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Solutions for Common Camping Stains

Camping season is finally here, which means lots of fun for the whole family and plenty of time spent in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, all the time outdoors tends to mean lots of stains and clean-up time – especially for the parents of little, curious explorers. With that in mind, we’ve set out to tackle some of the most common, but most painful stains you can encounter during any camping trip. Check out the tips below, so you’ll be ultra prepared for your next night out in the mountains.


Remove Marshmallow from Clothing

S’mores are delicious, but incredibly messy which means they lead to lots of sticky stains.

Luckily, marshmallow is made mostly from sugar, water, and gelatin material, so it can typically dissolve in water.

We suggest presoaking the affected area in warm water for a few minutes before submerging the entire garment in a tub of warm water mixed with a small amount of liquid detergent for between 5 and 10 minutes.

Once thoroughly soaked, wash the garment on the highest setting allowed by its care instructions. Now, check to see that you’re marshmallow free. Some heavy stains may need a second round of treatment.

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Remove Gum from Clothing

It’s super frustrating to sit on or rub against someone’s old, chewed gum, but there are several methods for easily removing the goop.

Ice Cube – rub an ice cube onto the gum, hardening the material and allowing for easier removal

Duct Tape – place duct tape firmly across the entirety of the gum-covered spot and lift the gum away from the fabric. Repeat as necessary.

Hairspray – squirt a small amount of hair spray directly to the gum, which should result in the gum hardening. Once hardened, simply scrape the gum away.

Rubbing Alcohol – apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the gum-covered area with a sponge. Once covered, the gum should harden, making it easy to scrape away from the garment.

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Remove Blood Stains

While blood stains might look tough in an action movie, they look out of place on your wardrobe. Despite their rich color and crispy texture, these stains can be removed by a large number of substances and techniques.

Vinegar – if you can treat it immediately (within an hour), pour white vinegar on the spot and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Blot with a dry cloth to remove the stain. (Repeat as necessary)

Cola – If you don’t have a cleaning product handy, soak the blood stain in cola overnight and allow the acidic beverage to remove the stain.

Cornstarch or Talcum Powder – mix cornstarch or talcum powder with a small amount of water to create a paste. Apply the paste directly to a fresh blood stain and allow it to dry completely. Once dry, simply brush away the material and the stain should be gone. (Repeat if necessary)

Hydrogen Peroxide – for fresh blood stains, apply 3% hydrogen peroxide directly to the stained region. Rinse the area thoroughly with fresh water and launder as usual.

WD-40 – apply WD-40 directly to a fresh blood stain to make it easier to remove in the wash. Once applied, wash the garment as usual and the stain should vanish.

Ammonia – mix a solution of 50% ammonia and 50% water, then dab onto the affected area thoroughly. Wash as normal and watch the stain disappear.

Cold Salt Water – soak a bloodstained garment in cold salt water as soon as possible. Allow the garment to soak for 3-4 hours, then remove it and rub the affected area with liquid detergent. Wash as usual.

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Remove Grass Stains

Grass stains are inevitable for anyone who enjoys recreating on a grassy surface. While these stains can be very obvious and unsightly, they can typically be removed with the proper attention.

We suggest starting with a solution of 50% rubbing alcohol (or methylated spirits) and 50% water, and treating the affected area directly. For heavier stains, you can increase the amount of alcohol (up to 100%, if necessary). Just remember that this treatment has a tendency to create “bleeding” in fabric colors, so use this approach with care.

If you’re cleaning stains from white clothing that can be bleached, you may prefer to use a chlorine bleach solution at this point – which will typically remove the stain without issue. Just be sure that you’re not using too much bleach, as it may damage your garment.

If you’re cleaning a color garment, soak the stain in a solution of water and detergent prior to your final wash. This will help “loosen” the stain further.

Once soaked, wash the garment as usual and inspect for full removal of the stain. (Apply treatments again, as necessary)


Put garments in the dryer prior to total removal of the grass stain.

Use ammonia, degreaser, or alkaline detergents – as they may set the stain permanently into fabric.

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Remove Charcoal Stains

Nobody likes the black stain of charcoal left from rubbing against a burned log, but this stain is fairly simple to handle.

One of the strange keys to removing charcoal stains is to avoid getting the spot wet (at first). Begin by smacking the fabric in the affected area with your hand or a flat tool (like a fly swatter). This process should be similar to beating the dirt from a rug.

Once loosened, brush the area or use a vacuum to gather any remaining charcoal dust.

After the majority of the material is removed, wash the garment in the hottest water allowed by the care instructions. This should take care of the stain.

If the stain persists after this cleaning effort, soak the garment overnight in a solution of water and liquid detergent, then launder again.

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Remove Scuffs from Shoes and/or Boots

It’s never fun to scuff a nice pair of shoes or boots, but it seems that camping always creates these moments. Fortunately, scuffs are usually pretty simple to fix.

Leather scuffs – scrub with a bit of toothpaste

Faux Leather scuffs – massage petroleum jelly into scuffed area

Suede scuffs – rub an eraser across the scuff in one direction

Canvas scuffs – make a paste from baking soda and water, then apply it to scuffed area

When you encounter a stain you just can’t seem to manage, don’t hesitate to contact our experts at Clothesline Cleaners. Our team has experience with anything you can throw our way, and we guarantee every solution we provide. Contact us today to learn more about our incredible services.