Mud stains are easier to remove after the mud has dried.

How to Clean Mud Off of White Pants

by M.H. Dyer

Essential for summertime, white pants pair perfectly with nearly any color and even work in the colder months as an attention grabber. Unfortunately, mud stains are extra-noticeable on white fabric. With persistence and determination, however, you can easily remove mud stains from washable fabrics such as most cottons, twills, denims, polyesters and acrylics.

Allow the mud to dry completely. Use a brush, spatula or table knife to remove as much of the dried mud as possible. Avoid rubbing the stain with a colored cloth or terry-cloth towel, which may make the problem worse.

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a large bowl or basin. Soak the pants in the solution for 15 minutes. Alternatively, soak the pants in an enzymatic pre-soak product for 30 minutes. Mix the solution at a rate of 1 tablespoon of presoak product in 1 quart of warm water. Rinse the pants in clear water.

Launder the pants in an oxygenated bleach product, which is safe for all washable fabrics. Fill the washing machine with the hottest water recommended on the garment care tag, then add one scoop of powdered oxygenated bleach. Wash and rinse the pants. Always dilute the powder in water before using. Read the label on your oxygen bleach product, as directions may vary.

Wash the pants in chlorine bleach if all other methods fail to remove the mud stain. Read the garment care tag to be sure chlorine bleach is appropriate for your pants and don't use chlorine bleach on pants made of wool, spandex or silk. If you determine that chlorine bleach is appropriate, fill the washing machine with hot water, then mix in up to 1 cup of bleach before adding detergent. Wash and rinse the pants in your machine's regular wash cycle.

Items you will need

  • Brush, spatula or table knife
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Large bowl or basin
  • Enzymatic pre-soak product
  • Oxygenated bleach
  • Chlorine bleach


  • Avoid drying the pants until you're sure the mud stain is removed. Drying the pants will set the stain and make removal more difficult.


  • Don't attempt to remove mud stains from dry clean only pants. Take the pants to the drycleaner as soon as possible -- preferably within 24 to 48 hours of when the stain happened.
  • Use chlorine bleach only if other methods fail to remove the mud. Overuse of bleach may weaken the fibers in some fabrics and make holes in the garment.
  • Never mix chlorine bleach with other cleaning substances. Mixing bleach with ammonia is especially dangerous because the combination creates toxic fumes.
  • Don't attempt to remove mud stains from leather or suede. Take the garment to a professional.

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

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