How to tackle tough summer stains

Everyone loves eating outdoors during the summer, but those picnics and barbecues can cause more stains on your clothes than usual. Follow our simple guide on how to tackle them.

Updated 8 July 2019

A hamburger on a table

From backyard barbecues to beach trips, everyone loves summer. Summer stains, on the other hand, can be a real drag. With mustard drips, sweat rings, grass stains and more, summer is one of the toughest times of year for laundry. To help give you a leg up, real parents gave us their top tips for fighting back against tough summer stains.

Use the correct stain remover

  • Treat fresh stains with a paste made from baking soda and warm water.
  • Help keep grease stains from setting by quickly dabbing them with a few drops of a gentle washing-up liquid. Try not to overdo it, though, or you’ll be overwhelmed by bubbles!
  • Blood stains aren’t pleasant, but they are a summer reality. Treat these kinds of ‘organic’ stains with hydrogen peroxide or chlorine-free bleach. Pour it right over the stain and blot with a rag.
  • Fight stinky stains with a mixture made from vinegar and water. Vinegar is great for helping neutralise odors. And don’t worry - your shirt won’t smell like pickles.
  • Quickly treat common summer stains like sweat, grass, and berry juice with a plant-based stain remover that contains enzymes to fight even the toughest messes. Choose an unscented stain spray if you have sensitive skin.

Treat stains quickly

Parents agree that treating stains as soon as you can is the best preventative step you can take.

  • Designate an old toothbrush as your ‘stain helper’. Spray on some stain remover and scrub. The bristles are tough enough to do the job, but gentle enough to preserve fabric.
  • When in doubt, soak. Soaking stained garments in cold water will help keep stains from setting and buy you some time.
  • Many parents say resist the urge to throw muddy clothes right into the washer. Instead they recommend gently brushing away as much loose dirt as you can, then soaking the clothes in warm water with some baking soda and a squirt of gentle laundry detergent before washing normally.
  • When you’re away from home, make do by dabbing stains with a wet napkin. This will help keep them from setting until you’re back home.

Washing and drying tips for stains

Here are some great tips for making your laundry look like new every time, even during stain season.

  • Chlorine bleach can be harsh on fabrics, so skip it. Instead, try a detergent that’s boosted by oxygen bleach.
  • Air or line-dry stained clothes instead of tumble drying. The dryer’s heat can actually set stains and make them harder to remove later.
  • Many parents swear that a few hours in the sun helps fade stains on light and white fabrics, so put that summer sun to work.
  • Keep a few detergent capsules like Persil in your bag when you’re on-the-go during summer. They’re small and easy to pack, plus they’re pre-measured and mess-free for quick and easy laundry.
  • To minimise stain stress, especially for kids, set aside some older clothes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty when some messy fun is called for.

We hope this guide helps you enjoy all the joy summer has to offer and minimises some of the stress, even when those summer stains come your way. Happy summer!

Originally published 5 July 2019