- Cleaning white baseball pants can be a challenge using a regular laundry detergents
- Understand how stains are created and learn how to remove them with the right tools and techniques without damaging the white baseball pants
How do Baseball Uniforms Get Stained?
Baseball game can be a rough, tumbling, and sliding fun time for kids, so it is natural for their uniforms to pick up stains from whatever material these kids are playing on.
Six sources of stains are:
- Artificial Turf: Most stains from playing on a fake turf field is black. The black stain on pants is caused by loose rubber pallets (often recycled car tires) that are embedded between the artificial turf grass blades to provide a cushion. When friction occurs, carbon black from tires transfers on to the pants
- Blood: Nosebleeds or cuts on fingers during a game can result in blood stains on the uniform
- Dirt: Ordinary dirt has lots of organic materials which can stain the uniform when kids slide, roll around, or rub against the ground during a game. If playing on a regular baseball field, dirt on field usually contains calcinated clay or soil conditioners. Calcinated clay is crimson in color and may not be removed by regular laundry detergent
- Grass: Grass stains occur when players slide into base, dive for a catch, or dive for a ball on a grass field. Crushed grass blades release chlorophyll in them, a natural dye with strong green pigment, resulting in tough grass stain
- Sweat: Sweat stains are usually seen around the white collar of a jersey (“yellow ring”) or in the arm pit area
- Sunscreen Lotions: Most commercial sunscreen lotions (and tanning oils which are sometimes used on baseball gloves) contain the chemical Avobenzone; Avobenzone can cause yellowish or orange rust-like stains when it comes in contact with iron found in city water
Materials Used in Baseball Pants
Although stains can happen to any part of the baseball uniform, baseball pants suffers the most.
Baseball pants are a crucial part of a player’s uniform and play a significant role in the player’s comfort and performance on the field.
The material used for baseball pants determines the comfort, durability, and performance of the baseball pants.
- Polyester is a synthetic material that is lightweight, quick-drying, durable, less expensive than other materials. This material is also resistant to fading, wrinkling and shrinking, so it is very popular with local recreation leagues. Unfortunately 100% polyester pants do not breath so a young player can get hot quickly on a hot, humid day. Polyester contacts on a sweaty skin can also cause chafing and itching
- Cotton is a natural fiber that is often used for training pants, not game baseball pants. We all know that cotton is soft and breathable, but baseball pants made from 100% are susceptible to fading, shrinking, and wrinkling. Cotton also does not fare well in high friction situations so they tend to wear out quickly
- Polyester / Cotton Blend is an ideal mixture of high durability and breathability but it is difficult to find baseball pants made from this combination
Baseball Pants Styles
Baseball pants come in a variety of styles, but in youth baseball leagues, these three styles are used the most:
Traditional Open-Bottom (TOB) Pants: TOB pants are the traditional style which come with full-length legs with open hem at the bottom. Open hem allows pants to move up and down during sprinting and sliding. TOB pants can be plain or piped which features a thin, rolled up fabric (“pipe”) that runs down the side of the leg. Think of piping as a pinstriping on a car
Knicker Pants: Knicker pants feature a hem that stops around the knees, providing players with a shorter, more flexible pants that is ideal for maximum mobility on the field .
Slider Pants: Slider pants feature a reinforced material in the knees, hips, and thigh areas to provide extra protection and durability during slides. Youth players normally wear sliding shorts underneath their baseball pants.
Stirrup Pants: Stirrup pants are another classic style of baseball pants which feature a loop that goes under the foot. Stirrup pants were mostly worn during the 1970s and other than Classic games days and old timer coaches, few young players wear this pants design.
Beware of Colorfastness
Colorfastness is a term used to describe how well dye adheres to a fabric material, resistance to fading and discoloration.
Although all fabric with pigments fade eventually when the molecular bond between the fabric fibers and dye breaks down, a method used to apply the dye plays a large role in color fading.
In white baseball pants, you need to be concerned about two things:
- Will my piping fade?
- Will the logo on the pants fade?
There is no way to know for sure but in my experience, most piping materials are 50% cotton and 50% polyester where colors are infused into fabric.
However, threads used to create manufacturer logos (i.e. Nike logo) go through simple bale dyeing method (“dunking” thread into a vat of dye) which is not fade resistant.
In my experience, Oxy-Clean had no problems with piping materials but the color on the manufacturer logo always faded after a wash or two.
What Causes Stains
Stains form when a staining agent like carbon black or chlorophyll are absorbed by the fibers of the fabric and coloring molecules are trapped inside.
It is important to avoid using hot water to clean stains as protein-based stains will set quickly inside fibers.
Lastly, before attacking stains with cleaners, make sure to shake-loose or scrub off any caked on dirt or grass.
Cleaning Agents and Methods
There are many products that are made specifically to clean white baseball pants but these cleaning products tend to be expensive.
Instead, you can use these four inexpensive agents to clean your child’s stained white pants:
- Oxi-Clean “Max Force” Spot Cleaner Spray bottle (check the latest price)
- Used to treat small stains
- Spray both sides of the stained fabric, wait 10 minutes, then wash in cold water with regular detergent
- Iron Out (check the latest price on Iron Out)
- Iron Out is great for removing calcinated clay and soil conditioner from white pants (rust-like stains)
- Great at removing reddish-colored stains from playing on a dirt infield **
- Instead, you need to soak them in Iron out solution over night
- 4 gallons of warm water + 1/2 cup of Iron Out
- Soak for 1 hour (do not soak overnight as Iron Out will weaken the fabric)
- Dispose water then fill the bucket with cold water and rinse out pants ***
- Wash with Oxy-Clean Revive (1/2 cup on full wash cycle in cold water)
- Oxi-Clean “Revive” (check the latest price on OxyClean Revive)
- Used to treat larger stains
- 4 gallons of warm water + cup of Oxy Clean Revive
- Soak for 2 hours
- Dispose water then fill the bucket with cold water and rinse out pants ***
- wash in cold water with regular laundry detergent
- Fels Naptha Laundry Bar and Stain Remover (check the latest price)
- Fels Naptha is used to spot clean sweat stains
- Rub the bar in the effected area and wash normalls
- Fels Naptha no longer contain benzene (very bad chemical)
Whatever you do, DO NOT USE BLEACH to whiten your child’s baseball pants.
* A word of warning about Iron Out. Although most piping materials are 50% cotton and 50% polyester, color fast, some brand logos (Nike Swoosh, etc.) made from threads are not colorfast and will most likely fade when submerged in water with Iron out
** Not all dirt fields are the same. Many inexperienced coaches dump “Game Saver” material to rapidly dry out wet spots after rain. Game Savers are made with calcinated clay (which has a distinct reddish in color) so Oxy-Clean treatment will be unable to remove the reddish stain completely.
*** Excess detergent materials like Iron Out, Oxy Clean, and Laundry Detergent may generate lots of suds. Excess suds will most likely trigger your laundry washer to stop working so make sure to rinse out the pants first.
A word of advice on white pants. Have 2 or 3 pair of pants for each season so you do not have to scramble to do laundry after each game!
Well, I hope you found this post to be helpful!