I never knew that a DIY stain remover could change our lives until what my husband and I call “The Season of White Baseball Pants”. Our homemade stain remover has eliminated stains that most people would think impossible.
At first, I was going to be the mom who didn’t care if the pants weren’t perfectly clean. After all – they’re just going to get dirty again, probably before they ever even run on the field. I would sit at the games and listen to moms talk about stain-removing soap, bleach, Shout, Dawn dish soap, etc.
None of these health-hazardous stain removers were on my laundry shelf – especially bleach for many reasons – so I would soak the pants for a few hours, wash them with my regular eco-friendly detergent and hang to dry.
They didn’t look great, but they weren’t that bad either.
As the season went on, the stains from grass and dirt (and black bean burrito dinners after the games) was more than even I could take. I knew I wasn’t going to go the harsh chemical stain removal route, but most of the natural stain remover options I’d tried had failed to even fade the grass stain.
I looked online again and read about a mom who took her daughter’s softball pants to the car wash after every game.
“Aha! We have a pressure washer,” I recalled – a natural, DIY stain remover using only water.
My husband got it out after dinner and we lay the baseball pants on the driveway to see if it could make a dent in four weeks of stains. Well, it did! Other than some wear and tear on the knees, the pants looked brand new.
I texted the neighbors, “Stop scrubbing and come outside,” and we all stood around in astonished praise, making statements you only hear on an infomercial. For the rest of the summer, you’d often find a gathering around our driveway, chatting over the hum of the pressure washer as we took turns tackling a line of pants.
To ease my green guilt, I decided this stain removing tactic was better to use a little extra water than for five moms on our street to be using toxic chemicals, soaking, scrubbing, and adding extra cycles to their washers.
Fast forward to this year. For the regular season, both of our boys’ teams had gray pants. Score one for mom’s sanity!
But white has made its debut this summer for All-Stars.
We just moved, and most of our belongings are in storage… including the pressure washer. The first stains — I mean game — happened last night. After more stain removal experimenting, I found a natural DIY stain remover recipe that sounded promising. I added an extra ingredient since I’ve recently had luck with lemon essential oil on grout stains.
Here’s a look at my most recent before and after photos using my DIY stain remover. (These were taken at different times of day if you notice a change in the shade of white on both the pants and the washing machine.) I probably could have scrubbed the grass stains a little more, but nearly all of the field dirt came out. Around the seams can be a tricky spot as you can see from the hem.
DIY Stain Remover Recipe
- 1 part Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap
- 2 parts Hydrogen Peroxide
- 1-2 drops Citrus Fresh or Lemon Essential Oil
- Mix together and spray or pour directly on stain
Note: Test a small area before applying to entire garment, upholstery, etc.
I spray this natural stain remover on, let it sit for about a minute, then gently rub the fabric together. The dirt stains disappeared almost immediately. The grass stains took maybe 5 minutes of soaking / gently scrubbing the fabric against itself.
If you try it, be sure to comment on how it works for you.
And here’s an update for those who just aren’t into DIY. Molly’s Suds now has a stain removing spray that passes the white baseball pants test. I used it (along with a scrubbing brush and let it sit) on grass stains from the previous season, and it took them out almost completely. That’s pretty impressive for old stains that had been through the dryer!
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