours like navy, black, or dark green when doing outdoor activities to help camouflage any stains that may occur.
  3. Use a stain-resistant fabric: Look for clothing made with stain-resistant, moisture-wicking fabrics like polyester or nylon. These materials are less absorbent, making it harder for grass stains to set in.
  4. Treat stains immediately: As soon as you notice a grass stain, rinse the affected area with cold water and pretreat the stain. The sooner you can address a grass stain, the easier it will be to remove.
  5. Avoid rubbing the stain: When trying to remove a grass stain, resist the temptation to vigorously rub the fabric. This can actually grind the stain further into the fibres and make it harder to lift out. Gently blot or dab the stain instead.
  6. Wash in cold water: Always wash grass-stained clothes in cold water, as hot water can set the stain. The cold temperature helps prevent the chlorophyll and other organic matter from bonding to the fabric.

By following these prevention tips and using the right removal methods, you can keep your clothes looking their best even after a day of outdoor fun or yard work.


Grass stains can be a real pain, but with the right techniques, you can get them out of your clothes and restore them to their former glory. From pretreating with stain removers to soaking in enzyme-based detergents, there are several effective methods you can use.

And remember, the key is to act quickly. The sooner you can address a grass stain, the easier it will be to remove. With a little bit of elbow grease and the right products, you’ll have those pesky green stains out in no time.

So the next time your kids come running in from the backyard with grass-stained knees or your favourite pair of gardening pants get dirty, don’t panic. Refer back to this guide and you’ll be well on your way to getting your clothes looking clean and fresh again.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.