How To Get Rust Stains Out Of Clothes
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How To Get Rust Stains Out Of Clothes

How to get rust stains out of clothes when your favorite t-shirt suddenly has rust stains from your bike? The jeans have a big stain on the back because you accidentally bumped them with rusty metal objects. What should you do with them?

Can those clothes be restored to their original state? Removing them from clothes is not as difficult as you often think. With just a few good tips and tricks, you will quickly say goodbye to them without any problems.

I know you’ve heard of some commercial rust stain removers, but check out some of these natural methods that might surprise you.

Rust Stains
Caption: Removing rust stains is not as difficult as you think with natural methods

Overview of Rust Stains

Rust stains are considered one of the most stubborn stains, and it is not easy to remove without knowing some tricks. Don’t worry; before “curing,” you must understand “disease” first.

Metal Surface
Rust stains usually appear on the metal surface, and your clothes can accidentally expose to them

What Is Rust?

Rust is red or orange coatings that form on the surface of iron – occurring when iron meets water and oxygen.(1)

What is Rust
Rust is formed from oxidation and comes in many varieties with different colors and properties

The types of rust commonly reported as oxides are FeO(OH).H2O (yellow rust), Fe2O3 (brown rust), Fe3O4 (black rust), and among them, Fe2O3.H2O is the most common colored rust.

When attached to clothes, this type of rust makes clothes look bad and cannot be easily removed by washing as usual.

How Do Your Clothes Get Rust Stains?

Rust stains are formed when iron in metal objects and oxygen react with water, creating an oxidation reaction. Rust stains can also come from the place where your clothes are cleaned: the washing machine. It could be because your water source contains iron bacteria.

In addition, rust stains can appear in water pipes or water heaters, bacteria in old iron pipes, and iron deposits accumulate after a long time. That is what causes your clothes, dishes, or even your bathroom to be discolored.

When objects around us such as bicycles, cars, bolts, baths, furniture, and metal objects are not adequately protected and are exposed to water, they create rust. Then, when you accidentally touch rusty things, rust stains are inevitable.

Clothes Get Rust Stains
Rust stains are present in the objects around you, even in your dryer

So, once you understand the nature of rust stains, you will not be surprised to learn that you can not remove rust stains with the usual washing steps. That said, what you need is a solution with special ingredients to break the bonds of iron oxide. Do not worry!

These rust removal solutions are entirely harmless and can easily be found in your own home. So, keep in mind the tips below, as they can help you effectively remove stains without too much effort.

12 Cheap Methods To Help You Remove Rust Stains Easily

Before starting the stain removal process, it is essential to check the care label on the fabric. Make sure you apply the correct method so as not to damage the fabric. If you’ve finished reviewing the label, find out and try the methods below to get rid of the stains as quickly as possible.

Checking Label
Checking label is a prerequisite before starting to apply the removal methods

Option 1: Using Lemon And Salt

Lemon is considered an excellent cleanser with the acidifying ability created by vitamin C or ascorbic acid. The mixture then reacts strongly with the rust (iron oxide) to soften and dissolve the residue.

In addition, the combination of lemon and salt will also increase the cleaning ability, as the salt acts as a mild abrasive. The lemon salt mixture is considered as one of the non-toxic, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly cleaners.

This paste is suitable for both washable and non-washable clothes.

Acid in Lemon
Acid in lemon combined with salt creates a perfect mixture to remove stains


  • Lemon
  • Regular table salt
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Mixing bowl

Instructions For Washable Fabric

Step 1: Mix lemon and salt with a ratio of 2:1 in a bowl, two parts lemon, 1 part salt, and make a paste.

Step 2: Apply the solution directly to the stains.

Step 3: Let it sit for about 30 minutes. To avoid the acid in the lemon from damaging the fabric, you should not leave it on the fabric for too long.

Step 4: Mix 3-4 tsp undiluted vinegar and a cup of water to wash away the lemon and salt mixture and dissolve the solution on the rust stains.

Step 5: Wash the fabric as usual with detergent liquid and warm water. Powder detergent can be used for hand-washing. Before placing it in the dryer, recheck the stains. Repeat the process in case the stains remain.

Instructions For Non-Washable Fabric

Step 1: Mix the lemon and salt to form a thick paste. To ensure it’s safe on the fabric, you can pretest it on a hard-to-see corner of the fabric.

Step 2: Cover the mixture on the stained area and place the fabric in direct sunlight.

Step 3: Dampen the stains regularly with lemon juice until they are eliminated.

Step 4: Lift off residual salt with a soft bristle brush

Option 2: Using White Vinegar And Salt

Vinegar is one of the most accessible ingredients in households. A liquid obtained from acetic fermentation forming the acetic acid in vinegar – is an excellent chemical that can effectively remove rust stains.

Vinegar can remove rust stains because it is a weak acid; it will react to iron acetate. The results are most evident when applying vinegar to the stains, which causes the iron oxides to dissolve and crumble.

When combined with salt, this mixture will create a stronger reaction, making it easier to remove stains from fabrics.

Using White Vinegar
Vinegar has always been appreciated for removing stains, especially rust stains


  • White vinegar
  • Regular table salt
  • Clean cloth


Step 1: Lay the fabric with the stained area directly under the sun

Step 2: Cover the stains with vinegar and add a pinch of salt. Gently rub them with your hands. Alternatively, you can pre-mix a mixture of salt and white vinegar and place it on the stains.

Step 3: Let the mixture rest on the fabric for about 15 – 30 minutes or longer, depending on different situations.

Step 5: Use a damp white towel to blot the stained area without rubbing or scrubbing the paste.

Step 6: Place the cloth out in the sun until all the stains are no longer visible.

Step 7: Wash the fabric as usual. Repeat the process or select another option if necessary.

Option 3: Using Lemon Juice, Toothpaste, Baking Soda, Dish Soap And Detergent Powder

If you think rust is a stubborn stain, this method will help you say goodbye to that thought. No matter how stubborn the rust stains are, it will give up with just this perfect combination.

Perfect Combination
No matter how stubborn the rust, this combination makes it surrender


  • Lemon juice
  • Toothpaste
  • Soft bristle toothbrush
  • Baking soda
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dish soap
  • Hot water


Step 1: The acid of the lemon will help you remove some of the iron oxides from the rust. First, squeeze some lemon juice right on the stains’ surface and let the lemon soak into the fabric.

Step 2: Squeeze a moderate amount of toothpaste, use the brush to spread the toothpaste on the stains. After that, continue to rub the mixture of lemon and toothpaste.

Step 3: Sprinkle 1 tsp baking soda to cover them. Add a little detergent, dish soap, and then blend the mixture. Continue using the brush to scrub the stains until they fade.

Step 4: Prepare a bowl of hot water, soak the clothes directly in the water for about 10 minutes.

Step 6: After soaking, continue rubbing to eradicate the stains. Then, wash the fabric as usual once they have been removed. Only put it in the dryer when the fabric is clean.

This easy home remedy will help you say goodbye to stubborn rust stains.

Watch this video: How to Remove Rust Stains From Clothes

Option 4: Using Hydrogen Peroxide, Cream Of Tartar, And Baking Soda (White Clothing Only)

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the perfect stain removers, able to remove protein and vegetable-based stains. It can help clean rust stains on fabrics.

For hydrogen peroxide to work to its full potential, you must combine it with other ingredients. Therefore, you need to use hydrogen peroxide with a cream of tartar and baking soda.

Then, these three substances combined will help you create a mixture that helps remove the perfect rust stains.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide
When removing rust stains, hydrogen peroxide of tartar cannot work alone and has to be combined with others


  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Cream of tartar
  • Baking soda


Step 1: Take some hydrogen mixed with cream of tartar and baking soda. Mix a teaspoon of each baking soda and tartar cream. Then add drops of hydrogen and make a thick paste.

Step 2: Rub the mixture directly on the stained surface with your fingers

Step 3: Let the mixture sit on the fabric for about 30 minutes.

Step 4: Rinse the rust spot with warm water. Do not leave the mixture on the fabric for too long as it may damage the fibers.

Step 5: Check if the stains are still there. If so, repeat the process above.

Step 6: Wash the fabric as usual.

Option 5: Using Baking Soda And Detergent

Baking soda is considered a non-toxic cleaner because it is a mild alkaline agent that helps you remove stains easily. For rust stains, these abrasives will remove the iron oxides present in the rust.

When applying baking soda and water mixture to the rust spot, the rust will dissolve in a concentrated alkaline solution. That’s why I recommend baking soda in the process of removing stubborn stains like rust.

Using Baking Soda and Detergent
Baking soda easily defeats iron oxides in rust stains


● Baking soda
● Tablespoon
● A large basin
● Soft bristle brush
● Laundry detergent


Step 1: Remove excess rust stains with a soft bristle brush.

Step 2: Rinse the stains under cold water; use the strong water flow to remove the excess easily.

Step 3: Prepare a large basin, add 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda and mix with water to create a paste.

Step 4: Apply a paste directly on them, let it sit for at least 30 minutes or longer if the stains are dark and quite large.

Step 5: Then, use laundry detergent to cover the stained area. Alternatively, you can also put a mixture of baking soda and laundry detergent on top of the stains.

Step 6: Wash the fabric with the solution on the stains in the usual way. Repeat the process if the stains remain.

With a bit of baking soda, rust stains are no longer remaining.

Watch this video: How to Remove Rust Stains from Fabrics - Ariel

Option 6: Using Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb is a vegetable plant that is cooked and used for food. What makes rhubarb on the list of rust removers is thanks to oxalic acid. This acid can also be found in spinach – effective in attacking stains, especially rust stains.

Therefore, if you are looking for an all-natural stain removal product, you can choose the rhubarb option. With a few simple steps and a few stalks of rhubarb, you can create an effective stain remover.

Using Rhubarb Juice
Rhubarb contains oxalic acid, which can fight stubborn rust


  • Rhubarb
  • A pot
  • A large basin


Step 1: Use a large pot to boil some water. After you see the water has boiled, you can drop a few stalks of rhubarb into the pot. Boil for about 20-30 minutes.

Step 2: After boiling the rhubarb, remove the rhubarb stalks from the pot, let it cool at room temperature.

Step 3: Then, pour the mixture into a large basin and start soaking the fabric.

Step 4: Let the fabric sit for a few hours until they are removed. You can soak for a longer time, depending on the severity of the stains. During the soaking process, check to see if they remain on the fabric.

However, you should not soak the fabric with rhubarb for too long as it can cause discoloration to your clothes. You can choose to pour the rhubarb over the fabric without soaking, then let it rest for a while

Step 5: If the stains are gone, remove the fabric from the water basin and rinse carefully before washing.

Step 6: Wash as usual.

Option 7: Using Liquid Toilet Cleaner

Use liquid toilet cleaner to remove rust stains from fabric? That’s right; you didn’t get it wrong. Most toilet cleaning solutions can powerfully remove stains, even rust stains. You can use this solution together with laundry detergent to increase the effect thoroughly.

Make sure the liquid toilet cleaner is not a permanent color so as not to affect the quality of the fabric.

Liquid Toilet Cleaner
Liquid toilet cleaner is not only the perfect cleaner for toilets; you can also use it to remove stains from fabrics


  • Liquid toilet cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Soft bristle brush


Step 1: Use the toilet cleaning solution directly on the surface of the stains.

Step 2: Let the solution soak on the fabric for about a minute.

Step 3: After the toilet cleaning solution has penetrated the fabric, add a little laundry detergent.

Step 4: Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub gently. Add a little water to dilute the solution. Continue rubbing until the dirt is gone.

Step 5: Rinse as usual.

You will understand how to remove rust stains with this liquid.

Watch this video: How to remove rust stains from clothes

Option 8: Using Cream Of Tartar

Besides using a cream of tartar in combination with hydrogen and baking soda, it can still work alone. You can not apply this method to remove rust stains for colored fabrics and elastic clothes.

Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar still promotes its stain removal ability even when working independently


  • Water
  • Cream of tartar


Step 1: Prepare a pot of water. Boil 2 liters of water with six teaspoons of cream of tartar

Step 2: After boiling, turn off the stove. Directly soak the fabric in hot liquid.

Step 3: Let the solution soak on the fabric for an hour or two.

Step 4: Check if the stains are still there. If so, repeat the process above.

Step 5: Wash as usual.

Option 9: Using Lemon

If you are looking for a rust stain remover that is effective and quick for colored clothes, this method is for you. All you need is lemon juice.

Perfectly Removes Rust Stains
Inexpensive and non-toxic natural bleach that perfectly removes rust stains


● Lemon juice (a cup)
● Laundry detergent


Step 1: First, proceed to wash the stained fabric with detergent as usual. Put the fabric in the washing machine.

Step 2: Pour a cup of lemon juice into the washing machine

Step 3: Wash as usual. Check for stains before drying the fabric in the dryer.

Option 10: Using White Vinegar

White vinegar can still work well alone without combining it with other ingredients. Dabbing stains with vinegar is an effective option for you.

Sponge and Vinegar
With just a sponge and a little vinegar, you can easily remove rust stains


  • White vinegar
  • Clean cloth/sponge


Step 1: First, use a towel to place on the stained area. Pour a small amount of white vinegar directly onto the rust spot until it’s saturated. Rub the solution evenly around the stains with a clean cloth or a sponge.

Step 2: Place the fabric under direct sunlight until the stains have faded

Step 3: Wash as usual. If the stains haven’t gone yet, repeat the cleaning process. After they are removed completely, I recommend you let your clothes air dry.

Option 11: Using Club Soda, White Vinegar, And Dish Soap

Rust stains on cotton or polyester fabrics are easy to handle, but rust stains on wool fabrics require more attention. For fabrics made from natural fibers, this method is most suitable.

Dish Soap
Do not forget dish soap in the process of removing stains, especially rust stains


  • Club soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • White vinegar
  • Clean cloth
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Water


Step 1: Use a white cloth to dab club soda directly on the stain.

Step 2: Mix a mixture of lemon juice and salt to form a paste and apply it to the rust

Step 3: Let the mixture rest until it dries; use a vacuum to suck up the dried paste.

Step 4: Check the stains to see if they are still on the fabric or not; if it is still, you can use a mixture of white vinegar and dishwashing liquid to clean the ground to stains.

Mix the mixture with the ratio of ⅓ cups of vinegar with two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and a cup of water

Step 5: Dip a clean cloth into the solution and place it on the stains. Dot until they have faded.

Step 6: After removing the stains, blot dry and let them dry naturally

Option 12: Using Commercial Stain Remover

Rust stains are sometimes very stubborn; therefore, they need a specialized solution. Then commercial stain removers are full of multipurpose, detergent-free formulations that can help you remove rust stains effectively.

Removers can dissolve rust without any scrubbing or mixing with other cleaning products.

Wash Your Clothes
Do not forget to wash your clothes after treating all stains with stain removers


  • Commercial Stain Remover for clothes


Step 1: It’s best to test the product on a hidden corner of the fabric to ensure it won’t harm the fabric. Spread the cloth on a flat surface, apply the product directly to the stained surface. Use just enough remover to cover the entire stains.

Step 2: Leave the stain remover on the fabric for 15 – 20 minutes to take effect. To be more sure, you can carefully read the instructions on the packaging of each product.

Step 3: Rinse the fabric with clean and cold water. Rinse the material at least twice to remove the stain removers.

Step 4: Wash as usual.

Valuable Tips To Remove Rust Stains You Should’n Skip

Here are some great tips that will help you be more successful in removing rust stains. Do not miss it!

  • Always check the label: Some rust stain removal methods contain ingredients that are not suitable for specific fabrics. Therefore, assure me that you have thoroughly checked the clothing labels. Do not use harsh products on vulnerable fabrics.
  • Do a spot test: To be more sure, you can test the methods first before actually applying them. One tip is to try it first in a hard-to-see corner of the fabric, waiting to see its reaction. If everything is fine, feel free to apply that method.
  • Sunshine is needed: When applying the lemon and salt method, the sun will be a plus for this method. When exposed to the sunlight, lemon will give a powerful bleaching effect, helping to remove stubborn rust stains quickly.
  • Natural remedies are highly recommended: Natural methods are better for your fabric. Let’s apply natural methods first. You can use salted lemon or rhubarb to remove stains before applying chemicals.
  • Prevention is better than cure: To limit the rust stains on your clothes, preventing the rusting process with the items around you is better. At that time, you should have anti-rust methods such as using stainless steel products, oiling, applying a layer of dry paint, and storing items properly (limiting moisture).

How To Prevent Rust?

To limit the rust stains on your clothes, preventing the rusting process with the items around you is better. At that time, you should have anti-rust methods to prevent rust from happening.
Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent rust at home:

Rust Prevention
Rust prevention is always easier than rust stains removal
  • Check the washing machine: The washing machine – the device that helps you clean your clothes, sometimes creates rust stains. Rust stains are also in the drum and need to be replaced. You can then contact a service specialist to deal with these issues.
  • Check the water source: The cause of rust sometimes not only originates from the machine but can also be from the water source. The inside of the water pipe can cause rusty water. At that time, you have no choice but to change the water pipes.
  • Check your dryer: Sometimes, rust stains also appear from the dryer. Check the dryer drum for signs of rust. Damp air from clothing can cause rust to form. Apply the method of coating bare metal with repair paint or replace it with a new one as needed.
  • Check the water heater: If you’re using an older water heater, check it out carefully. That could be the cause of stained clothes. Call a plumber to clear this up.
  • Regular maintenance: For metal objects, you should spend time checking and regular cleaning to prevent rust. Scrape the rust when it appears; use warm water, soap, or metal conditioner to scrub it.


You probably have some questions about rust stain removal. So check this out; maybe you’ll need them.

Are Rust Stains Permanent?

Rust stains will stay on clothes forever if you wash them incorrectly. Without treating them before washing, using chlorine bleach, or putting dirty clothes in the dryer are the most common causes that make rust stains permanent.

Can I Use OxiClean For Rust Stain?

Although OxiClean is regarded as one of the perfect stain removers, it is ineffective when used on rust stains. The main ingredient of OxiClean is Oxygen – an essential element that creates rust. Therefore, using OxiClean for rust stains will make things worse.

Will Coca-Cola Get Rid Of Rust From Fabric?

Coca-Cola is an excellent stain remover because of its citric acid. Coca-Cola can remove blood stains, grease, and even rust stains. However, you should not use coke to remove rust stains on clothes because it can be too aggressive.

Will Chlorine Bleach Rust From Clothes?

Chlorine Bleach is not recommended for use on rust stains on clothes. The chlorine in bleach can cause permanent stains on fabrics. Therefore, do not use chlorine bleach during the stain removal process.

What Can I Do For Removing Old Rust Stains?

For old rust stains – which have been on clothes for a long time, you can still remove them quickly. Like removing fresh stains, you can use a combination of lemon and salt or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, tartar cream, and baking soda.

Apply stain remover solutions directly to the fabric, let them rest for about 30 minutes, rinse it thoroughly, and wash as usual.

Why Is My Dryer Leaving Rust Stains?

There are many reasons why your dryer is rusty. It could be rusted air ducts, folded washers with rust marks, overloading, rusty tubs, etc.

Therefore, when you find rust stains on your clothes after using the dryer, check your dryer and treat it as necessary.

Will WD-40 Remove Rust Stains From Clothes?

WD-40 is often used to remove rust stains, especially on jeans or jacquard fabrics. However, to ensure the safety of the fabric, you should test the product first in a hidden corner of the fabric.

Patience Is The Key To Success

Removing stubborn stains from fabrics requires your patience. Try to follow one of the instructions step-by-step, avoiding jumping. The more impatient you are, the less successful the results will be.

If you don’t give the solution enough time to soak into the fabric, you will face a greater risk of failure. Therefore, patience is a critical factor that you should keep in mind as you begin the process of stain removal.

Hopefully, the above article has provided you with valuable tips for removing rust in addition to commercial stain removal products. So what do you think about my suggestion? Leave a comment, and I will reply to you right away.

How To Get Rust Stains Out Of Clothes

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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