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Ink, dirt, blood, and coffee are some of the most common stains that people struggle to remove from their clothing. One quick Google search will result in hundreds of how-to videos and guides for successfully removing these stubborn stains from your clothing. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many helpful reviews for some less common stains that are just as difficult to remove.

Red clay is one of those comparatively uncommon causes of blemishing that doesn’t receive much attention. Found throughout the southern and western portions of the country, this sediment is thick, wet, and pervasive: the perfect descriptors for causing difficult stains on your clothing. Due to the soil’s red hue, this clay often leaves behind a significant red stain on clothing.

While one or two cycles in the washing machine might dull the prominence of the red coloring, it’s clear that this method isn’t sufficient for removing the stain completely. In fact, it seems like a normal washing cycle just forces the stain deeper into your laundry, making it a permanent stain. The key to successfully removing these blemishes from your clothing is taking a comprehensive and strategic approach. Simply running a wash cycle isn’t going to be enough. Here are some tips explaining how to get red clay out of your laundry.

Let the clay dry.

Red clay is going to do more damage to your clothing when it’s wet instead of dry. When mixed with some moisture, this sediment can get into the nook and crannies of fabric, making it very difficult to get out. Instead of leaving this clay in your laundry before the wash cycle, you should let the clay dry. This gives you a chance to scrape a good portion of the stain off from the very beginning. You can use a butter knife, your fingernails, or any other common household item.

Use a pre-wash solution on the stain.

Another important step for removing red clay from your laundry is pretreatment. After scraping as much dry sediment from your laundry as possible, use a stain-removing solution to treat the stain before using the washing machine. Use a toothbrush or brush with strong bristles to work the solution into the affected area. Be sure to read the directions associated with the stain-removal treatment you decide to use. Here are some of the best solutions to use on red clay stains:

– Massage liquid dish soap into the stain and let it sit throughout the night. Next, make a mixture of water and powdered detergent for dishwashers and set the past on top of the stain. Let that sit for around 3 hours.

– Place liquid soap with an oil base on the stain and allow it to rest for around 15 minutes.

– Mix 3 tbsps of salt and a cup of distilled vinegar (white) together. Allow the stained portion of your clothing to sit in the mixture for around an hour.

Use your washing machine’s hot settings.

All of these pretreatment steps are designed to remove as much sediment from the stain as possible while loosening up what’s left behind. Both of these steps help to make the washing machine more efficient at getting out clay stains from your clothing. At this point, it’s time to wash your laundry on the hottest setting possible given the type of clothing you’re washing. Consult the label on the article of clothing to see what that temperature is. If you end up using a setting that’s too hot for your laundry, you could end up ruining it altogether.

Avoid the dryer at all costs.

When you’ve run through the entire stain-removal and washing process, it’s time to dry your laundry. Resist the urge to toss the clothes directly into the dryer because this can set any leftover stains into the clothing, making it nearly impossible to remove what’s left. Instead, allow your laundry to dry on a clothesline.

Repeat if the stain isn’t removed.

In reality, there’s no such thing as a 100% effective stain removal process that you can do at home. There will be times when stains are too stubborn to remove in one go. If you take out your clothes and can still see some of the original stains, go ahead and repeat the second step with a different stain-removal solution. You might even want to try some professional products rather than homemade mixtures.

If you’re still unsure about how to get red clay out of your laundry or these suggestions didn’t make a difference, it’s time to turn to a professional. Dedicated businesses like The Great American Laundromat have access to tools, equipment, and strategies that everyday homeowners don’t. They’ll be able to remove stubborn red clay stains out of any article of clothing you have with more efficiency and success than most at-home methods. Feel free to give us a call to learn about some of our offers.