Guides and Tips

How to Remove Rust Stains from Clothes

November 5, 2023
How to Remove Rust Stains from Clothes

Rust stains on clothes and fabric can be a frustrating sight. These stains not only affect the aesthetics of your clothing but can also weaken the fabric if left untreated.

With the right knowledge and techniques, you can effectively remove them and restore your clothes to their former glory!

In this guide, we’ll explore various methods for rust stain removal along with prevention tips to avoid this problem in the future.

Method 1: White Vinegar and Salt

White Vinegar and Salt
Difficulty LevelEasy
Number of steps4
Time needed to perform fixApproximately 2–3 hours including drying time
Materials neededTable salt, white vinegar, and cold water

White vinegar is one of the most effective DIY cleaning tools at home and is excellent for rust stain removal. Here’s how you can use it for rust stain removal on your fabric:

  1. Sprinkle table salt onto the rust-stained fabric.
  2. Saturate the salted area with white vinegar.
  3. Allow the fabric to dry in direct sunlight.
  4. Wash the fabric in cold water, and make sure that the stain is gone before drying it.

Method 2: Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar, and Hydrogen Peroxide

Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar, and Hydrogen Peroxide
Difficulty LevelModerate
Number of steps6
Time needed to perform fix30 minutes to 1 hour including drying time
Materials neededCream of tartar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and warm water

Cream of tartar has acidic properties and serves as an excellent rust dissolver when combined with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Here’s how you can use it to remove rust stains:

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon each of cream of tartar and baking soda.
  2. Add several drops of hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Gently blend the ingredients to form a paste.
  4. Apply the mixture directly onto the areas affected by rust stains.
  5. Rinse with warm, not hot, water.
  6. Launder the garment in the washing machine as you usually do.

If rust stains persist after the wash cycle, do not put the clothes in the dryer just yet. Instead, repeat this process one or two more times to see if it works. 

If not, then move on to the next method.

Method 3: Salt and Lemon Juice

Salt and Lemon Juice
Difficulty LevelEasy
Number of steps6
Time needed to perform fix15–30 minutes including drying time
Materials neededLemon juice, salt, and clean, damp cloth

Lemon juice has natural bleaching properties that don’t ruin the colors of your clothing, unlike regular chlorine bleach. It becomes an effective rust stain remover when paired with salt. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Mix a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice and salt to create a thick paste.
  2. Apply the mixture directly onto the areas affected by rust stains.
  3. Allow it to sit for approximately five minutes.
  4. Blot the stains with a clean, damp cloth while pressing firmly to saturate the stains.
  5. Wipe away any excess paste.
  6. Hang the garment outside to dry in the sun to further lighten the stains.

Method 4: White Vinegar

White Vinegar
Difficulty LevelEasy
Number of steps4
Time needed to perform fix30–45 minutes including drying time
Materials neededWhite vinegar and clean cloth

Here’s another way to remove rust stains on fabric by using vinegar only:

  1. Splash white vinegar onto the rust stains.
  2. Blot the stain gently with a clean washcloth. Make sure to avoid vigorous rubbing, as this could spread the stain.
  3. Wash the clothing in the washing machine.
  4. Hang it outside to dry, ideally in the sun to further fade the stain.

Method 5: Commercial Rust Remover

Commercial Rust Remover

If the methods previously mentioned don’t work, there are commercial rust removers that might help you out. These products typically contain acids that react with rust to loosen the stains. 

Just be sure to read the label carefully to ensure the product is safe for your clothes and fabric.

Prevention Tips

Prevention Tips

Preventing rust stains on your clothing and fabric is important to maintain their appearance and avoid the hassle of having to remove them in the first place. Here are some practical steps you can take to minimize the risk of rust stains on your garment:

  • Inspect Your Garments: Before tossing your clothes into the washing machine, take a moment to inspect them first. Check pockets, seams, and any hidden compartments for small metal objects like screws, nails, or safety pins. 

These tiny items can easily go unnoticed but can cause rust stains while you wash your clothes. Removing these items before washing can prevent rust from sticking into your garments.

  • Store Metal Items Properly: When it comes to storing metal objects like screws, nails, or tools, it’s essential to keep them in a secure container. 

Avoid leaving them loose in your laundry area or other places where they might come into contact with your clothes and other fabric. 

Consider using labeled containers or organizers to keep metal items separate and prevent accidental contact with your textiles.

  • Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance prevents rust on metal fixtures that might stain your fabrics. Pay special attention to household items like faucets, showerheads, and clothing hangers. 

Regularly inspect them for signs of corrosion or rust. If you notice any rust developing, take action right away, whether through cleaning, painting, or replacing the affected item. 

By maintaining metal fixtures in your home, you reduce the risk of rust stains sticking to your clothes.

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