Grass and cricket, grass and cricket, go together like a ball and wicket …
OK, Sinatra may not have got around to making this particular observation. However, the post-match evidence for this sport-pitch link is there for all to see, all over those previously impeccably white cricket trousers.
At the end of the day’s play, when it’s stumps time and the players make their weary way off the pitch, all whoever’s doing the laundry will be thinking is, “what on earth do I do about all those bright green highlights festooning everyone’s trouserwear?”
Worry not, flannel fixer. Here are the solutions to all your grass gripes.
By the end of this piece, you’ll be able to hit those sportswear stains for six. Howzat? Read on and see.
Note: There may well be more cricketing references and puns ahead. Just so you know.
Right, let’s open the bowling with…
Do Grass Stains Come Out of White Clothes?
Yes indeed. Although grass stains look pretty dramatic, it’s perfectly possible to eradicate them from white clothes, using the methods below.
Before we get to stain removal methods, let’s pause a while and ask why grass packs such a wallop.
It’s the brightness of its dyes that are to blame. Grass is packed full of chlorophyll, or organic pigment, which is basically a colour bomb waiting to go off all over your trousers.
Chlorophyll just loves latching onto fabric. It’s very much its thing.
And once it’s engineered a strong molecular bond, it can look like it’s all over for your clothes.
Are grass stains permanent? The truth is, they can be, but only if you leave the stain in place. Like a stalwart batter, once a stain gets in, it’s difficult to get out.
So, you need to act quick and despatch that stain to the pavilion with a lightning delivery of one of the following methods.
Incidentally, before you go looking for the bits and bobs these methods require, stick your trousers in the sink. You’ll help yourself no end by giving them an initial dunk, and stick with cold water—it’s more effective at loosening grass stains than warm water.
Removing Grass Stains with Bicarbonate of Soda and Vinegar
This is a nice natural method that uses a couple of everyday household items to get grass stains out of fabric.
Here’s how to remove grass stains using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar:
- Make a paste with bicarbonate of soda and water (in a ratio of around 2:1)
- Apply to the offending region
- Spray with white vinegar
- Let the fizzing commence. You’ve just started a nice little chemical reaction. For some, this may be the most action their trousers have seen for a while. So, enjoy while it lasts.
- Once the fizzing has finished, use a nail brush to work the mixture into each and every affected fibre.
- Wash in machine as usual.
Note: If you only have vinegar, it’s worth giving this a go. Even without its bicarb buddy, vinegar can pack a punch, courtesy of the acetic acid it contains.
If you’re using vinegar without bicarbonate of soda, make a 1:2 solution of vinegar and water, soak the trousers for at least an hour, then chuck them in the washing machine.
Removing Grass Stains with Alcohol
No, this isn’t advice to have a drink and you’ll feel better about your stained trousers. This alcohol’s the rubbing kind.
Here’s how to get grass stains out of cricket trousers using rubbing alcohol:
- Pour a little of the rubbing alcohol on the stain
- Use a soft cloth to rub in for a few seconds, taking care not to damage the fibres
- Wash in a machine as usual
Removing Grass Stains with Toothpaste
Yes, you can get rid of quite a few different kinds of stain with good old toothpaste. It’s a bit of an allrounder.
Cleaning cricket whites will be easier if the toothpaste you use is one that boasts whitening power. That should cut through the stain’s defences.
Here’s what to do:
- Wet the affected area with water
- Apply the toothpaste to the area and give it a bit of a scrub. A toothbrush is ideal for this, funnily enough. Best to get a new one for any toothbrushing thereafter.
- Wash in a machine as usual
There, that should put a smile on your face. While you’ve got the toothpaste out, it’s also great for getting your shoes back from alright to all-white.
Removing Grass Stains with Laundry Detergent
Sometimes, all you’ve got is the bare minimum. Can you use laundry detergent to get grass stains out of sportswear? Yes, you can, but give yourself an edge by rubbing some of the detergent into the stained portion beforehand. Then throw in the washing machine and wash as normal.
Can You Get Dried Grass Stains Out of Clothes?
If the stain’s been allowed to occupy the creases and folds of your cricket trousers for a while then you’ll have a bit of a test on your hands.
Here’s one tactic. It involves hydrogen peroxide, which is a bit of a bleacher. Sometimes, you need the heavy-hitters to really do the job.
Before you go anywhere near this stuff though you need to check that your trousers can handle it, so give the label a look.
If the care label has an empty triangle on it, it should be ok to use bleach or hydrogen peroxide on your trousers.
If you’re OK to proceed, then play can commence.
- Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part washing-up liquid
- Put in a spray bottle and shake up
- Spray on affected area and let sit for half an hour
- Place in sinkful of warm water overnight. For extra cleaning power, add half a cup of oxygen-based bleach (like Ecover Laundry Bleach or Vanish) to your sink.
- Put in the washing machine with detergent and wash as normal
Removing Other Stains from Cricket Trousers
There are two other key players in the cricket stain stakes. Mud and balls. We should probably give these a quick sweep before we head home.
Getting mud stains out of cricket trousers
With mud, you don’t want to rush in like a steaming fast bowler. Take your time and then you can really bowl mud a googly.
- Let it dry and brush as much off as you can
- Dab lemon juice and water onto the stained parts
- Put in the washing machine as normal
Getting ball stains out of cricket trousers
Leather doesn’t just get on willow. Trousers too. This is because bowlers and fielders have a habit of rubbing the ball on their legwear to boost the shine and help the swing. That’s all very well, but the red marks that are left are just not cricket.
Here’s how to remove ball stains from cricket trousers:
- Get some white soap and gently rub it on the affected areas.
- Apply a colour remover like Vanish or Simple Solution Extreme. Don’t leave it on too long!
- Wash as normal in the machine
Two Final Tips for Getting Stains Out of Sportswear
1. Don’t iron while the stain’s still there
If there’s one thing that will encourage a stain to stick around, it’s ironing it in.
So, make sure you’ve done all you can to remove that stain from the lineup before you get busy with the iron.
2. Line dry
By drying your trousers on the good old washing line you’re helping them to stay as white as the driven snow.
That’s because sunlight has a bleaching action, which will help your trousers make strides toward the light side. What’s more, line drying’s better for the planet, so that’s a brighter result all round.
So, now you know how not to be caught out next time you’re faced with a pair of cricket trousers that have seen far worse than just the runs. With a tiny bit of lbw (legwork before wash) and a spin in the machine, you’ll have those trousers ready for their next innings in no time.
Martin’s life revolves around films, dogs and food, but rarely all at the same time. At least two out of these three like to give clothes and furniture a hard time, and Martin enjoys discovering and writing about new ways to stop them doing their worst.