How to remove common kids’ clothing stains

Let’s face it — kids are messy. Whether it’s grass stains from football practice, ketchup stains from lunch or paint stains from arts and crafts, kids’ clothes get dirty. Follow these tips and tricks to remove common stains from your kids’ clothing.

Crayon stains


Believe it or not, WD-40 does the trick on crayon stains. Take the stained garment and place it stain-side down onto a few paper towels. Spray the back of the stain with WD-40 and let it sit for 10 minutes. Flip it over and spray the front of the stain. After another five minutes, rinse the stain with warm water. Most of the crayon will be gone. If any residue is remaining, use a little dishwashing liquid and then rinse it once more time.

Grass stains

One of the most common stains in kids’ clothes: grass stains. Start by brushing off any grass or dirt with a plastic knife. Then you need to break down the stain before washing it. Digestive enzyme tablets, which can be found at health food stores, are a great way to do this. In a small bowl, grind the tablets into powder with the back of a spoon. Add just enough cold water to form a thick paste. Spread the paste over the stain, front and back, and let it sit for an hour. Launder the garment by itself, using your normal method. Check to make sure the stain is removed before you throw it in the dryer. If it’s not, then repeat the process with the enzyme powder and launder again.

Glue stains

Kids are always getting into sticky situations. If you find dry glue stains on your children’s clothing, they can usually be easily removed. Soften the stain by rubbing petroleum jelly on it, then scrape off the excess glue with a dull knife. Pre-treat the stain with a stain remover such as Shout or Spray ‘N Wash. Launder the item in water as hot as you can stand it (depending on the fabric). If the glue stain is not completely gone, do not dry the garment in the dryer. Treat again with stain remover and wash one more time, then hang to dry.

Paint stains

Your success in removing paint from kids’ clothes will depend on the type of paint and size of the stain. Latex paint generally can be removed with a little rubbing alcohol and a rag. For oil paints, using a dull knife, scrape off as much of the paint as you can without damaging the fabric. Spray a little hairspray on the stain and then rub it with a rag. You won’t see results at first, but repeat three or four times and the stain should start to disappear. You can also use liquid dish detergent and a tiny bit of turpentine to try to remove paint stains.

Blood stains

Kids do get hurt (though we hope not seriously!) and with injuries comes blood. If your child has blood stains on his clothing, try to treat the stain as soon as possible. Blot the stain with paper towels to get as much blood out of the fabric as you can. Combine a teaspoon of laundry detergent and 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide in a bowl. Wet a rag or sponge in the liquid, then blot the stain until most of the blood is removed. Launder the item in cool water along with OxiClean. Hang dry or lay flat — do not use your dryer.

Ketchup stains

Like most stains, you need to treat ketchup and other tomato-based stains as soon as possible to have the best success. Use napkins or preferably wet wipes to remove as much ketchup as possible. Blot, don’t rub, to avoid spreading the stain. Run cold water over the reverse side of the fabric over the stain, to flush out as much of the remaining ketchup as possible. Fill your sink with cool water and a small amount of liquid detergent. Allow the garment to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. If the item is colorfast, apply white vinegar to the stained area with a clean cloth or sponge. This should get out most of the stain. Apply a stain removal product such as Shout or Spray ‘N Wash, and then launder the garment as normal.

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