Why Are Grass Stains So Tricky?
Grass stains are a mixture of proteins, but mostly they are made of the chlorophyll from the plant. This chlorophyll is a dye stain. Dye stains are in many opinions the toughest stains to remove. To top it all off, a grass stain may also be accompanied by sweat stains, mud stains, juice stains, or all manner of other stain removal challenges. Grass is very good at dyeing clothing, this is what makes it so tough to deal with.
Preventing Grass Stains
If you are hoping for some magic formula to prevent grass stains from happening, I am sorry to disappoint. The only real way to prevent them, is to avoid them. For parents, this can be a challenge. In my family we designated play clothes that were stained or worn enough that I didn't care what happened to them. These were the clothes the kids were expected to wear when the went outside, to the park, or for general playing. Teaching children the difference between play clothes, school clothes, church clothes, etc. will help them make better choices about which clothes they should choose to wear. I labeled drawers for my kids when they were younger. Still with my younger daughter, I frequently send her back upstairs to change into something more appropriate for playing. Some parents like to keep a change of play clothes with them just in case an opportunity to play comes along.
The only other way to prevent permanent grass stains is to treat them right away. A fresh grass stain has had less of a chance to dye the fabric, making it easier to remove. Star treating the stain as quickly as possible, and you'll have a better chance of removing it completely.
Remove Grass Stains
Okay, so prevention didn't work out so hot and now you've got a big grass stain to deal with. What can you do? If the clothing is dry clean only, you'll need to take it to your favorite magician of a dry cleaner and point the stain out. If the fabric is machine washable there are a few things you can try. First pretreat the stain with your favorite liquid laundry detergent. Many of the best liquid laundry detergents have enzymes that will begin to break down the proteins in the stain. Rinse the clothing completely and then soak the clothing in warm water and a cap fil of all-fabric bleach (NOT chlorine bleach). Let this soak for an hour. Rinse the clothing completely. Repeat until no stain remains.
As a last resort you can try sponging the stained area with isopropyl alcohol. Be careful because this might remove the color of the clothing. Test it on a hem first before you use it where it would be easily seen. If the hidden area holds its color, you can sponge the alcohol onto the stained area and then blot it up with a clean white towel. Continue until no more grass stain is being blotted up. Rinse the clothing completely. Wash normally. It's a good idea to let the clothing air dry the first time until you are sure the stain is gone. Dryer heat will further set the grass stain.