I have a pair of trousers that have somehow acquired this reddish brown stain over time but I can't figure out what the stain is or what could have caused it. Pictures:

Left Leg Right Leg

The stains are only on the upper front leg portions of the trousers. The stains are clearly visible in the images however they're not as visible in normal lighting.

  • Hi Liam, Welcome to Lifehacks.
    – Stan
    Oct 28, 2019 at 15:17

1 Answer 1


There's a good chance that the fabric dye used in your trousers has failed.

Notice that the discolouration is lighter than the rest of your trousers which is an important characteristic of fading. Stains are always darker than the original colour of the fabric.

Since your situation involves an area that is lighter, it indicates that a combination of wear and care have somehow left your trousers faded. This fits with the location of the discolouration (upper front leg) which is exposed to more wear than the back of your legs, say. It also appears that the tint of the discolouration is a similar to the darker (brown) shade of the vat dyed fabric of the pants.

Therefore, the more you try to remove the discolouration, the lighter it will become. You must do the opposite which is to dye the lighter area to match the darker surrounding area.

On the other hand, faded jeans have become a fashion item; so, maybe as your pants age they will be stylish rather than faulty.

You may want to take the matter to the store where you bought them to discuss the quality of the materials used to make your clothing. There is no assurance that this was NOT supposed to happen. This could be a case of quality control failure.

It happens.

Good luck.

  • Perhaps OP uses a biologic detergent, which has affected the dye. Oct 28, 2019 at 17:58
  • @WeatherVane Yes. There are a myriad of factors that influence the what and why of this that we don't know—up to and including the kind of fabric.
    – Stan
    Oct 29, 2019 at 0:41
  • "Stains are always darker" - although it might be generally true, it still depends on what stained them. I have in mind white paint. Other then that, I agree with your answer.
    – virolino
    Oct 29, 2019 at 6:18

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