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  • Writer's pictureLaundry Care

12 Most Common Summertime Stains

Woman holding a hamburger that dripped ketchup on her shirt

Summer doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your wardrobe. Arm yourself with the proper tools to erase these common summertime stains so you can have fun in the sun without worrying about your clothes.

1. Grass Stains

Children playing a game of soccer

If you have kids that play sports such as baseball, football...or tend to play in the yard you need to know how to get rid of stubborn grass stains in the laundry.

How to clean:

  • Pre-soak the stain garments in warm water and a few drops of dishwashing soap.

  • Gently scrub stain in small circular motion with a soft bristled brush.

  • If stain remains, soak again in a mixture with equal parts vinegar and water. Soak for at least 30 minutes.

  • Rinse and wash garment according to clothing tag instructions.

2. Dirt & Mud Stains

Young girl standing in mud

With the summer storms and heat, you’re likely to encounter several mud stains on you and your family’s clothing. Removing them is a breeze with these simple steps.

How to clean:

  • First, let the mud dry...removing wet mud is an extra challenge.

  • Once dry, brush mud off as much as possible with your hands or a clean, soft bristled scrub brush.

  • Apply a few drops of dish detergent to stained area. (we LOVE Dawn dish soap for this!)

  • If necessary, spritz water to allow the dish soap to coat and penetrate the entire stain.

  • Let sit for 20-30 minutes.

  • Next, apply ¼ cup of laundry detergent to stain and rub it gently until it forms suds.

  • Rinse the area and wash according to instructions on the item’s garment tag.

3. Sangria Stains

2 Glasses of Sangria on a wooden table

Yummm! Sangria is a refreshing and delicious treat on a warm summer evening. Use this tried and true method to save your clothes (and your next wine night) quickly and easily.

How to clean:

  • Dab the excess wine with a clean cloth or towel to remove excess liquid

  • Soak stain with club soda for 30 minutes or more.

  • Scrub stained spot with a soft bristle toothbrush.

  • Wash according to clothing tag instructions.

4. Chocolate Ice Cream Stains

Spilled dish of chocolate ice cream

Mmmmm….Chocolate ice cream tastes so good. And it’s nearly impossible to eat without a few drops landing on your shirt. No worries! Get it out easily with the steps below. (This works for any ice cream flavor, but chocolate happens to be our favorite!)

How to clean:

  • Apply mixture of ½ cup dish soap and ½ cup baking soda.

  • Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Scrub gently if necessary.

  • Wash as directed.

5. Pollen Stains

Young boy standing next to a flowering bush holding a tissue to his nose

Ever wondered what that greenish-yellow dust left behind on you clothes might be? More than likely, it’s pollen...and is a strong allergen that can affect you and your family’s respiratory system. Eliminate it in minutes- before spreading it to your other clothes.

How to clean:

  • First and foremost, dust excess pollen off of garment.

  • Soak the stained garment in cold water for 30 minutes straight, then rinse.

  • Do this a few times until most of the stain has been removed.

  • If the stain persists, and wash the garment in the hottest recommended temperature for the fabric.

6. Deodorant Stains

Deodorant/ antiperspirant are a MUST when it comes to preventing sweat and odor while enjoying outdoor activities in the summer. Deodorant stains are no problem if you know what to do and act fast!

How to clean:

  • Rub stain with baby wipes several times to loosen waxy buildup.

  • Then, saturate stain with 100% lemon juice, sprinkle with table salt and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

  • Rinse and repeat. Scrub with brush if the stain remains.

  • Wash as directed on clothing care tag.


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7. Grease Stains

With barbeques and summer cookouts every weekend, you’re bound to suffer from a few greasy hamburger or hotdog stains. As long as you treat these stains quickly, you can save your favorite part of shorts or that awesome shirt.

How to clean:

  • Blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth to absorb excess grease.

  • Sprinkle with baking soda and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

  • Then, apply a few drops of dishwashing liquid and spread over entire stain with fingers.

  • Let sit for another 30 minutes.

  • Scrub gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and wash as directed.

8. Blood Stains

Yikes! No matter how hard you try, cuts, scrapes and over-scratched bug bites lead to potential blood stains. This is another stain you’ll have to treat fast for best results.

How to clean:

  • If still wet, blot stain dry with a clean cloth.

  • Dip cloth in hydrogen peroxide and dab stain until completely saturated.

  • Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse both sides of the fabric with cold water.

  • If stain is still visible, spray with a short burst of WD-40 and let sit for another 2-5 minutes.

  • Wash as usual, according to care instructions.

9. Sunscreen Stains

Never leave the house without sunscreen slathered all over. But what happens when it gets on your clothes. Sunscreen is one of the worst summer stains...but it can be beat with a bit of determination and elbow grease.

How to clean:

  • Scrape any visible drops or blobs of product before treating the stain.

  • Sprinkle baking soda on stain to absorb excess oils left behind.

  • Then, soak garment in a mixture of hot water and dishwashing liquid for at least 1 hour.

  • Wash according to care tag instructions.

  • If all else fails, pick up a rust stain remover from the laundry aisle of your grocery store. Follow the directions to continue treating the stain.

  • To avoid future sunscreen stains, choose a brand that does not contain avobenzone (the main stain-causing ingredient).

NOTE: Never use chlorine or oxygenated bleach on sunscreen. These products may make the stain worse!

10. BBQ Sauce, Ketchup or Mustard Stains

If you go all summer without a drop of delicious BBQ sauce (or ketchup/ mustard) on your clothes, you might be doing it wrong! Get those yummy stains out easily with these steps.

How to clean:

  • Remove any excess sauce from clothing and blot dry with a clean cloth.

  • Combine 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid with 1 cup of white distilled vinegar.

  • Apply to stain and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

  • Rinse and repeat if necessary.

  • Launder according to care tag instructions.

11. Sweat Stains

Ahhhh...nothing says summer more than a nice, ripe sweat stain...and the sweaty B.O. stench that comes with it. This one is literally impossible to avoid (unless you frequent areas such as Antarctica, Alaska, Siberia or the Balkans). This one is super easy to keep from ruining your favorite shirts.

How to clean:

  • Mix a 2:1 solution of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap (we prefer concentrated Dawn) in small bowl

  • Apply mixture to stain and rub into fabric with fingers

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on top and let sit for 20-30 minutes

  • Scrub gently in a circular motion with a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush

  • Wash as directed by the laundry care tag. If stain persists, DO NOT put item in the dryer! Repeat process.

12. Makeup Stains

Speaking of sweat... If you wear makeup you know how sweat can lead to a melted mess on clothes, especially shirt collars and necklines. Get rid of any makeup stain with these easy steps.

How to clean:

  • Gently remove any product left on the fabric with a spatula or dull butter knife.

  • Dab stain (both sides of fabric) with a cloth dipped in oil-free makeup remover.

  • Run water through the stained fabric to rinse.

  • Apply a handful of shaving cream to the area and gently massage into stain.

  • Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

  • Then, rinse and launder according to care instructions.


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