How do you remove the red stain of baseball clay from white polyester baseball pants?
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 Clorox 2® For Colors Powder in 2 gallons of hot tap water. Stir the powder 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.
Since the pants are 100% polyester, you can machine wash them in hot water using detergent and ⅓ cup Clorox® Disinfecting 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 polyester air dries very quickly!
Starting with the overnight presoak with Clorox 2® For Colors Powder 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® Disinfecting Bleach to avoid the two different product chemistries from canceling each other out.