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The last thing you want to Google or look up on search engines is how to remove rust from clothes. I mean, we usually associate rust with items, such as cutlery, doors, appliances, rooftops and other metallic items. Rarely do we expect to find rust on clothes and fabrics. Yet, the truth is that even clothes are highly prone to developing severe rust stains.

to Remove Rust from Clothes

However, just because your clothes have developed some rust stains does not mean that it is time to dispose them off. With a few, simple stain removal techniques, you can remove even the toughest rust stains on your clothes. In this article, we discuss what really causes rust stains on clothes, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to Remove Rust from Clothes. Read along!


What Causes Rust Stains on Clothes?

rusty steam

If you notice any rust stains on your clothes, it is important that you first determine the source of the rust. Only after knowing what causes the rust stains will you be able to prevent any more stains from damaging your clothes. In other words, the first step to eliminating rust from clothes is identifying the main causes of the rust stains.

Most of the rust stains on clothes come from contact with rusted locks, cars and other metallic furniture. However, some rust stains are found in freshly laundered clothes; and these are usually quite difficult to track. The three main causes of rust stains on fresh, clean clothes are:

  • Rusted water storage containers, pipes or heaters.
  • Water source that contains iron bacteria – The bacteria not only leads to discoloration of the laundry room fixtures, but also causes rust stains on laundry.
  • Older washing machines

For water sources that are contaminated with iron bacteria, treat and disinfect the water. Also, if the rust stains are caused by old washing machines, rusted water pipes or heaters, replace these with new and clean ones.


4 Tips on How to Remove Rust from Clothes

There are different ways of removing rust from clothes; chemical and natural ways. You may opt to buy a commercial rust remover from the store; these removers are effective and safe to use on almost every fabric. However, one major disadvantage about commercial stain removers is that they contain harsh chemicals and toxins which may post health risks to your family.

Therefore, it is always recommended that you opt for natural, home remedies for removing rust from clothes. Here are four simple tips on how you can remove rust from clothes:


1. White Vinegar

White vinegar is one of the best remedies for removing rust stains on clothes. In fact, it eliminates even the toughest and stubbornest stains.

  • White vinegar (See On Amazon)
  • Clean towel
  • Clean sponge (or white cloth)
  • Laundry detergent


The Process:

1. Lay the cloth with the rust stain on a clean towel. Then, pour a generous amount of white vinegar into the stain until the cloth is saturated.

2. Using a clean sponge, dry off the stain (the sponge should also absorb the red discoloration caused by rust). Place the cloth under the sun and leave it to dry for some minutes.

3. Using laundry detergent, wash the cloth in its recommended settings, then air dry the cloth. If the rust stain is still there even after air drying, repeat process 1-3 until it completely disappears.


2. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is ideal for cleaning larger rust stains, or those that quite difficult to clean separately. More so, it offers a “green” (or environment-friendly) solution for eliminating rust stains.



The Process:

1. Fill a large pot with clean water, until it is halfway full. Throw in the rhubarb stalks and boil the water. Allow the stalls to boil and cook for about 20 minutes.

2. Once cooked, remove the rhubarb stalks from the pot. Then, soak the stained cloth into the hot water. You should soak the cloth until the rust stain completely disappears. Then, remove it and wash it with your washing machine.


3. Salt and Lemon Juice

This removal technique is ideal for unbleached fabrics, such as linen, or white clothing. However, do not use this method if dealing with delicate fabrics, such as silk, wool, leather or rayon.


  • Lemon juice (Alternatively, you can use white vinegar)
  • Salt
  • White towel

Lemon Juice

The Process:

1. Sprinkle the rust stains with a generous amount of salt. Then, pour some lemon juice over the stain and leave it to sit for at least ten minutes.

2. Using a clean, white towel, wipe off the rust stain. Then, dry out the cloth naturally in the sun. It is recommended that you leave it to dry for up to 3 hours. Still, you can leave it to dry for longer until the stain disappears.

3. Once the stain has completely disappeared, rinse the cloth thoroughly in cold water. Alternatively, wash it in your washer and dryer.


4. Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar (or potassium bitartrate) is a byproduct of wine. This acidic salt has mild abrasive qualities that make it an ideal product for eliminating all rust stains. It is especially recommended for removing rust from jeans, as it does not fade this fabric.


  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp cream of tartar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • A small bowl

Cream of Tartar

The Process:

1. In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Pour some drops of hydrogen peroxide into the mixture to form a thick paste. Then, apply the paste onto the stained area and leave it to sit for about 30 minutes.

2. Rinse off the paste from the stained part with warm water. Then, wash and dry the cloth in the washing machine. If the rust stain is still visible even after drying, repeat process 1 and 2 until it completely disappears.



Rust stains not only cause discoloration of clothes, but could also lead to the permanent damage of clothes. Hence, to avoid this, you need to act on the rust stains as quickly as possible. With the above-suggested 4 Tips on How to Remove Rust from Clothes, you can eliminate all rust stains from your clothes and restore their original color!



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