All it takes is one good slide to muddy up baseball or softball pants, especially those of the pristine white variety. Fortunately, there are plenty of products on the market specifically designed to get infield dirt out and return those britches to looking practically new.
The first rule of cleaning white baseball pants is true of any stained piece of clothing: Never put them in the dryer if the stain is still present. The heat will then set the stain permanently, and then all hope is lost.
Whether you're brand new to the sport, or are a weary baseball parent or player looking for new and improved ways to clean white baseball pants, here are some of the best methods out there.
1. Pressure Washing
That's right. The tool that otherwise cleans decks and driveways to a sparkling finish can also be used on baseball pants of any color, really. If you have one handy, simply lay the pants on the driveway and blast 'em with the pressure washer to loosen up tough stains. Then launder as usual and hang or lay flat to dry.
2. Out White Brite
This laundry whitening product is specifically designed for garments like white baseball pants, and according to the product website, is "ideal for regions with high iron and red clay." To get the pants back to their original state, grab one of those buckets from a local hardware store, then fill it up with a gallon (3.8 liters) or so of water and a half-cup (120 milliliters) of White Brite. (If you have multiple pairs of pants, adjust the amount accordingly.) Soak them in the bucket for a minimum of 20 minutes, longer if the stain is really extra. Rinse with water until it runs clear, then wash with regular detergent and air dry.
A major point to note with this — and any other cleaning product, really — is don't let it come in contact with your eyes, mouth, etc. This stuff, in particular, has a pungent scent, not unlike that of a 1980s perm. Since it's a powder it will waft up into your face in a hurry once poured. So, best to do this outside, if possible or wear a mask.
Chances are many parents had their own baseball pants cleaned with this classic product, which is pretty much just a big old bar of soap. To use Fels-Naptha, get the bar nice and wet, then scrub directly on stains. Allow the soap to soak in for a few minutes. Some people follow this step with a soak in another product, like Out White Brite, if the stain is really serious. Then, launder with regular detergent and line dry.
4. OxiClean White Revive
This method takes longer, but many people swear by it. To use, mix one scoop of the product in a gallon of water (3.8 liters), preferably in that big bucket. Look at the pant label to determine what temperature this water should be (cold, warm, hot). Let the pants soak for six hours, then wash in the machine with more OxiClean White Revive, filled up to the scoop's second line.
5. Use a Degreaser
Degreasing agents are popular tools for getting baseball pant stains out, especially if grass or concession stand stains are the culprit. One of those is Dawn Platinum Powerwash Dish Spray, which should be used as pretreatment. Spray it directly onto the stain, then rub it in with your fingers and machine wash with regular detergent. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is another similar product that's popular in baseball circles.
If stains just won't get lost, try some good old-fashioned bleach to get the job done. Fill up the bucket with warm water, then add in a cap of bleach. Allow the pants to soak for at least an hour, rinse with clean water, then launder and air dry. Use non-chlorine bleach if your pants have any color.
No matter which method you choose, it's likely you'll be a stain-cleaning all-star by the end of the season.