Laundry

How to remove iron and rust stains from clothes

Want to know how to remove iron stains from clothes? This guide will tell you all you need to get rid of those pesky, red marks caused by rust or iron.

Whether you’re working on a car or you’ve accidentally brushed against some old metal furniture, it’s easy to get rust stains on your clothes. Unfortunately, they’re not so easy to remove from clothes.

With the help of some homemade remedies and a good washing detergent, like OMO, you may just be able to salvage your clothing from those red streaks.

Here’s your guide on how to remove rust stains from clothes.

How to remove iron stains from clothes

Store-bought rust stain removers can be harsh on hands and clothing, which is why many opt to make their own solution when they want to know how to remove iron stain marks. If you do opt for a commercial rust remover, carefully follow the instructions on the bottle, wear rubber gloves and check the labels on your garment to make sure it’s safe.

If you want to try gentler alternatives when learning how to remove rust stains from clothes then the following ingredients can be used. Always test each remedy on a small spot of clothing first to make sure it doesn’t bleach or damage the fabric.

  • Lemon juice and salt: sprinkle salt on the stained area and liberally soak the stain with lemon juice. Dry in the sun and rinse with cold water once dry.
  • White vinegar and salt: make a thick paste of white vinegar and salt and gently dab the stain with it. Once the stain is fully covered, leave it for 30 minutes and rinse under cold water.
  • Cream of tartar: boil a large pan of water and stir in six teaspoons of cream of tartar. Soak the garment in the water for an hour before rinsing and leaving it to dry. Be careful not to burn your fingers doing this.

If the stain remains after any of these remedies, repeat the process until the rust mark is as faint as possible. Once you have treated the stain, rinse the stain by hand. If the stain is still visible, you may have to resort to a commercial cleaner.

To finish the stain removal process, use your usual laundry detergent to clean the rest of the garment in your washing machine. Wash it separately from other clothes to avoid any remaining stain transferring onto other garments.

Now you know how to remove rust from clothes, you can save your clothes from those stubborn red marks.

Top Tip


When applying your rust stain remover, make sure you dab the stain instead of rubbing it. Rubbing the stain can lead to the metal in the rust damaging the fabric further.

Key points:

  • Make or buy a rust stain remover
  • Apply the stain remover to stain but do not rub
  • Reapply until the stain is removed