The Stubbornness of Grass Stains: Solved

The Stubbornness of Grass Stains: Solved

Grass is a pain in the butt.

Grass denotes images of summertime, baseball, parks, rollerblading, kids playing… and tough green stains.

Grass stains seem to have a sentimental attachment to our psyches. But they can be frustrating. An abundance of grass* and the resulting prevalence of stains leads one to believe it is just part of life. A grass stain is not a real tragedy, but when you spend money on clothes and uniforms that come out of the wash with a grass stain still clinging on, it can be a total summer bummer. 

*Grasslands such as savannah and prairie where grasses are dominant are estimated to constitute 40.5% of the land area of the Earth, excluding Greenland and Antarctica.

We will fill you in on how to remove these stains later, but let us talk about grass first: What is it?

Grass plays an important part in our daily lives as it provides a lot of the oxygen that we breathe.

It provides food and nutrition for virtually all animals on Earth.

Grasses, which include rice, wheat, maize, and other grains makeup about 50% of all dietary energy.

Grass covers a large portion of usable recreation space in the US at the peak of summer. Certain climates and latitudes have varying degrees of grass growth, which could make grass stains in certain locations a moot point. If this includes yourself, we can only hope you are here to learn and discuss as this opens the conversation to other stains with related characteristics. Usually if life is going well, it’s greener on the other side only because the stains on the neighbor’s clothes outweigh your own. If you use our Bio Laundry Detergent, which has an abundance of biological cleaning mechanisms, you should have a relatively easy time removing these pesky stains. Like they say… like dissolves like… this is true in nature too; enzymes are the most effective way to remove grass stains.

The scientific name for grass is Poaceae (/poʊˈeɪsiaɪ/) or Gramineae (/ɡrəˈmɪniaɪ/).

Grass (Poaceae) is the most economically important plant family, providing staple foods; while some members of the Poaceae are used as building materials (bamboo, thatch, and straw); others can provide a source of biofuel, e.g. via the conversion of maize to ethanol.

Grass comprises over 12,000 species and contains thousands of unique chemicals.

Different grasses from all over the world have variable chemistries and the time of season matters for the pertinence of grass stains. The greener the grass, the tougher the stains.

Wind blown grass

The main components of grass are water, protein, lignin, and cellulose. You can think of lignin as what makes wood bark rigid and gives plants the structural integrity of what we would call wood-like. It is a complex organic polymer.

Cellulose is the primary component of all plant cell walls. It is a polysaccharide made up of chains of sugar molecules. It is what we generally deem as fiber or what we generally see as cotton, which makes up a lot of clothing.

Cellulose is typically the most abundant constituent, by mass, in most grass species. However, its content can vary significantly according to the stage of growth. The lignin content of grasses is significantly lower than that of wood, although lignin-carbohydrate associations tend to be stronger. The cuticle contains waxes and waxy polymers that can also be cross-linked, which leads to harder-to-remove stains.

Proteins are significant to animals (including humans) that get all their nutrition from grass and other plants. These animals are called herbivores. Proteins are contained in the hard-to-digest plant walls, but with enzymes, animals can digest and access these proteins.

Since grass stains have proteins and cellulase, Phytolase contains protease and cellulase to help with these stains.

The starch content of grasses can be high, when compared with some other biomass feedstocks. It will also vary significantly according to the growth stage of the plant.  Phytolase contains amylase to help with this.

Grass contains chlorophyll, which is the pigment that makes grass green. Chlorophyll is also an effective dye, especially for natural fabrics like cotton, wool, linen, and silk. Chlorophyll soaks into the fabric fibers rather than sitting on top. This can be partially solubilized and removed by bio solvents in our Bio Laundry Detergents like glycerin.

How to Remove Grass Stains:

So now you find yourself searching the internet trying to figure out how to remove grass stains from clothing. The abundance of techniques can be exhausting to sift through.

Below are the three easy steps for removing grass stains. They’re made easy by laundry detergents that have the enzymatic action and surfactant penetration needed to remove these pesky, summer stains:

1) Apply Dirty Labs Bio Laundry Detergent directly to the stain and leave for 10-15 minutes.

2) While waiting, take a rag and gently dab and massage the stain to let the detergent achieve maximum penetration. 

3) Wash the garment using the same detergent, Typically, the higher the protease level, the better the detergent will work on grass. For really tough grass stains, try adding an oxygen booster, like Dirty Lab Bio Enzyme Laundry Booster, when washing. 

      Wet grass in the sun

      Ultimately, when it comes to your clothes, grass is a pain in the butt.

      But when you fight nature with nature, turns out the results are pretty darn good.


      Troy Graham, Dirty Chemist

      Read more

      Dirty Collabs: Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research, WVE

      Dirty Collabs: Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research, WVE

      Plastic-free and the road to a sustainable future.

      Plastic-free and the road to a sustainable future.

      Dr. Pete drawing

      Ask Dr. Pete: A Breakdown of Reproductive Toxins