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How to get mud out of clothes

Don’t let the fear of mud stop you from enjoying the great outdoors! You can find out how to remove mud stains from a variety of fabrics right here.



In wet weather, a simple walk outdoors can result in mud-covered clothes – not to mention the caked-on mud active children can bring back after playing outdoors. While it may look daunting, mud is surprisingly easy to remove from clothes. This article explains how to get mud stains out, leaving your clothes looking as fresh as before.

Getting mud stains out of clothes is easier if you let the stain dry before starting to treat it – a very different strategy to most other types of stains!

How to Remove Mud Stains

  1. Check the garment care tags — Before you do anything, make sure that the clothing is not labelled as delicate or dry-clean only. If so, refer to the instructions later on in this article. Otherwise, carry on with the steps below.

  2. Let the mud stain dry — Strangely enough, mud stains are much easier to remove once they are dry. If you attempt to wash stains out while the mud is still wet, you’ll actually end up grinding the mud deeper into the fibres of the clothing. Make no attempt to wipe off the mud, and let it dry thoroughly.

  3. Once the mud is dry, remove as much dried mud from the surface as possible. If the mud is caked on, you should be able to gently shake or knock off clumps of it. You can also use a blunt knife or spoon to scrape away dried mud, or a dry toothbrush or hard-bristled brush to sweep mud from the fabric surface. A vacuum cleaner could even work, if you use the appropriate vacuum extension to ensure the fabric is not damaged.

  4. Saturate the stained fabric with liquid detergent and rub. You can use any suitable liquid laundry detergent like OMO Washing Detergent or even dishwashing detergent (in a pinch) to cover the stain. Most good quality liquid laundry detergents can be applied as a pre treatment – just check the label to ensure that you use it effectively. Rub the detergent into the stain, and let the detergent soak in for 15 minutes or more.

  5. Use a wet toothbrush to work away at the stain. The key here is not to soak the entire garment in water, or the mud will dissolve and permeate all the fabric. Instead, wet a toothbrush and use a few drops of water to scrub the detergent into the stain. Rub the stain from both sides of the fabric in a circular motion, and you should see the detergent loosen the mud from the fabric.

  6. Wash the garment on a normal machine wash cycle. When you feel the stain has been significantly lifted, wash the garment in the machine on a normal cycle. Check the garment care tags and select your temperature setting accordingly – aim for a warm rather than cool wash. You should wash muddy clothes separately from any other clothes.

  7. Afterwards, do not tumble dry. If the stain still remains, repeat steps 4-6 until all traces of the mud are gone. Allow the garment to air dry. Tumble drying a stained article will only set any remaining stain further into the fabric.

How to Remove Set-In Mud Stains

If the mud stains are quite old, there is another trick to help you remove them. Follow the above steps, but instead of liquid detergent, apply hand sanitizer to the stain. Just test this method on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first to ensure that it will not damage the fabric. Using a clean brush, work the sanitizer gel into the fabric and let it saturate the stained area for an hour. Wash as normal. You may need to repeat the hand sanitizer step again to ensure the stain is fully removed.

Removing Mud Stains from Delicate or Dry-Clean Only Fabrics

If the garment is labelled delicate, dry-clean, or made from a fabric like silk or wool, you should take it to a professional cleaner to handle the stain. Trying to remove a mud stain with the previous steps may permanently damage a delicate or dry-clean only piece of clothing. So play it safe, and leave these garments to the professionals.

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With these tips, removing mud stains should be simple and straightforward. Even the worst stains from a wet football pitch or muddy day of hill walking can come off with enough time, patience, and a little know-how.

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Originally published