How I clean baseball pants!

I have been washing baseball pants for several years! I have three boys and the oldest being 17 and they all play year round baseball. That means many hours spent trying to get white baseball pants white! This year I said I was going to find a better way to get those pants clean.

I was sitting at a game (shocker, I know!) and asked one of the moms, “why is your son’s pants so white?” like I just got my teeth whitened white? and she said “Fels-naptha” and I said “come again?”
She said it’s a bar of soap that you can get at Walmart for .97. I said “are you kidding?” She said “no”!

The very next day I went to Walmart and bought my soap! For.97 I will try anything. – Here is what it looks like:

I came home and tried it out. I fell in love because it was so easy and it smells so good!

Here is what the pants look like after they take them off and throw them in the laundry room. I am sharing both white and grey pants as I have to wash both. At any given time I have baseball pants “soaking” It feels like the clutter rule – one in one out!

grey before
white before

I washed them without any stain treatment so you would understand why I can’t just wash them. Washing them doesn’t even touch the Carolina red clay! This is what they look like after washing with no stain removal.

grey after wash
white after wash

Next I use the soap. This is what they look like with the soap on them – I let them “sit” for a few hours and then throw them in the wash!

grey soaking
white soaking

This is the finished product! NICE!

grey after
white after

The soap is great for getting the stains out without having to scrub.

Now, when my boys come home covered head to toe in red clay you have to get out the big guns, and for that I recommend using Iron Out. I purchased mine at Walmart (found in the plumbing aisle) This is not for the faint of heart. The fumes will burn all your nose hair! But hey, you will have white baseball pants!

pants before iron out
What I do is have them take their uniform off and I wash it just to get the first layer off otherwise what I have found when soaking pants while the clay is still on there is that you end up with a “muck” color. After I wash them once I then let them soak in Iron Out. The directions say soak for 5 minutes but I usually do a couple of hours depending on how bad the “muck” is.

Iron Out is what gets the pants back to “white”. If you have found a better solution or one that is less work I would love for you to share!

pants after iron out

42 thoughts on “How I clean baseball pants!

    • yes, add a little water to it and it will make it easier to scrub ~ then let it sit/soak and then wash!

      sometimes I have had to do this a couple of times depending on how deep the stain is.

      Hope this helps and good luck!


  1. I soak my daughters softball pants in Biz for about an hour (also depending on how bad the dirt is!) then I use Fels-Naptha soap. Greased Lightning is also good. I did use the sports cleaner sold at Wal-Mart and it didn’t really work on her pants. When I wash her pants I put in a scoop of Biz and Oxy Clean. They come out perfect!

  2. Will the Iron Out bleach out any colors?? We have white pants and gray pants and both have royal blue piping down the side of the legs.

    • I only use the Iron Out on the white pants and I soak them longer than the directions say but you have to be careful so it does not soak too long and then you have holes – but I have not had an issue with the piping on the sides. For the grey ones I use the Fels-Naptha soap. Let me know how it goes! Thank you!

    • Be careful with cleaners that do not specifically claim not to bleach out or harm colors. That’s why I recommend ESPRO SPORTS CLEANER because it not only works great on all stains but it does not harm colors. BTW, ESPRO is used by over 100 college and pro teams including the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves.

  3. Iron out didn’t work very good on my son’s white baseball pants and it ate up the black piping that went down each leg. For football this past year we had white pants with a thick red stripe that got thinner as it went down. After a championship season and post season tournament play rose white pants look new and the red is just as bright as the day we got them. Here’s what I did: sprayed stains with shout the moment I got home then filled a bucket with really hot water and added Rit White-Wash. It’s a packet of powder but it’s sold in a box white and blue usually by TJE Rit dyes. Added the pack to the water and soaked for a couple of hours and the pants had the pads already sewn in so they tended to float so I had to swish them every now and then. Then I washed them in hot water with Tide pod and the Tide Oxi. Little bit of work but worth it. Now this baseball season my son has grey pants have no idea the best way to clean. When he pays baseball, I especially tournaments, his pants look like he took red mud and spent hours rubbing it in. I can get then a little clean but after that first game, they’re never the same.

    • Wow thanks so much for sharing all of that and I am sorry to hear that Iron out did not work for you – I have never had that happen. I have also never heard of Rit- White- Wash so I will be sure to check it out. I agree it is a process that is for sure and it never seems easy and we go to all this trouble of cleaning them only for them to get dirty again and we do it all over again! ha!

      The grey ones are easier for some reason I have found.

      Good Luck and thanks for stopping by!

  4. My daughter-in-law was told by a baseball trainer to take the pants to a carwash and use the hand-held sprayer on them. She treated them with a prewash first. It was amazing! Oklahoma has red dirt too. I couldn’t believe how much dirt came out of those pants. Sounds drastic and a little crazy, but it works. It might not be practical all of the time, but road trips.

  5. I boil my grandsons white baseball pants with powder cascade complete (powder works best) then while running under cold water or room tempature, I scrub by hand where there is dirt on. Then I throw them in the washer.

  6. I use Brite White found in the laundry aisle at Fry’s/Kroger for AZ red clay. Fill plastic container or bucket with hot water and good amount of brite white and let them it in the bucket for about two hours. I don’t scrub anything then just drain them and throw in the wash on hot. Zi don’t scrub them or anything. They come out great. Doesn’t do anything to the dark blue piping on the pants. M

  7. Baseball season is in Full Swing! 12th year of the dreaded how to make those white pants sparkle! Hindsight, I wish I would have bought stock in OxiClean! Love it (powder) for mud and grass stains, it will lift most of the red dirt with soaking in hot water mix overnight and adding some to the wash the next day. My kid steals bases, hard and often… so the red dirt grinds into the fibers of the fabric which never completely comes out even with a significant about of scrubbing with the bar soaps, oxi clean etc. I like the car wash idea, have thought of it but never tried. So off to the car wash I go.

    • Hi

      I don’t really have an exact measure I just sprinkle some on – either you can soak before or sprinkle in the wash and wash away! I am sorry I could not be more specific but you don’t want to use alot! Hope that helps!

  8. I’ve tried Dawn & hydrogen peroxide, Fels naptha, Dawn alone, strength pre-wash, & nothing seems to work. They still look like I never washed them. So frustrating. 🙂 I’ll be trying some of the other ideas I saw here…hopefully I’ll find the magic potion!

  9. Pingback: How To Clean White Baseball Pants With Piping | Football Online

  10. Trying this right now as I type. His stains are pretty “baked in” from being washed and dried several times – so the current pants may just be retired to his practice pants, and I’ll start with a new pair but use this method for cleaning. 😉

  11. I’m just soaking Bubb’s white baseball pants in Iron Out now. Here, in Canada, I could not find Fels-Naptha soap anywhere. We seem to have quite a bit of iron in our water here and using hot water sometimes give our white clothes an orangey hue. Maybe the Iron Out will help with that too! Anyway, wish me luck!

      • Definitely better! Of course, I can still see brownish patches where it was really bad, but the boys can’t see it. Luckily baseball season is almost over so I can start searching for ways to keep hockey equipment smelling fresh again. Lol! BTW, I love reading everyone’s ideas on here. Thanks!

      • Try ESPRO SPORTS CLEANER Stain Remover with Odor-Guard. Works great on all sports stains and has an odor-control agent in it.

  12. My son’s white baseball pants has a black Nike sign (embroidered) I heard that Iron Out can fade or discolor that, have you had this issue?

  13. Ariel powder laundry detergent …. Not for HE washers in the washer itself but my was catcher from elementary through high school including multiple summer travel teams at once. I would do a quick rinse of just cold water to get first layer of dreaded red clay out, then soak whole uniform in 5 gallon bucket of water warm enough to dissolve about 1/2 cup to 1 cup depending how dirty for a couple hours, drain & do a quick hand rinse in bucket before throwing in washer with regular detergents. His white pants would be bright stain free like new & smelled amazing


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