When summer comes, so too does a whole new category of clothing stains, including those caused by grass, mustard, mud, and strawberries. If you find these stains on your clothes, don't give them up for lost; as Wayne Edelman, of Meurice Garment Care in New York City, notes, it might take some effort, but with the right chemicals and techniques, you can get these stains out. To mix the tannin solution called for in the techniques, combine 1/2 teaspoon liquid laundry detergent with 1/4 cup each of white vinegar and cool water. This solution can be used to remove stains such as those caused by ketchup, red wine, black coffee, and fruit juice.

Tools and Materials


Alcohol or lighter fluid

Tannin solution



Tamping brush

To Remove a Mustard Stain

Working on an overturned plate, scrape off any excess with the edge of a spoon. Apply a squirt of alcohol or lighter fluid to the stain. Soak the stain with the tannin solution, and then use a tamping brush to "beat out" the stain. Slip a towel underneath the affected area, and flush with water. If more color remains, apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide, followed immediately by a few drops of ammonia. Rinse with cool water, apply a few drops of vinegar, and rinse with water again. Wash the garment.

To Remove a Strawberry Stain

Follow the above steps, but proceed directly to the tannin solution, and omit the alcohol or lighter fluid.

To Remove a Grass Stain

Apply alcohol or lighter fluid to the stain, and soak the clothing in a mixture of tannin solution and water. Working on an overturned plate, use the tamping brush to work the stain out. Follow the above steps for removing the last remnants of color.

To Remove a Mud Stain

Soak the garment in a solution of water, detergent, and ammonia to release the stain. Wash as usual.

Special Thanks

Wayne Edelman

Meurice Garment Care

20 Park Avenue

Manhasset, NY 11030

Phone: 800-240-3377


We used tamping brushes from Cleaner's Supply (phone: 800-568-7768).

Bonus Content: Remove a Cherry Stain

Stains go hand in hand with cherry season. To remove them and other fruit stains from washable fabric, act quickly.

Blot excess juice with a clean, damp cloth. Then squeeze lemon juice onto the stain, wait a couple of minutes, rinse, and let dry in the sun; the lemon's acid breaks up the stain, and sunlight has a bleaching effect. (Lemon juice works on cherry-juice-stained skin, too.) For big, stubborn stains, soak the fabric in a solution of 1 quart warm water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon clear, mild dishwashing liquid for 15 minutes, then wash as directed. Make extra solution to store in a spray bottle for treating spots.

Comments (3)

Martha Stewart Member
January 6, 2019
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Martha Stewart Member
July 8, 2017
Lemon juice didn't work on my colored shirt so I rinsed it mostly out and rubbed it in a few grains of Oxyclean on the shelf and it started to feel warm and a yellow liquid came out and the stain started to go but there started to be a yellow cast to the aqua color but I drenched it in water and rubbbed it. the stain was only slightly there and less and less all the time. The absence of the cherry made quite a contrast. I was so happy!
Martha Stewart Member
November 22, 2015
How do you remove the stain in clothes that come in contact with suntan lotion? Usually the stain is around the neck . There is a chemical in most suntan lotions that causes the stain.