How to Get Grass Stains Out of Shoes – 5 Pro Tips

There’s no denying that exercise is vital to your overall health and wellbeing. However, when a walk or jog in the grass bewitches your shoes with grass stains, the thought of lifting them can be daunting. Active sports players or habitual walkers should be aware of the stubborn grass stains that don’t come off despite vigorous scrubbing or brushing. It can be an all-day affair to no avail.

Get Grass Stains Out of Shoes
Image: Pexels

Before you throw in the towel, let’s discuss a few easy techniques on how to get grass stains out of shoes and restore them to their old stardom.

Important Factors to Remember

Any stain that sets in can be an uphill battle to remove. Therefore, it’s worth noting that you should promptly attack any grass stains on your shoes for the best outcome.

Furthermore, the method that yields the best outcome will vary from one material to another, which means the same technique might not yield similar results if you attempt it on two types of shoes: suede shoes and canvas shoes.

Given that stain removal is usually a tedious process, following instructions to the letter and being cautious to ensure that your shoes incur minimal damage during cleaning is key.

Materials such as suede and leather are usually best kept away from a liquid, in which case you should opt for a cleaning technique that won’t result in permanent damage to the fabric from which the leather or suede shoes are designed.

Different Remedies and Techniques to Lift Grass Stains

Grass stains are organic as they’re triggered by chlorophyll, a green pigment that gives plants their green color. They’re not only stubborn to lift but also conspicuous in appearance.

Additionally, grass stains usually have mud, dirt, and sticky components, making them require effort and patience to remove. Conventional detergents and household cleaners have been relied on to remove these stains as they get the job done. However, dedicated stain removers have been used to address the problem.

Techniques That Work for Most Shoe Types

We’ve rounded up a few methods on how to remove grass stains that are effective on most types of shoes.

infographic on how to remove grass stains with vinegar

1. Vinegar

For this method, you’ll require:

  • A washcloth
  • An old toothbrush
  • Distilled white vinegar because it’s efficient and colorless

If you prefer washing in the sink or bath tab, then that’s a perfect workspace. However, if you don’t want to mess your sink or tab with your stained footwear, you can clean them in a bucket. With a washcloth in hand, follow the steps below.

  • Pour 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a cup
  • Add 2 tablespoons of water to it
  • Dip the toothbrush in the solution and put some elbow grease to lift the stains
  • If the stains are stubborn and you’re not making headway, pour a teaspoon of concentrated white vinegar on them and allow the solution to sit for up to 30 minutes
  • Give it another go, then wash with lukewarm water
  • Alternatively, you can scrub by dipping a clean cloth in vinegar and wipe the stained area to and fro
  • Vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent. If used with the utmost care, it has the uncanny ability to lift even the most stubborn stains in 30 minutes or less.
  • For persistent stains, repeat the vinegar scrub twice or thrice

Keep in mind that vinegar is only effective if the stain is partial with small patches on the shoe surface. For shoes with dark-colored parts, we recommend conducting a patch test before applying vinegar to the stain. Doing so will help you identify the likelihood of discoloration as a result of using this acid medium.

2. Laundry Detergent

infographic showing how to use laundry detergent

Typically effective for fresh grass stains, you can rely on generic laundry detergent. However, for optimum efficiency, we recommend a bleach-based detergent. Given that grass stains leave a green or yellowish watermark on white shoes after cleaning, it’s advisable to scrub them with a laundry detergent that contains bleach. To get started:

  • Smear the liquid detergent on the stains and allow it to sit for up to 30 minutes
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub the soiled areas and rinse with warm water
  • Rinse thoroughly to ensure all the detergent trickles down
  • Air-dry the shoes for a few days
  • If you still notice grass stains, use a vinegar scrub for a complete makeover

Keep in mind that only shoes made from canvas or nylon will benefit from this method. Oxygen bleach is a chlorine-free bleaching solution you may also want to try. Oxygen bleach can be used on shoes and clothing and can kill bacteria while brightening and whitening like traditional bleach can.

3. Rubbing Alcohol

infographic showing 5 steps to use rubbing alcohol

While it’s not the safest way of removing grass stains from shoes, it’s undoubtedly one of the most powerful hacks. To begin:

  • Pour some alcohol on a cotton swab and massage it on the stains
  • You’ll notice the green pigment loosening and detaching from the shoes and onto the cotton ball
  • Allow it to sit for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Dip another cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and massage the stains
  • Use warm water to rinse off the alcohol
  • If you still notice the unsightly green patches staring at you, use a laundry bleach detergent to clean your shoes
  • The stains will be loosened and can be easily washed off with warm water and detergent

 4. Baking Soda

It’s a foolproof stain remover that reacts with organic stains such as grass, eliminating them. To use it:

  • Mix baking soda and water to form a thick paste
  • Use a toothbrush to apply the mixture to the stains
  • Let it sit for an hour or more
  • Scrub vigorously and rinse off the mixture with plain water

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

infographic showing how to remove grass stains with hydrogen peroxide

While it eliminates a stubborn grass stain in a few hours, hydrogen peroxide is only ideal for light colors, so avoid this technique if the shoe colors are susceptible to fading. To begin:

  • Mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and bleach in  a bowl and dilute with double the quantity of water
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and target the stained areas
  • Alternatively, dip a clean cloth into the solution and rub over the stain. However, use a pair of rubber gloves to prevent skin irritation from direct contact with the damp cloth and cleaning solution
  • We recommend leaving the solution on the stain overnight for optimum effectiveness
  • Rinse the surface thoroughly with plain water, after which the stain will disappear
sport shoes on grass background

Closing Remarks

With these easy techniques of how to get grass stains out of shoes, you can now mow your lawn, play tennis, soccer, football, enjoy a picnic, and more, without the slightest care about staining your stylish shoes. However, cleaning your grass stain the same day it gets on your shoes will prevent the stain from getting stubborn and murkier.

How do I get grass stains out of shoelaces?

For White Cotton or Polyester

Before you continue, you might want to put on some rubber gloves. Then, place the cotton or polyester laces in a bowl large enough to fit two cups of water and soak those white laces for at least 15-20 minutes. After that, rinse your laces under cold, running water. Stain removers also work, which you can apply after bleaching. Let the stain remover set for at least a few minutes. If you have a load of whites to machine-wash, add your laces to it. To make them easier to find, place them in a zipper net before adding them to a pile of clothing.

For Leather or Suede

Use a soft cloth and a suede shoe cleaning or conditioning product. Apply some pressure, but don’t push too hard as you scrub your laces. See additional information below about cleaning suede.

For Colored Laces

Even if made from cotton or polyester, you’ll need some stain remover that doesn’t discolor them. Wash them the same way you would your machine washable clothing. For leather, use a clean cloth to soak up excess water after gently scrubbing them with detergent water and hang them to dry.

How do I get grass stains out of mesh shoes?

Use a moderate amount of pressure as you scrub with a dry, soft-bristled brush. Then, mix a few drops of dish soap into a bowl of water, and dip a clean rag into it. Wring out the cloth before you gently wipe your mesh shoes. You also can rub around the rubber shoe base with disinfectant cloth, applying gentle force. 

How do I get grass stains out of suede shoes?

The suede eraser from a care kit cleans grass stains efficiently. Rub the eraser end onto the stain, but don’t press too hard on this delicate fabric. Cornstarch also works, but you must leave it sit for about an hour before wiping the suede clean. Then, scrub away the excess starch. After that, you can use a damp rag and dish soap. Vinegar or rubbing alcohol on a dry rag also could help and use a hand razor to smooth the material afterward if you wish. Make sure you pat your suede as dry as possible if using water, so you don’t ruin it.

How do I get grass stains out of canvas shoes?

A little dish soap with water and a nail or toothbrush will help. Some people also add vinegar to this mixture. Be gentle as you scrub but use enough pressure to make a difference. An alternative method is to use a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover. If using the polish remover, try it in an obscure spot to make sure it doesn’t discolor your shoes.

How do I get grass stains out of flip flops?

For leather or suede, you can try a portable stain removing pen if you’re not at home. Later, you can scrub with a brush after dipping soap water onto your shoes. Some people also try vinegar in the detergent mixture. In any case, make sure you use just the right amount of force to remove the grass stains. If you have white rubber flip flops, resist the temptation to use bleach on them because they might turn yellow. Always dab your shoes dry after washing and rinsing. Of course, don’t use bleach on any colored shoes.

How to get grass stains out of white shoes?

Bleach them if made of canvas or another non-leather, bleach-safe material. Let them sit for a while. Then, rinse them under cold water. It’s possible to wash and dry them in a machine by themselves if you can handle the noise. If not, just wash, rinse and dry with clean rags and let them sit for a while. For white leather or suede, don’t use bleach. However, you could use vinegar in your soap mixture or apply a leather cleaner while scrubbing.

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