How to remove mud stains
Like children, mud comes in all shapes and sizes, so removing a mud stain really comes down to the type of mud that’s on the clothes. Generally speaking, dark-coloured or red muds can be harder to remove than lighter, sandier muds, but here's everything you need to know for removing that dirty stain.
Mud is simply wet dirt, so trying to remove the mud stain with water can make more mud. If it’s a light mud stain that hasn’t had time to set into the fabric, however, you can rinse the stain under the tap from the back of the item of clothing, so the mud washes down the sink instead of washing further into the fabric.
It can be easier to remove mud once it is dry, in which case you can brush away as much of the dirt from the item of clothing with a soft brush or a dull blade like a spatula.
If you’ve already “cooked” the mud stain by washing the clothes in the clothes dryer, it can take several attempts to remove the stain. Heat from the dryer bakes a stain into the material and requires soaking to loosen the grasp from the fabric.
Options to remove mud stains from clothes or fabric
You can try a few different removal methods here:
- Best option is to remove mud with a soft brush or dull blade like a spatula.
- Lay the garment on a hard surface and pat the stain with the back of a spoon to release the ground-in stain. Wash and launder as directed on the care label of the clothing.
- Soak the item of clothing overnight in a water and detergent solution, before washing as directed.
Removing mud stains from unwashable fabrics
If the care label says the clothing is not washable, the easiest thing is to take the item straight to the drycleaners. You can try blotting the stain with a towel and some drycleaning fluid available from hardware stores or supermarkets. Blot from inside the clothing to push the stain outwards.
Removing mud stains from carpet
It’s easier to remove dry dirt than mud, so allow the mud to dry and remove as much as you can with a dull knife or spoon handle. Vacuum well. If there’s still a stain, blot with a liquid detergent (a simple dishwashing detergent will suffice) and blot with a towel. Rinse with water and blot with another towel. Keep repeating the blotting process using a clean towel and water (not the detergent) until the stain is gone.
Stain remover notes
- The quicker you deal with a stain, the more likely you are to remove it.
- Unless it’s a fat stain, cold water is best for rinsing a stain, so as not to set it and make it harder to remove later.
- Before using a cleaning solution, test on an inconspicuous section, such as the inside of a sleeve, to check it won’t ruin the fabric.
- Always rinse out one cleaning solution before trying another to remove a stain as certain chemicals are not supposed to be mixed.
- Read the care instructions on the item of clothing before attempting vigorous stain removal. Some clothing may be too delicate to attempt stain removal and are better taken straight to the drycleaners.
- Don’t rub fabric harshly to remove stains as this can abrade fibres and cause fading.
- The white towel blotting method is often recommended for stain removal. Simply fold a clean white towel and, once you have treated the stain with water, gently dab it with the towel and check to see how much of the stain has transferred to the white towel.
- If using commercial stain removers and detergents, always follow the product label to understand the proper use and safety precautions you may need to take.
- It’s always easier to treat a stain on a washable fabric.
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