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How Do You Remove The Red Stain Of Baseball Clay From White Pants?

By Dr. Laundry September 10, 2015

Q: How do you remove the red stain of baseball clay from white pants? A: This is a great question—clay from the infield is definitely a problem stain (as if the mud and grass from the outfield wasn’t enough!).  This is largely due to the composition of baseball clay—the combination of fine sand, silt, and red clay particles makes it easy for the stain to penetrate the knit fibers on the baseball pants.  Another factor is how much iron oxide is in the red clay—if there’s a lot, these stains can be nearly impossible to remove.  Fortunately just because the clay is red doesn’t mean it has a high iron oxide content, so you do have a very good chance of getting these stains out.  Since my kids played soccer, I didn’t have a lot of first-hand experience with this until I “borrowed” my friend’s son’s baseball pants to see what could work well.  She loved dropping them off dirty and picking them up clean the next day, and I was happy to get some real world experience! I found that overnight presoaking is a great way to make this problem a lot easier to solve.  You start by scraping away any dried on mud or grass (in case you have those, too), and then rinse the stained areas with a little cool water.  Next, set up a pre-soaking solution in a plastic dishpan:  dissolve 1 scoop powdered Clorox2 Stain Remover and Color Booster dissolved in 2 gallons of hot tap water.  Alternatively, you can also use 1 Clorox2® Pack dissolved in 2 gallons hot tap water.  Stir the powder or pack briefly to be sure it dissolves, then add the pants to the soaking solution.  Make sure the pants are fully submerged—weigh them down with a dishwasher safe dinner plate if necessary—and let them soak overnight.  In the morning (or after 8 hours), drain the soaking solution, and rinse the pants with cool water.  Now you are ready to run the pants through a wash cycle in your clothes washer. Right before you start the cycle, first pretreat any obvious stains that remain with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel by rubbing a little gel into the stains using the soft scrubber tip on the pen.  Immediately wash the pants in hot water using detergent and ½ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach. Air-dry the pants.  If your player is on a team that plays multiple weekend games it’s worth it to invest in a second pair of pants—that way you won’t be tempted to throw them in the dryer to get them ready for a second game.  Keeping them out of the dryer is important to avoid heat-setting residual stains (if the clay is really ground into the fabric) that would otherwise come out with a second treatment.  The good news is they are likely polyester (I checked at our local sporting goods store and every different brand of baseball pants was 100% polyester) so they should dry very quickly! Starting with the overnight presoak with Clorox2® is very effective because it allows the enzymes in the powder or pack formulas the extra time needed to break down the stains before washing.  You definitely need to rinse away the soaking solution before washing with Clorox® Regular-Bleach to avoid the two different product chemistries from canceling each other out.  Let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks for writing. –Dr. Laundry