Where do these stains on my pants come from?

Every pair of khakis I have ever owned has these stains, and it is starting to really tick me off. They are almost always located on the outside of the pant, near the bottom of the pocket. They are a dark gray color, and have a very sporadic pattern to them. The pair I have on right now has about 12-15 mini-stains, each one less than an inch long.

Washing doesn’t get rid of these babies. When I buy a fresh pair of pants, I actually check to make sure they are clean in this area, but they inevitably end up with the same “khaki circles” as the others.

Where do these mysterious stains come from? I have asked other guys about them, and they have noticed the same problem. Is there something larger at work here? Please help me.

Whoever can resist the temptation to say “duh, it’s Rancid Yak Butter” is a better person than me.

It sounds like grease of some sort. Is your car seat belt dirty? Bottom of the pockets seems too low to be from you leaning against a counter. Is it from something inside the pockets and seeping through the fabric?

You need to examine your day and figure out what habitual thing is causing this. I read elsewhere for a similar problem, that you should pin a safety pin at the site of the stains. Then whenever you are doing whatever it is you do, you will feel the pin clicking against whatever dirty surface is causing the stain.

I used to have a very similar problem. The culprit (when it was finally identified) was the left-side armrest of the driver’s seat in my car. The leatherette covering was wearing away, and as my leg tended to make contact with the armrest on occasion, I ended up with a brown residue in strange striped patterns on my trouser leg.

I can resist that, but telling him that he growing up, and changes are happening in his body that are normal…well, I’m just not going to go there.

Do you carry loose coins in your pocket at all?

No loose coins. The only thing in my pocket are my keys.

Interesting, except that I normally get the marks on both sides of my pants.

You know full well where they come from! And stop doing that, you’ll go blind!

I thought a kitten would be killed…

There’s no any grease on them, or in your keyhole, is there? Also, try examining the insides of the pockets themselves. Any stains there?

Does your keyboard sit on a platform connected to your desk that might be hitting your pants at that area? Or are you sitting at a desk that has a drawer that might be hitting you there?

This has potential. I am a teacher, and do sit at my desk on occasion. I just tested it out, and the height of the desk would perfectly match the stains in question. Now I simply need to test the theory with a new pair of khakis.


*Pardon me, do you…

oh, never mind.*

I know this is an old post, but i also had the black marks on many right pant pockets. I finally figured it out as the black dye from the steering wheel of your car as you slide in. Look at the bottom of the wheel and you will see marks on the black leather like material. I have ruined many light colored pants because the laundry will not remove the black marks.

Since this has been revived, I will contribute.

I have two pairs of khakis from Duluth Trading, that have a little built-in stretch in the material. I would get black marks on the phone pocket on the right side, which I thought were coming from the hand parking brake on my car, which I could not avoid contacting. But when I switched the phone to a regular pocket on the left side, the marks moved with the phone. The difference, with me, is that these marks do come out in the wash, especially if I pre-treat with a little Shout.

What I have concluded, after some careful observation, is that the problem is in the fabric itself, presumably whatever fiber is included to give it stretch. When something hard, like a phone, is in a pocket, and it rubs against anything hard on the outside, like a counter or the underside of a desk, however clean everything is, it makes a black mark. (I’m pretty sure the OP had a different problem, because my marks are never round spots.) I don’t know if anyone has ever encountered this before, but it seems all I can do is to stop buying trousers with this particular fabric.

If you suspect it might be something IN your pocket that is leaking out, try this:

When you buy a new pair of khakis, buy a roll of iron-on tape. Place the tape, following instructions, along the bottom of the actual pocket.

If you still get the stains, it’s something going on the outside of your pants. And you’re sitting down when it happens. The underside of the desk drawer sounds like the culprit. A simple wipe with a damp paper towel won’t do the trick. We’re probably talking about years of accumulated crud from people’s hands, which means dirt and grease.

I recommend a bucket of soapy water, and either one of those green Scotch-Brite pads or an SOS pad.

Good luck!


Or lower your chair.

(Why do khakis catch every stain they can? Is it a conspiracy?)

ETA, My Daddy called civilian khakis “chinos”

Ok, I have had the same problem for about a year. Suddenly all my pants had small streaks of black marks on the right side, just below the pocket. I tried everything to figure out where it came from. I thought maybe it’s the phone, keys that hang outside my pants off the carabiner, maybe its my wallet making marks from inside the pocket. I checked inside and the pocket was white and clean.

So I thought maybe it’s coming from the car, so I did a test and rubbed my pants against the steering wheel, nothing. I then thought maybe it’s my keys in the car ignition that are rubbing against my pants when I drive, so I checked and it wasn’t that.

Finally I gave up and looked online and found this thread. Someone here said it happened to them, and gave a suggestion and by golly I FOUND IT. So, apparently the streaks came from the combination of having my phone in my right pocket (as I always put it there) and having a worn out steering wheel (car is 10 years old). What happens is when I get in the car driver seat, my cell in my right pocket would catch the bottom of the steering wheel, causing a small black mark.

That explains why it’s hard to wash the stains off because it’s essentially a rubber streak. Using special stain spray and then washing the pants after removes most of it.

Now that I know the problem, I have a temp solution until I buy another car: get a steering wheel cover, and hold my phone whenever I get in the car, or start putting my phone in the left pocket.