How to Get Grass Stains Out of Shoes

Getting grass stains out of shoes is 100% possible. I’ve done it, my friends have done it and so have millions of people all over the world.

Cleaning grass stained shoes

You do not need expensive products or harmful chemicals but you do need to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Or you may end up with a wrecked shoe.

But anyway, lets get right into my favorite methods so you know exactly what I’m talking about.


  • Vinegar is the best way to remove grass stains from shoes, in my opinion
  • Dishwashing liquid is a great alternative for those that can’t stand the smell of vinegar
  • Laundry detergent works but it’s time-consuming and has more risk to it
  • You need to uplift as much of the stain from suede shoes before using any solutions
  • Do not use ANY of these methods on leather. Instead use molasses like I describe

Why I Went Searching For Grass Stain Removers

Sometimes I have to use my good shoes to mow the lawns because my yard boots are either lost, destroyed, or wet.

This causes me to use some of my casual sneakers which I don’t really want to use.

After 1 hour of mowing the lawns my shoes are absolutely covered in grass stains.

Growing up I always thought it was over for my cool kicks. They are doomed to be yard shoes for the rest of their lives.

But that is not the case.

I have found some methods and they actually work!

Lets discuss them.

1. Vinegar

My rating: 10/10 (easy, effective, zero risk)
Risk: No risk
Time: 10 minutes

Vinegar is easily my favorite method because there’s no risk for damage unlike laundry detergent which is prone to discoloring the soles.

It’s fast, effective, and everyone has a bottle of vinegar laying around the house.

Simply fill 2/3 of a cup with warm water, and the other 1/3 with vinegar.

Dip a cloth in the solution and dab the stain.

Use an alternative (dry) cloth to remove the solution. Repeat as necessary until the grass stains are removed.

2. Laundry detergent

My rating: 6/10 (slow, time-consuming, high risk, but gets the job done)
Risk: High-risk
Time: 20 – 30 minutes

Laundry detergent is actually really good at removing grass stains.

They get all sorts of stains out of clothes, so grass stains is child’s play.

However, keep in mind that some laundry detergents contain bleach and enzymes and are prone to discoloring or damaging soles.

Before moving forward, make sure the detergent is color-safe and that there are no warnings on the shoe about using detergents.

Now on to the method:

Rub some laundry detergent onto the stain using a cloth.

Leave it to dry for about 15 minutes, then come back and rinse the shoe.

The stain should be mostly gone by this stage. Repeat as many processes as needed.

If you’re using laundry detergent in powder form, simply make a paste by mixing it with water.

3. Dishwashing Liquid

My rating: 10/10 (safe, effective, easy, no smell, fast)
Risk: No risk
Time: 10 minutes

Easily one of my other favorites is dishwashing liquid.

There’s little-to-no risk and doesn’t take too much time to complete.

Also it’s better suited for people that can’t stand the smell of vinegar.

The solution is simple. Just mix the same amount of liquid and water that was mentioned in #1.

That is 1/3 dishwashing liquid and 2/3 warm water.

However, I would use a bristled brush instead of a wash cloth to work the solution into the shoe.

Rinse with clean water when you think it’s clean enough. Otherwise repeat as many times as possible.

Careful Considerations

Don’t saturate your shoes in cleaning solution

The key is to work in little areas.

When I say apply the solution to the shoe, it means small, circular motions.

Not pour the vinegar all over. Some may get inside and make your shoes smell.

Don’t use laundry detergent on specific shoes

I already mentioned this but I think it’s worth noting for anyone that missed it or forgot.

Every shoe is made differently.

Some are laundry-detergent safe, and some will absolutely destroy them.

I highly recommend checking with the manufacturers recommendations before applying laundry detergent.

Often times it will have a big warning right on the instruction tag anyway.

Suede requires a little more attention

Yes you can get grass stains out of suede but it requires a little more attention.

You’ll have to loosen as much of the stain as possible before applying any solution, simply because the grass has worked its way through the material.

Loosen the stain with an eraser, then scrub in the direction of the fibers with a suede brush, getting the majority of the stains out.

Once this is done you can use one of the methods above. I do not recommend laundry detergent, but dishwashing liquid or vinegar is okay.

Getting grass stains out of leather

Leather is also a little more sensitive when it comes to chemicals and solutions.

A great method I found at LoveToKnow is to get some molasses, spread it across the stain, then use a brush to rub it in.

Leave your shoes to sit overnight, come back the next day and wash it all off. The stains should be completely gone.

Lets Recap

There was a lot to take note in this article, so I want to recap the most important parts.

  • Vinegar is best and always will be
  • Dishwashing liquid is a great alternative
  • Laundry detergent is too risky
  • Suede requires a little more work
  • Use molasses for leather

So there you have it.

Lets us know what your favorite method is in the comments below.

Or do have your own technique you would like to add?

We would love to hear them!

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