How To Get Stains Out Of Football Shirts

How To Get Stains Out Of Football Shirts

On todays blog I'm joined by Zeke (Twitter @knockemdownes). Avid football shirt collector and wearer and an expert in shirt maintenance. 

Disclaimer: This is a guide on stain removal. if you re worried do a small test on an area of a shirt with any of the substances mentioned below before you go all in on the shirt. 

Ever since I joined the football shirt sphere on Twitter around three years ago, I have had a bit of a reputation for getting stains out of shirts. I have been known to get all sorts of stains out, from mud to grass and from blood to paint. MOST stains can be eliminated.

Oil and ink are ones that are a little trickier, however, and elbow grease may not be enough with these types of stains. Here is a guide on how to get stains out of football shirts. 

How To Get Most Stains Out Of Football Shirts

I will start off by introducing you to my weapon of choice for most stains; Vanish Gel. This small-but-mighty bottle of magic will be your best friend from now on. If you don’t have any, you really should. If you’ve been out for a kick-about and got mud or grass on your shirt, or spilt bolognaise down you, then Vanish Gel is just what you need. In my opinion, it is the best thing you can buy for common stains like these.

Stain removal tools

Vanish Gel: The Steps

  1. Fill a sink with lukewarm water.
  2. Sprinkle some Vanish powder (other stain removal powders are available) into the water. White tub for whites and pink tub for colours. 
  3. Swill the water around so the Vanish powder is fully mixed in.
  4. Grab your magic wand (the gel), pop the lid off and squeeze some onto the stained area. You don’t want to put too much on, just enough to cover the stain. 
  5. Rub the gel in and let it soak in for a few seconds.
  6. Get the top of the bottle and use the grooves to rub the stain. This is precisely what it is for, and creates a two-in-one product, with both stain remover and stain removal tool included in one product. Football shirt with mud stain on
  7. You’ll notice the gel start to foam as you rub it in. Keep rubbing until you see the stain start to leave the shirt. 
  8. If you think you’ve got it all, put the shirt in the water and wash off the foam.
  9. - If it has indeed gone, then soak the shirt and get the remaining gel out of the shirt. If there’s still some stain visible, give the gel another go
  10. Once the stain has gone, swill the shirt around in the water for a few minutes. The Vanish powder in there will make sure that any little stain is sorted out.
  11. Drain the water and rinse the shirt off in lukewarm or cold water, getting all the residue off. Remember, these products contain bleach, so you don’t want any left on the shirt once you’ve got the stain out.
  12. Ring the shirt out to get as much of the water out as possible.
  13. Finally, put the shirt on a quick cold spin or just hang to dry.

FYI: If you want to wash the shirt as well as getting a stain out, put washing powder in with the water and Vanish powder, saving you time and money on a separate wash.

Here is another example, this is a 1996/1997 Manchester United home shirt. It had what looked like make up or fake tan on the white collar. I followed the above steps to get to out.


Stained football shirt collar, removal process using vanish gel


A vast improvement, almost all the stains have come out

In this example the stain had not fully come out. I repeated the steps and it came out completely, unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it to show you! 

Stubborn Stain Removal: Stickers, Wax, Pen, Glue & More

We have a separate guide for getting pen/ signatures out of your shirts - read it here

Now for the tougher stains, like paint. For these stains you will need something called Goo Gone. This is the smellier, tougher, older brother. Created with citrus detergent and a rather pleasant fragrance, Goo Gone is known to get rid of most stubborn stains, including stickers, wax, marker pen, glue, and more. It is also perfect at removing the residue left over after a nameset removal, but that’s for another day.

Step By Step Guide To Using Gone Goo

  1. Fill a sink with lukewarm water
  2. Apply Goo Gone onto the tough stain.
  3. Leave it for a few minutes to soak in.
  4. Get a damp cloth and rub the area to remove the stain.
  5. Wipe the residue off (If the stain persists, keep rubbing until it goes)
  6. Wash the area with warm water.
  7. Submerge the shirt in the water and wash the shirt as normal.

Here is my guide to hand washing football shirts

I am always happy to answer any messages about stain removal if you have any questions or worries. I promise you, it’s not as scary as it seems. Getting a stain on a shirt is annoying but it isn’t the end of the world. 9 times out of 10 you can get the stain out. It just means that you may need to work a little harder to remove the more stubborn ones. 

Get in touch with me on socials below, please mention you've seen the Casual Football shirts guide. 

Twitter: @knockemdownes

Instagram: @freshshirtsuk

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