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How to Get Clay Out of Clothes – Top Tips for Potters

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by Emma Sullivan  • Updated: February 27th, 2023  •  7 min read    Pottery Advice

Knowing how to get clay out of clothes and fabrics can help you keep your favorite clothes from becoming a complete loss of value. Unfortunately, accidents happen to the best of us, even when we are being cautious.

Therefore, it is always beneficial to have a foolproof trick up your sleeve that will help you perform an efficient cleaning without causing damage to the fabrics. 

Does Pottery Clay Stain Clothes?

The majority of pottery clay stains can be washed away, however darker clays like black clay and terracotta are more difficult to remove. So it is important to choose your clothing carefully when working with clay.

How to Remove Clay Stains From Clothes 

Follow the simple instructions below on how to remove clay stains from your clothes so that you can have more fun and be more creative while working on the potters’ wheel.

Allow the Clay to Dry

When it’s wet, pottery clay will cause more damage to your clothing than when it’s dry, so be careful. It is possible for this sediment, when combined with moisture, to penetrate the fabric and become trapped there, making it extremely hard to remove.

Allowing all the clay to dry before washing it is preferable to leaving it in the laundry. This will enable you to scrape away a significant percentage of the stain right from the start. 

Apply a Pre-Wash Solution to the Stain

Pre-treatment is an essential part of the process of removing clay stains from your clothes. Use a stain-removing product to treat the stain before putting it in the washing machine after you’ve scraped off as much dried sediment as possible.

Rub the solution into the afflicted stained area with a toothbrush or brush with firm bristles. If you’re using a stain-removal product, make sure to follow the instructions that come with it. To remove red clay stains, here are the most effective solutions:

Use the Hot Settings on Your Washing Machine.

These pre-treatment methods aim to eliminate as many particles from the stain as possible while also loosening up any sediment that remains. Clay stains can be removed from your clothing more effectively with the help of these two techniques.

Next, wash your clothes on the hottest wash temperature appropriate for the type of clothing you’re cleaning. If you’re unsure of the temperature, check the label on the garment you’re wearing. A temperature that is too hot for your laundry could do irreparable damage to it.

Stay Away From the Dryer!

When you’ve completed the stain removal and washing process, it’s time to hang your laundry to dry. Avoid the temptation to throw the items straight into the dryer because doing so may set any remaining clay stains into the fabric.

This makes it virtually impossible to remove what is left of them. Instead, hang your laundry on a clothesline to dry.

If the Stain Remains- Rinse & Repeat

In reality, there is no home stain removal method that is 100 percent effective. Stains that refuse to come out in a single wash can be challenging to deal with.

If some of the old clay stains are still visible when removing your clothing, proceed to the second stage with a new stain-removal solution. Professional products, as opposed to handmade concoctions, maybe better.

Alternative Treatments

Alternatively, swirl the whites in a solution of hot water and OxiClean if the above procedure doesn’t work.

Next, remove the clothes from the solution, and then use a bar of Ivory soap to remove the stain from the fabric.

Then, scrub the soapy stain with baking soda. Afterward, wash the item in your washing machine as normal.

Points to Consider When Removing Clay From Clothes

What Temp is Best to Remove Clay Stains?

Use the water temperature indicated by the stain removal products and detergents you’re cleaning with.

  • Cold water between 65 and 75 degrees F.
  • Warm water should be between 85 and 105 degrees F.
  • Hot water between 120 and 140 degrees F.

Many detergents are ineffective in removing clay stains from water that is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

What to Wear When Working with Clay

For those working with pottery for the first time, you might be wondering what to wear. You want to look and feel comfortable in your clothes, and you don’t want to destroy them by splashing clay on them. Although many clays are easily washed away, darker clays can leave stains.

Put on Your Most Comfy Clothes

When handling clay, it is essential that your shirt and jeans are not too tight so that you can move your hands and legs freely. Also, when working with clay, you don’t want your arms to be constrained by tight-fitting clothing. Therefore, pottery is best done with sleeves rolled up or in a T-shirt.

When it Comes to Footwear, the Older, the Better

You should wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Shoes are necessary in the studio to protect your feet from the many tools and equipment while working with clay.

Wearing an Apron is a Good Idea!

If you don’t want your clothing to become too wet or dirty while working with clay, you should consider wearing an apron. You can also keep some of your tools in the pockets of an apron for easy access.


Stubborn stains are the most difficult to remove when it comes to clay stains. However, you can remove most stains on clothes with a bit of patience and perseverance. If you fail the first time around, don’t be afraid to try again.

Be sure to take some time to read our other articles as well. Let us know if you have any questions!

Emma is a certified ceramic artist with a Bachelor's degree in Art History. She has worked with various renowned pottery studios and has a keen eye for identifying the best tools and equipment for potters of all skill levels. Read more
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