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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Soccer Stains…

By Dr. Laundry July 1, 2006

First, let me say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my son Brandon!  Hope it is a great day for you.  Sorry I won’t be there.  Dr. Laundry is in New Zealand working on another commercial.

I admit it—I’m officially immersed in soccer fever this month. World Cup Germany has me glued to my TV as often as I can, and much more than my wife would like! Hey, it only happens every four years so it’s a special treat that I’ve been looking forward to since Brazil won in 2002. What’s not to love??  The pageantry of fans decked out in their countries colors and loud singing of all the national fight songs.  The heartbreak of Australia losing with almost no extra time; the penalty kick loss of the Swiss; the no-clue Russian referee and his record-setting 20 card display; and as I write this, the much anticipated  Spain vs. France. With the quarterfinals this weekend, you know where I’ll be!

For all of you who aren’t diehard soccer fans like me, Clorox actually has a partnership close to my heart—with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). I ref soccer games nearly every summer weekend and have really developed a deep love for the sport over the years.  Both my kids played competitive soccer for 10 years each.  It is a beautiful game that teaches a ton of life lessons, offers lots of physical exercise and forms friendships that can last a lifetime.

Which brings me to some stain advice for stains from the soccer field. There are quite a number of different fibers used in soccer items.  Each has some advantages and disadvantages for looks, and ease of cleaning.  There are tons of grass stains, mud slide marks and lots of perspiration.  Bleach is the best chance for removal and helps keep athletes looking like soccer stars.  Remember to check whether bleach is safe to use on those colors using our Bleachability test that’s included in one of my previous entries.
Polyester is a widely-used fabric and can benefit from the use of bleach to treat those stain spots.  Cotton, on the other hand, is a much more porous fiber and tends to really absorb stains, mud and sweat.

All stains like grass, dirt, mud and sweat can benefit from quick action right after the game, before the stains can set.  If it’s really nasty, a good presoak is best.  Use a good enzyme containing powder detergent in warm water for 30-60 minutes to loosen the dirt and mud and start breaking down the grass stains.

If there are just a few spots, try pretreating with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel.  If not appropriate, try using a liquid laundry detergent and rub it into the stain. Then launder immediately using the hottest water recommended for the items and add Clorox® Regular-Bleach (whites) or Clorox2® Bleach for Colors (colors) with detergent. This also holds true for rugby clothes, which is really popular here in New Zealand.  Those uniforms are a real mess after about 10 minutes of their matches.

With Fourth of July right around the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised if my phone starts ringing again with lots of stain questions. Send ‘em my way and have a great Fourth of July!