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How to get rust out of clothing - Our guide to remove rust stains on clothes

Learning how to get rust out of clothing is simple, with the right guide. Read on for our simple steps to remove rust stains on clothes with ease.

Updated By Cleanipedia Team

rusty trousers with a wrench in the pocket
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When the weather is nice, and we’re out and about enjoying the great outdoors, it’s no wonder that the last thing on our minds is how to get rid of a rust stain. However, iron and steel are used to make many everyday items, from railings to garden tools – and when these materials come into contact with air and water, rust is sure to follow. Read on to discover our guide to rust, and how to remove rust from clothes in no time.

What is rust, and how does stain?

Rust is composed of iron oxide, caused by iron or steel coming into contact with air and water, and is particularly stubborn when it stains. Rust is flaky and easily smeared into a larger stain, and often looks a lot worse than it is. Due to this, it can be difficult to know how to remove rust stains from clothes. Don't panic, however, as there is no reason to let rust stains on clothes ruin your day. 

How to get rust out of clothes - Tips for using a commercial rust cleaner

Commercial rust cleaner is available to buy in most hardware stores and is designed to remove rust stains from clothes and most other materials. However, the chemical solution of these products is often strong, and you should be extremely careful to test it on a small, inconspicuous area of your clothing item first.

When using a commercial cleaner to remove rust stains from clothes, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Follow up the stain removal process with a laundry cycle using a good quality laundry detergent to remove any residue.

You will need:

  • Old towel
  • Clean white towel or sponge
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Laundry detergent

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How to get rust out of clothes

The obvious answer is to steer clear from rust altogether; but we all know that when the sun is out, no stain is going to keep us from flipping some burgers on the barbeque. Instead, learning how to remove rust stains from clothing means you will know exactly what to do when the inevitable happens. Bear in mind, however, that this is one of the more difficult stains around, so complete removal may not be possible – defer to the skills of a professional dry cleaner if this is the case.

  1. Move fast

    The quicker you can start to remove rust stains from clothes the less chance it will have at sinking and setting into the material.

  2. Lemon or white vinegar are rust’s worst enemies

    Lay your garment on an old towel and saturate the affected area with white vinegar or half a cut lemon.

  3. Blot the stain

    Blot the stain with a clean white towel or sponge to absorb the red discolouration.

  4. Put in direct sunlight

    Place your clothing item in direct sunlight so that the stain continues to fade.

  5. Wash as normal

    Wash as normal with a good quality commercial laundry detergent.

    Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and launder at the recommended setting, as detailed on the clothing care label.

  6. Leave to dry

    Leave to dry and repeat steps two to five if necessary.

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So, now you know how to remove rust from clothes quickly and easily. Cleaning is often a question of having the right know-how rather than scrubbing for hours: once you understand what you’re dealing with, coming up with a solution is easy.

Have you found you have rust stains in other parts of your home? Now you know how to get rust stains out of clothes, we can help with other rust stains too. Check out our articles on tackling rust stains on carpets, cleaning a rusty bike and even how to remove rust from your bathroom and kitchen.

Originally published