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by Katie Hodgkins

School Uniform Disasters: Removing Stubborn Stains

With the kids being back to school, you may already be finding tricky stains in their uniforms!

How annoying! Uniform isn’t cheap, and in between our kids growing like sprouts, wear and tear, and of course stubborn stains, it doesn’t last long. However, finding the right method to remove specific stains could save you money and give your child’s uniform a little more life.

The most common clothes stains our mummies have complained about are;

  • Grass stains
  • Paints
  • Mud
  • Glue
  • Food
  • Blood

If you’re struggling with these stains, or you just KNOW that you will at some point this academic year because your child throws themselves around at school, we’ve got you covered. We’ve done some research to find the best methods to remove stubborn stains from school uniform; let us know in the comments if you have any tried and tested suggestions!

Removing grass stains

Cleanipedia is a wonderful website for cleaning lovers – I’m newly obsessed! Their advice is to;

  1. Soak the garment in cold water – never use hot water.
  2. Select a stain removal product – Persil Small and Mighty is one of their favourite products.
  3. Once you have finished with your chosen method, check if the stain has gone and if necessary repeat the stain removal process or try another method.
  4. Follow up stain removal with a normal wash using your regular laundry detergent.

I followed this up with a chat with my mum – I was the clumsiest child in existence, and my younger brother played football for a team every weekend so grass stains are her forte, and she agreed that this method is spot on.

Tackling paint stains

Paint stains are my biggest bugbear. My son is at preschool and ADORES art, so of course you can imagine his clothes come home covered in the stuff.

Howtocleanstuff is another excellent resource for parents of messy children! This general method they’ve suggested should work for many types of paint, and if it doesn’t work fully, it should still loosen paint from the fibres and help you to scrub the rest off.

What Howtocleanstuff Advises Using;

  • Spoon
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Soft brush or old toothbrush
  • Laundry detergent
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hair spray
  • Goo Gone
  • Windex
  • Soft cloths or sponge
  • Cotton swabs or cotton balls
  • Water

Removing the paint:

Always test a small area first to ensure no undesirable reaction.

  1. Begin by gently scraping the paint with a spoon to remove as much as possible from the surface.
  2. Use a cotton ball or cotton swab (depending on the size of the stain) to gently moisten the area with rubbing alcohol.
  3. If necessary, scrub with a soft brush gently to work the paint out of the fibers.
  4. Rinse with clean water.
  5. If the stain remains, repeat the steps above using hairspray, nail polish remover, Goo Gone and/or Windex.
  6. It may be helpful to start with one and then follow up with some laundry detergent. Do not combine any detergents with bleach with Windex because the mixture of ammonia and bleach will produce toxic fumes.
  7. Scrub gently with the soft brush.
  8. Rinse completely to remove all cleaners.
  9. When the stain is removed, wash the garment as usual.
  10. Allow the piece to air-dry first to ensure no stain remains. Once you are sure the stain is gone, it is safe to dry it in the dryer.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Mr. Clean Magic Erasers have worked for some. Use it to gently scrub the area until the paint is removed. Test a small hidden area first to make sure there is no damage to the color.
  • Coca Cola works to break down thick stains and messes. Pour a can into the washing machine and wash as normal.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and double up on cleaning items. Different combinations work for different situations, especially if you are unsure of the type of paint on the stain.

Credit to Howtocleanstuff!

Remedies for PVA glue stains

Persil have some excellent suggestions for removing glue from clothes. PVA being the most common used in schools, this is the one we’ll focus on.

  1. First, try to remove any excess glue from the material.
  2. Then, soak your glue-stained clothing in cold water for 10 – 15 minutes. This will help to loosen the stain.
  3. If the PVA glue stain is dried or old, you can also rub a small amount of either detergent or washing up liquid into the stain,  then soak it in cold water.
  4. Next, wash as normal on a cool cycle with detergent. Do not use a hot cycle, as the heat may set the stain.
  5. If the stain is still there, then repeat the steps if necessary.

Read their full guide here – other types of glues are looked at too!

Getting Mud Stains Out Of Clothes

Helpwiththewashing have us covered here! Their advice has helped me loads, as my son Max loves to get muddy and has almost ruined his clothes on many occasions. This guide has saved me each and every time…

You’ll need…

  • A tool to scrape off mud, i.e a blunt knife or a plastic bank or loyalty card.
  • Liquid fabric detergent (preferably a bio detergent).
  • Pre-wash stain remover treatment (optional).

The 7 Steps…

  • Let the mud set first. Wet mud smears too easily and can make matters worse.
  • Scrape off the excess mud.
  • Soak with detergent.
  • Use stain remover if the stain is quite stubborn.
  • Rinse the stain in cold water and repeat steps 3 and 4 where needed.
  • Wash the clothing with biological detergent in a warm wash, not a hot wash.

Removing tricky food stains

We’ve checked out The Spruce for ideas on removing stubborn food stains. They are huge fans of using a surprising everyday household staple for removing food stains… vinegar! They also find it effective for blood and grass stains – read their guide here.

How Stuff Works is another ace resource, full of interesting tips for us to try. They’ve looked at the 10 worst food stains and how to tackle them here.

Tricks for treating blood stains

Persil have saved the day again, with their guide on removing blood stains from clothing. If your child is prone to falls and scrapes, you’ll need to read this.

  • Pre-soak and rinse in cold, salted (1-2 tbsp per litre) water for several hours first and ensure all the blood is out before washing, as heat will set the blood into the fibres.
  • Scrub persistent marks in a cool/tepid solution of Persil Small and Mighty and water, or baking soda paste (2 parts baking soda to 1 part water), leave on for 30 minutes before washing.
  • For really stubborn blood stains, hydrogen peroxide may be your last resort. A solution of 20% volume hydrogen peroxide with water (diluted to a 1:6 ratio) is advised but you should check the colourfastness on the clothes you’re washing first!

Read their full guide here.

And there we have it; the best ways to tackle the most common stubborn stains!

We hope that this helps you, and saves you a lot of money on replacing uniform. Share your own tips for us in the comments!

Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx

Katie Hodgkins Image
I'm Katie, and I'm a mama, wife, and freelance content creator for Bump, Baby & You. I also help to run our thriving online community over in our Facebook support group, as well as volunteering for my local branch of the National Childbirth Trust. I'm a busy bee and enjoy keeping active, cooking, writing, and fun days out with my little family. My special topics of interest are... autism (as me and my son are both autistic), science, all things parenting and pregnancy related, and The Handmaids Tale!
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