remove iron stains from clothes
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How to remove iron stains from clothes

Learn how to remove iron stain from clothes with this simple three-step process.    

Once you’ve got iron and rust stains on your clothes, it can be tricky to figure out how to remove them. You might have been fixing up a bike or car in the garage, or simply have brushed up against rusty metal railings or old furniture. Whatever the cause, you can get your clothes back in great condition by learning how to remove iron stain from clothes. We’ll show you how, with homemade or commercial rust removers followed by a blast from an effective laundry detergent and fabric conditioner.

3 steps to remove iron stain from clothes

There are three easy steps to follow to get rid of those red marks. Here’s how to remove iron stains:

  1. Treat the stain with a stain remover – Start by applying a commercial stain remover, or a homemade alternative, to the stain. You might need to repeat this process if the stain remains. Continue until the stain is gone or is as faint as possible.
  2. Rinse the stain by hand – The next step is to use clean water to clear the stain remover off the garment.
  3. Wash in the machine – The final part of the process is to place the garment on its own in the washing machine. Use laundry detergent and a fabric conditioner like Comfort, which will smooth and soften the fibres and help them retain their shine and colour.

Now all you need to decide is whether to use a store-bought stain remover or make your own gentle alternative at home. The next two points will help you choose the best method for you.

How to remove iron rust from clothes with a commercial stain remover

You can buy a rust stain remover to rid your clothes of those pesky red marks. If you choose this route to remove iron stain from clothes there are a few considerations to follow:

  • Check the care label on the affected clothing to be sure it’s safe to use the product on it
  • Remember to wear rubber gloves
  • Follow the instructions on the bottle and take any necessary precautions
  • Test on a small area first
  • Make sure you dab, rather than rub, the stain remover – rubbing can cause the metal in the iron rust to further damage the fabric

How to remove iron rust stains from clothes with homemade remedies

As commercial removers can be harsh, many prefer to go the homemade route. As with a store-bought remover, you’ll want to test the alternative remedy on an inconspicuous spot of clothing first, to be sure it doesn’t damage or bleach the fabric. Here’s how to remove iron rust stains from clothes using three DIY solutions:

  • Cream of tartar – Stir in six teaspoons of cream of tartar into a large pan of boiling water. Soak the clothing for an hour, then rinse the garment in clean water and leave it to dry. Caution: as the pan will be hot, be careful not to burn your fingers
  • Salt and lemon juice – First, sprinkle salt on the stained area. Then soak the stain with a generous amount of lemon juice. Leave the garment to dry in the sun. Once it is dry, rinse thoroughly with cold water, and then wash in the machine.    
  • Salt and white vinegar – Mix salt and white vinegar together to make a thick paste. Dab the stain gently with the paste, fully covering the stain. Leave it for 30 minutes, and then rinse under cold water and machine wash.    

Those stubborn red streaks won’t be bothering you any more now that you know how to remove iron stain from clothes.   

Top Tip


To remove iron stain from clothes without further damaging the garment, make sure you dab the stain with the remover, rather than rubbing it. Otherwise the metal in the rust could penetrate the fabric even more, and cause more damage.   

Key Steps


Remember these three easy steps to remove iron stain from clothes:

  • Apply a commercial or DIY rust stain remover, reapplying if necessary    
  • Rinse the stained area by hand
  • Machine wash with laundry detergent and fabric conditioner