Dirt and mud stains come from the best kind of moments - splashing in a puddle, working in the garden, a dog being excited to see you, or sliding headfirst into home plate. But it's not the best moment when you go to do laundry and realize you need to figure out how to get those dirt stains out of your clothes.
Removing a stain depends on two factors: the soil and how it interacts with the material it ends up on. Mud and dirt stains are combination stains because they're made up of more than one element. On top of all that, dirt particles are small enough to make their way into the fabric fibers and ingrain themselves into the material, rather than sit on the surface.
You've got a tough stain to tackle, but you don't need to use potentially dangerous chemicals to get the job done. Depending on the type of fabric you're treating, both bleach and hydrogen peroxide can potentially damage or discolor non-white clothes. Ammonia can also permanently set the stain, as well as release harmful fumes which can result in dangerous chemical reactions. Products such as dish soap, white vinegar and rubbing alcohol might not work hard enough to restore clothes to their original color.
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is a cleaner, degreaser, deodorizer and stain remover that powers out dirt and grime and removes stubborn stains on washable surfaces, including clothing and fabric. The clean-rinsing, orally non-toxic formula doesn't leave behind harsh chemicals or residue that can be absorbed into skin or cause irritation.
- Allow to dry. If the stain is wet mud, as opposed to dried dirt, allow the mud to dry completely. Attempting to wipe away mud will spread the stain by forcing it deeper into the fabric.
- Get rid of excess dirt. Begin by gently scraping the dried mud off with a dull knife or sucking it up with a handheld vacuum. Be careful not to grind the dirt into the fabric.
- Wet. Dampen the stain with clean water. The key is to keep the area moistened with cold water so it doesn't set. Warm water and hot water work mostly for stains that are oily or greasy, so using cool water is best for dirt stains. Wetting the stain before cleaning it simply softens it so it's more vulnerable to the effects of the cleaning solution.
- Pre-treat with Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. Spray full strength Simple Green onto the stained area.
- Let the solution sit. Leave the solution on the stain for a few minutes so it has the chance to really sink into the fibers.
- Blot. Gently rub and blot both sides of the fabric with a clean damp towel or absorbent cloth.
- Air dry. Always let a stained garment air dry to make sure the stain has completely lifted before washing it. If the stain remains, repeat steps 2-5.
- Launder as usual. To ensure a complete clean for the rest of the garment, wash with your usual laundry detergent and dry as you would normally.