Donna asked: How do I remove Georgia red clay stains from white socks? We own a landscaping business, and our guys ruin a pair of white socks the first time they are worn! By the time they remove the socks at the end of the day, the red dirt has dried. They come out of the wash looking like they did when they went in, even with lots of bleach! Please help! Everyone says it can’t be done!
Clay stains are difficult because of the composition of the clay. However, they are not impossible to remove, they just require a different approach. Here’s what to do.
You Will Need:
- Stiff brush
- Murphy’s Oil Soap or borax
- Enzyme presoak (ex: OxiClean)
Steps to Remove the Stains:
- Allow the clay to dry on the piece.
- Once dry, use the stiff brush to remove as much as possible. This is best done outdoors where you can brush and shake the piece out frequently. Remove as much of the loosened clay as possible.
- Next, use a soft cloth to spread Murphy’s Oil Soap over the stained area. If you don’t have Murphy’s Oil Soap, mix one tablespoon of borax with one cup of water. Spread the mixture over the stained area.
- Allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
- Rinse with cold water.
- If the stain remains, soak the item in an enzyme presoak, such as OxiClean. The enzymes will give an extra cleaning boost.
- Allow the piece(s) to soak for several hours to overnight.
- A final step, if the stubborn stains are still there, is to fill a bucket with water and add one cup of household ammonia.
- Soak the socks in the mixture until the stains release.
- Wash as normal with laundry detergent.
- Do not dry until the stains have been removed. If dried, the heat of the dryer will set any remaining stains.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Lestoil is another product that has been successful in removing red clay stains.
- In our research, we found that ammonia, including window cleaner, was a common successful clay stain remover.
- Want a simple solution? A good stain remover is to add ¼ cup of Cascade dishwashing detergent to the laundry (in addition to the laundry detergent). It may work well enough on its own for minor stains.