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How to Clean These 6 Fall Sports Stains

by Bill Gribble

1. Mud/Dirt 

If your sports star gets tackled, tripped up, or takes a nosedive, they’ve probably got a muddy, dirty uniform. During the fall season, you’re bound to have a game or two take place during heavy rainfall, and that game will quickly turn into the mud bowl before halftime. If you get mud on your team jersey, you’ll want to hang the uniform up to dry as fast as possible. Once the mud has dried, shake out the remaining loose dirt with your hands or a soft brush. If the stains remain, douse with a combination of distilled vinegar and iodized salt. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, rinse, and place the uniform into the wash as you would normally. 

 2. Grass 

If your fall sports season means football or soccer, grass stains have to be one of the most common and difficult stains to remove. If your pants or jersey are covered in grass stains, soak them in undiluted white distilled vinegar for at least 30 minutes and wash with cold water. If the stain lingers, don’t dry them yet--try rubbing baking soda and water on the stain before washing again. If the green hue persists, try some rubbing alcohol or a splash of stain remover.

3. Sweat 

If your child is busy at practice each day after school, it’s going to take something a little stronger than Old Spice to fight those sweat stains. For this job, you’ll need something with greater cleaning power like OxiClean. This will work into the fabrics to break up the stains and brighten the uniform at the same time. If you wash the uniform regularly or shortly after each game, sweat stains are no competition.

4. Chewing Gum 

All athletes love to chew gum. For some, it’s to calm their nerves, and for others, it’s simply part of their superstitious rituals before each game. If blowing bubbles is part of your athletic culture, it might get stuck on your pants or shoes from time to time. No need to pop off, bubble gum comes off without much effort. Rub the piece of gum with an ice cube until it hardens. Then you’ll be able to chip away with a dull knife. If any remains, you can always try the peanut butter trick and coat the piece of gum with your favorite brand of creamy PB for an easy removal--just be careful not to let the dog lick it off. 

5. Blood 

When you’re on the field, cuts and scrapes are bound to happen. The key to keeping blood from ruining a uniform is treating the stain fast. Immediately run the article of clothing under a faucet of cold water and see how much of the stain you can rub off. Make sure to use cold water on a bloodstain--warm water will cause the stain to set into the fabric. If the jersey is white, try adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide over the stain--if it starts bubbling, that means it’s cleaning. 

If the uniform is a darker color, create a mixture of 1 cup of distilled white vinegar with a few tablespoons of iodized salt, then soak the garment in the solution for approximately 1 hour. The salt helps absorb the stain without damaging the material. Repeat this process as necessary and wash as usual to remove the stain. 

6. Mildew Smells 

Not necessarily a sports stain, but an equally offensive odor nobody wants in their uniform--the dreaded smell of mildew. Whether it’s your shoulder pads or a hidden pair of socks buried at the bottom of your gym bag, even the most conscientious laundry-doer is faced with combating this smell. You’ll want to wash all dirty clothes after each game or practice and add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the bleach dispenser before each wash if the odor is trapped in the fabric. Never leave a used jersey in your gym bag for more than a couple hours-- empty your bag each time and make sure it’s cleaned out and dry as possible before the next game.

Keep your head in the game and keep your jersey looking fresh all season long. If you need help finding the right appliance to help combat pesky stains, make sure to stop on by and we’ll help you find what you need to suit your lifestyle.