Removing Dirt and Mud from Clothing

by April Reinhardt
(last updated April 22, 2019)

In a perfect world, we'd be able to dash down to the local department store to buy new clothes for our kids each time they ruined their clothing from playing outside. In reality, we know how expensive it is to replace clothes, so we wash and mend them until they're beyond repair, or until we outgrow them. Because of its dark color and ability to cling to fabrics, one of the most difficult materials to remove from clothing is dirt – especially wet and muddy dirt. And, as if removing the dirt isn't enough, mud can leave behind a stain to remind you of how it got there in the first place.

So, how do you remove dirt and mud from clothing? Follow these guidelines to have your clothes dirt- and mud-free in no time:

  • Read the washing instructions on the label of the garment to determine if it is washable. No matter the recommended water temperature, however, always wash dirt-encrusted washable fabrics in cold water. Hot water will only set a stain.
  • Allow the fabric to completely dry before washing. If you try to remove mud or dirt from wet fabric, you will only enable to stain to spread into other parts of the fabric.
  • Once the garment is completely dry, remove all loose dirt by stepping outside and shaking the garment vigorously. Peel away caked-on dirt with your fingers or a plastic knife.
  • If you're working with a sturdy fabric, such as denim, you can use a stiff brush or a toothbrush to brush away more dried dirt. If the garment is delicate, do not brush it, as you may damage the fabric.
  • Once you've removed all of the caked-on dirt, place the washable garment on a flat surface and spray or apply a stain remover, such as Shout. Read and follow the directions on the package. The pre-treatment will allow the dirt to loosen from the fabric.
  • If you've a soak cycle on your washing machine, use it to soak the garment, allowing the stain removing agent to work into the fabric.
  • Remove the garment from the washing machine and check for stains. If you see stains, treat the fabric again with the stain remover, and let it run through the soak cycle again.

Once you're satisfied that the mud and dirt are gone from the fabric, wash the garment in a regular wash cycle, using cold water. Remove the garment from the washer and check for stains. If they are gone, it is safe to dry the garment. If you cannot remove the stains, check with your local dry cleaner for solutions.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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