How to remove the 5 most common school uniform stains

As a mother of two boys I know a thing or two about removing stains from a school uniform. Some stains will wash right out in the machine, while others need a little more help and elbow grease.

As technology evolves it’s becoming easier to find school uniform essentials in stain-resistant fabrics. For instance, the teflon finish trousers from Tu have a coating that repels stains and also makes school trousers more hard-wearing. If you still need help getting stains out of shirts and jumpers however, here are my tips for using household essentials and made-for-the-purpose stain removers to eliminate the most common school uniform stains.


Usually formed by skidding on the school field, grass stains are one of the most ground-in and will need a bit of scrubbing to remove them properly. You can use a stain remover solution, but I swear by white vinegar, baking soda and an old toothbrush.

First you need to leave the clothes to soak in a bowl of white vinegar for about half an hour, giving the stain a little rub as they go in. Then wring them out and make a paste with some baking soda and a little more white vinegar. The boys like to help with this bit as it fizzes, but soon disappear when I mention scrubbing it on with the toothbrush. When most of the stains have gone, wash as normal, and hey presto!


If the kids have managed to find a particularly muddy patch to roll in and it’s still wet when they get home, let the mud dry first so you can scrape off the excess before treating it. Then, using the back of a spoon, roll over the remaining mud to break it up that little bit more. Mix Fairy liquid with water and soak the item for a few hours. It can then go in the machine, but I tend to use a stain remover in the wash too as mud can be stubborn.


This is a nice simple one as fortunately most paints used in schools are water-based and washable. If your child has applied liberally however, make sure to remove the majority of the paint crusts with the blunt edge of a knife before popping in the washing machine on your regular cycle.


I’ll let you in on a strange secret with biro pen – it can be removed using hairspray. Spray it on liberally and dab the stain with a damp cloth, repeating a few times. Just make sure you don’t rub in the biro mark. Once the stain is lighter, spray once more and put in the machine as normal. I promise it works!


Tomato-based pasta sauce and ketchup can be a pain to get out, especially if they’re on white or light clothing. (Why do schools choose white shirts as part of their uniform?!). For ketchup, rub half a lemon over the stain as the acidity breaks down the oil.

For spaghetti-type sauce, scrape off any excess before soaking in warm water and washing up liquid, then wring out and add a drop of white vinegar before machine washing. Never underestimate the power of sunlight in fading stains either – the UV rays are particularly good at making any remaining discolouration disappear.

For a handy stain removal chart that you can print off and keep, download this one from the Persil website. What are your top tips for ridding school uniforms of those dreaded everyday stains?

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