How to Remove Rust Stains from Your Clothes Effectively

A rust stain can be reduced to a temporary mark on your clothing item if you act swiftly. Read on to discover how to remove rust stains from clothes.


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As soon as you spot a rust stain on your clothes, you must treat it with an effective stain remover. Before using any stain remover, test it on an inconspicuous area first to make sure that the fabric does not get damaged or discoloured. 

It is important to get to the source of the problem. Rust stains on your clothes usually come from rusted metal furniture, cars or bikes. However, on some occasions, it can also be because of iron bacteria or rusted water pipes and water storage containers. You must track the source of the stains so that you can prevent your clothes from such stains in the future. Fix the water pipes or containers if they are the cause of the rust stains on your clothes

How to Remove Rust Stains from Clothes?

Firstly, read the wash care label instructions on your clothing item before you do anything. Delicate garments made from silk or wool with stubborn rust stains may have to be given away for professional cleaning. Scrubbing or vigorous twisting can damage the fabric forever. However, you can treat the rust stains on your regular clothes at home. 

It is important to treat rust stains on your clothes as soon as you spot them. If left untreated, the stain can spread further and might get deeper into the fabric, making the stain removal process difficult. As soon as you notice the stain, dampen it. It will help prevent the stain from taking hold on the fabric. Here’s how to get your clothes looking fresh and clean. 

Ingredients to Keep Handy: 

a) Lemon Juice

b) Salt

c) Vinegar

d) Laundry Detergent 


Method 1: How to Remove Rust Stains from Washable Fabric

Washable fabric is a fabric type which you can wash at home like you normally do. These fabrics include clothes, linen and so on.

  1. Step 1: Treat the Stain

    Mix 2 tsp. of lemon juice and 1 tsp. of salt to form a paste. Cover the stained area of the fabric with the paste and leave it for 30 minutes. The paste will lift the stain off the fabric. Lemon juice is acidic in nature, so should not be left for long. 

  2. Step 2: Rinse the Stain

    Rinse off the lemon and salt paste with a solution of 1 cup water mixed with 3-4 tsp. of undiluted vinegar, which will help dissolve the rust stain even further. Vinegar might have an unpleasant smell, but a good wash will make your clothes smell daisy fresh again.

  3. Step 3: Wash With Detergent

    Finally, it is time to properly wash the clothes with an effective laundry detergent. If you prefer washing your clothes in a washing machine, you can use Surf Excel Matic Liquid, which is specially formulated for washing machines. Simply pour the detergent into your washing machine and wash your clothes in warm water. If you prefer hand-washing your garments, you can use a detergent powder such as Surf Excel Easy Wash. It is easily available in the market.  Check the pack to understand correct usage instructions. After the wash is done, make sure that the stain is completely removed before drying. If necessary, repeat steps 1-3 from this guide.

Removing rust stains from your clothes does not get easier than this. Note that if it is simply ‘rust dust’ that has settled on your clothing on accidental brushing up against a rusty surface, you can wash your clothing like you normally do. A regular wash will help you get rid of the rust stains effectively. 

Method 2: How to Remove Rust Stains from Non-Washable Fabric

Non-washable fabric is a type of fabric which can not be washed at home using your regular wash methods. These include leather, dry-clean only fabrics, sofa fabric, the fabric covering of a swing and so on.

  1. Step 1: Treat the Stain

    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.

  2. Step 2: Apply It

    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.

  3. Step 3: Dampen It

    Take 2-3 tsp. of lemon juice and pour over it to dampen the stain.

  4. Step 4: Brush It Off

    Use a soft-bristled brush to clear the residue. Repeat step 3 once again if needed.

If the rust stain is still not lifting up, we suggest you to take it to a professional dry cleaner.

The next time you find rust stains on your clothes, you know how to treat it!

Key Step

Do not put out your clothing item for drying until the stain has been removed completely. The heat from the dryer will set the stain more firmly and make it harder to get rid of. 

Originally published