How To Remove Rust Stains From Clothes

How to remove rust stains from clothes
How to remove rust stains from clothes

Table of Contents

Very old benches, swings, pipes etc. often develop rust. And this rust can easily get transferred to your clothes if you get in closer to such things accidently. If you have got a rust stain on your clothes and it’s not ready to leave, this article will help you.

We have explained simple ways to remove rust stains from clothes. So keep reading:

We will cover following aspects of cleaning leather bags in this blog:

What Can Help In Removing Rust Stain From Clothes

Stains that occurs due to food, tea, coffee, ink, etc. can be treated with different types of stain removers. However, there are not a lot of options that you can use to remove rust stains from clothes. You can only use:

  • Rust remover: As the name suggests, rust remover is a product which helps in removing rust from different surfaces. It is mainly used on rusted nails, pipelines, etc. However, you will easily find it in many households. Because it does the same job on almost every surface including clothes.
  • Lemon juice & salt: The acidity of lemon juice helps to loosen rust from the metal underneath, while the salt acts as a gentle abrasive that won’t leave scratches in the steel. Both are environmentally friendly and won’t damage your skin use them. If you have any small cuts on your hands if your skin is particularly sensitive (the salt is quite gritty), or if you just want to avoid getting dirty, you should wear rubber gloves, otherwise, you can use them with bare hands as well.
  • Vinegar & salt: Vinegar is basically a diluted solution of acetic acid and water. We can use vinegar to strip off the layer of rust from iron objects as acetic acid (CH3COOH) present in vinegar reacts with rust (FeOOH) to form salt (Fe(CH3COO)3) and water. This process is also known as the neutralization process. If you have any cuts on your hands or your skin is highly sensitive then you should wear rubber gloves while applying vinegar and salt to rust stains, otherwise, it is safe to use with bare hands as well. 

How To Remove Rust Stain With Commercial Rust Remover

Use commercial rust stain remover on clothes
Use commercial rust stain remover

You can check your nearest grocery stores, hardware store, or online websites to buy rust stain removers. You will be able to find them in the laundry aisle at supermarkets or the home goods section. 

Apply rust remover to the stain

You should use just enough to fully cover the stain, however big it may be. You may let it sit in the material for a few minutes if necessary. Carefully read any directions or warnings prior to application as it may tell you the exact measurement or time to leave on the material.

Rinse the garment twice

You’ll want to give your clothes a thorough rinse with clean, cold water. A second rinse will remove the harmful acids that may linger and deteriorate the material of your clothes. 

Launder the garment

Launder your clothes as normal. The main component in rust removers is an acid that will lift the rust stain from your clothes. Acids present in commercial rust removers such as oxalic or hydrofluoric acid will cause damage to skin and household appliances.


That’s it about how you can remove rust stain with a commercial stain remover. Now, let’s see how homemade stain removers can help.

How To Remove Rust Stains Using Homemade Stain Removers

Removing rust stain using homemade stain removers
Home remedies to remove rust stains from clothes

We have mentioned two homemade stain removers above:

  • Vinegar and salt
  • Lemon juice and salt

The process of using both of these combinations are same.

Cover the stain with lemon/vinegar and salt

Sprinkle the stained area with salt. Afterwards, fully saturate only the stain with lemon juice or vinegar. The quantity of every ingredient should be enough to cover the stained area. In case of lemon juice and vinegar you should consider that the stain should get damp slightly.  

Note: This process is safe for white or unbleached fabrics such as linen.  Coloured or delicate fabrics such as rayon, silk, wool, leather, and suede should be taken to a dry cleaner.

Soak and blot the stain

Allow it to sit for about five to ten minutes.  Blot stain with a clean white towel for 10-15 minutes. The stain will steadily start getting vanished.

Want effortless stain removal? Tumbledry’s expert dry cleaners can help. 

Launder the garment

To remove the residue of lemon juice or vinegar launder the garment as usual.  Make sure you rinse the garment properly. Since lemon may leave a stain or bleach light clothing.

Dry the garment in the sun

After covering the stain with salt and lemon juice/vinegar, place the garment outside in the sun under a towel until the stained area is dry. It is recommended to check every hour to make sure the lemon doesn’t bleach your fabric for up to three hours or until the stain has faded.  

If sunlight is not available you can also simply air dry until the spot is completely dry. In all, we recommend you line dry your garments after removing rust stains rather than using a clothes dryer machine.

If the stain still persists you can send the garment to a dry cleaner near you. Experts have specialized chemicals to treat some of the toughest stains. Hence, there is a high chance that your garment will get stain-free.

However, if you still want to treat “dry-clean only” clothes at home, here is what you can do:

Steps To Remove Rust Stains From Non-Washable Clothes

“Dry-clean only” fabric also called non-washable fabric is any fabric which cannot be washed at home using your regular wash methods. These include leather, high-quality silk, wool, etc. Let’s see how to remove rust stains from such clothes:

  • Step 1: To treat the rust stain from a non-washable fabric, mix 3-4 tsp. of salt and 3-4 tsp. of lemon juice or white vinegar to form a thick paste.
  • Step 2: Wear rubber gloves or use a soft-bristled brush to apply it on the stain. Always test the mixture on a small inconspicuous area first to check the compatibility. Now leave it in the natural sunlight for 50-60 minutes.
  • Step 3: Take 2-3 tsp. of lemon juice and pour over it to dampen the stain.
  • Step 4: Use a soft-bristled brush to clear the residue. Repeat step 3 once again if needed.

Some Tips To Remove Rust Stains From Clothes

Clean garment after rust stain removal
Clean garment after rust stain removal
  • Always identify the care instructions of your clothing before attempting stain removal methods.
  • It is better to take delicate or “dry-clean only” as they can follow all the precautions that must be taken while cleaning such clothes.
  • Do not apply chlorine bleach as it may deepen the stain. And it will get very difficult to remove.
  • Do not put your garment in the dryer before the stain is fully removed. It can lead to rust stains setting strongly in the garment.

If you think you don’t have time for removing stains at home, don’t worry. 

Key Takeaway

Rust stains are often tough to remove, however, by using any rust stain remover, a mix of lemon juice and salt or a paste of vinegar and salt, you can get rid of these stains easily. You can follow the processes explained above for using these stain removers. And in case the stain still persists, it might need an expert approach. You may need to send them to the dry cleaners.

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