How To Remove Iron Stains From Clothes
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How To Remove Iron Stains From Clothes

Iron Stain
Iron stains can happen to you on any day, and you need to know how to deal with them.

How to remove iron stains from clothes? You might feel panic when you notice iron stains on your freshly-washed clothes. They look like they will stay here forever, and no one can separate them from the fabric they’ve stained.

Luckily, I’ve discovered many tried-and-true ways to wipe out these reddish-brown marks from fabrics. More importantly, they’re simple to follow.

Besides, I’ve also included helpful tips and tricks which you can conveniently refer to achieve the best cleaning results.

If you feel disheartened just by watching your favorite items get stained, it’s time to remove it.

What Causes Rust Stains on Clothes?

If you constantly have to deal with iron stains on your clothes, it’s time to inspect your house and the laundry process to find the ultimate reason for it.

Rusty Iron Items

Have a look at anything made from iron around you, including door locks, antique tables, chairs, and even cars. Pay close attention to metal things in the most-visited areas in your house because there’s a high chance that they cause rust stains on what you wear.

If rust happens to your newly-washed items, it could be a sure sign that there’s a problem with your laundry.

Iron Bacteria In Water

If you notice reddish-brown spots on your clothes or rust stains on your sinks, your water might be the culprit because water that contains a high amount of iron can easily stain your garments due to the iron bacteria.

Another sign of the affected water is that it can taste bad and have an offensive odor.

Affected Water
The affected water with excessive amounts of iron can have a brown color.

Water Heaters

The next thing you need to examine is water heaters. It’s said that rust can develop in the water heater, slowly drift into the washing machine, and then stain your laundry. If this is your case, seek help from professional plumbing services.

Washing Machine And Dryer

Have a closer look at the washing machine and dryer drum, and see if there’s any rusty area inside them.

It mostly happens to wash machines and dryers which have steel drums with porcelain or enamel finish. This finish can be broken or chipped, so water or moisture comes into contact with the steel and causes it to rust.

Try to fix your drum as soon as possible, and you don’t have to deal with iron stains anymore.

Sure-Fire Ways To Combat Iron Stains On Your Favorite Garments

Most of the cleaning methods I’m going to present below are natural and straightforward. They’re prepared with ingredients that are low in cost and easy to find around your house.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a powerful cleaning solution that definitely has in your kitchen. The good news is that it can be one of the most suitable candidates to remove iron stains from your clothes.

Method 1

What I like most about vinegar is that it can eliminate tough stains, even set-in ones. The acetic acid in vinegar is good at removing rust and mild enough not to harm the fabric.(1)

What You’ll Need

  • White vinegar
  • An absorbent towel
  • A clean white rag


Step 1: Place your stained garments on an absorbent towel.

Step 2: Pour white vinegar directly into the impacted spot. Make sure it’s enough to cover the stain entirely.

Step 3: Start blotting the stain with a clean white rag. The reddish-brown color will gradually be transferred to the rag.

Step 4: Put your items under the sun to make the iron stain go away faster.

Step 5: Wash as usual.

Method 2

This method can be applied every time you wash white clothes. It surely helps whiten the whites.

What You’ll Need

  • White vinegar
  • A washing machine


Step 1: Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in the drum of the washing machine.

Step 2: Wash as usual.

White Vinegar
White vinegar is a number one choice when it comes to rust stains.


Citric Acid
Citric acid in lemons could fight against rusty stains.

Citric acid in lemons can form a soluble concoction with rust particles so it’s time to use some to lose these nasty iron marks on your clothes.

For some people who might not know, lemons are also great for lifting coffee stains on your garment items because of their natural bleaching effects. They’re simple, convenient, and economical cleaning ingredients.

Let’s find out how to use these citrus fruits properly below:

What You’ll Need

  • Lemons


Step 1: Cut the lemon in half. Rub it gently onto the stain.

Step 2: Saturate the stain to slowly loosen iron particles sticking to the surface of your fabrics.

Step 3: Bleach it out under the sun by laying your garment flat to ensure sunshine can reach every part of the fabric, especially the stain.

Step 4: Put your clothes in the washing machine when the mark fades or disappears.Wash as normal.

Find out how to use lemon juice to clean your fabric with iron stains.

Watch this video: Removing rust from clothing


You might know clearly that toothpaste can clean your teeth and bring you fresh breath every morning. But it also acts as a cleaning solution with a mild abrasive quality which can remove rust with ease. Always opt for white, non-gel products to get the expected results.

What You’ll Need

  • Toothpaste
  • A damp cloth


Step 1: Try squeezing some toothpaste into the iron stain and smear it all over the spot with your finger.

Step 2: Rub it into the fabric by using a damp cloth.

Step 3: Rinse thoroughly and toss it in the washing machine as usual.

White Toothpaste
Toothpaste can attack iron stains and wipe them out quickly.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is the next option you can use to say goodbye to iron spots on your clothes quickly, as well as eliminating many common clothing stains such as tea stains. Let’s follow my step-by-step guide below to send the stain away as soon as possible.

Method 1

Mild powdered laundry detergent has a mild abrasive property which can support the cleaning process.

What You’ll Need

  • Baking soda
  • A bucket
  • Cold water
  • Mild powdered laundry detergent


Step 1: Fill half of a bucket with cold water.

Step 2: Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to a bucket of cold water and place your items in the bucket. Let them sit for 20-25 minutes.

Step 3: Hand wash or machine wash with mild powdered laundry detergent.

Baking Soda
Baking soda can solve most stains on your fabrics.

Method 2

Using only baking soda this way can make sure iron marks on your clothes will go away soon. Let’s find out now.

What You’ll Need

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • An old toothbrush


Step 1: Create a paste of baking soda and water.

Step 2: Apply a thin layer of this paste all over the need-to-treat spot and let it stand for a while.

Step 3: After that, scrape off the paste with an old toothbrush or a steel wool.

Step 4: Repeat several times for stubborn stains.

Hydrogen Peroxide With Tartar Cream

Cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide can be used together in this method to get rid of iron stains, especially from your white and bright-colored items.

Method 1

Below is how to use 3% hydrogen peroxide and tartar cream to tackle iron stains on fabric. Scroll down to put in practice as soon as possible.

What You’ll Need

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Tartar cream or non-gel toothpaste
  • A clean, soft cloth


Step 1: Blend a bit of tartar cream or a teaspoon of non-gel toothpaste with 3% hydrogen peroxide into a paste.

Step 2: Smear it over the iron mark, then rub the mixture into the fabric using a clean, soft cloth.

Step 3: Rinse under running water to eradicate the paste and get the desired result.

Method 2

Do you find iron stains annoying? This solution can deliver beyond expected results for you.

What You’ll Need

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Tartar cream


Step 1: Combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar and a few drops of hydrogen peroxide.

Step 2: Apply this mixture on the stain. Let it work on the fabric for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Rinse thoroughly.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a versatile cleaning ingredient which can tackle rust easily. Surprisingly, the combination of it and aspirin can eradicate sweat buildup and smell from your garments. It’s said that you shouldn’t use cream of tartar for colored and elastic items due to its bleaching ability.

What You’ll Need

  • Tartar cream
  • An old tea kettle


Step 1: Put the tea kettle on heat, fill it with 2 liters of water, and add 6 teaspoons of cream of tartar. Stir well.

Step 2: Bring it to a boil, then soak your items into this hot mixture for about 1 hour.

Step 3: Rinse thoroughly and let it air dry.

Cream Of Tartar
Besides baking, cream of tartar is suitable for cleaning rust stains from your clothes.

Commercial Stain Removal Products

Feel free to use store-bought products to tackle iron stains for people who don’t have time to prepare a natural cleaning concoction.

If this is your case, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the best outcome.

Keep in mind that you should test it first on a small area of your shirt before applying a commercial stain removal product all over the stain.This way, you can avoid the risk of ruining your garment.

Moreover, wearing a good pair of rubber gloves is essential to protect your hands from chemicals from this product.

Below is a general step-by-step instruction you could refer to if you’re in a hurry.

What You’ll Need

  • A stain removal product of your choice


Step 1: Apply the cleaning solution onto the iron stain.

Step 2: Allow it to soak in 5 minutes (This can vary depending on the product).

Step 3: Rinse it with water until it’s completely clean and wash as usual.

Lemon Juice And Salt

Lemon And Salt
Lemon and salt can be an excellent home remedy you can use to remove rust stains.

Lemon juice and salt can be your lifesaver in this case. It’s best used for white and cream items.

However, it’s not an excellent cleaning method for colored clothes due to the fact that citric acid found in lemon juice acts as a natural bleaching agent. Therefore, it would be best if you do a fabric test for dark-colored items before full use.

What You’ll Need

  • Lemon juice or lime juice
  • Salt


Step 1: Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or lime juice.

Step 2: Dab this mixture into the stain and allow it to work for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Keepapplying more of the mixture to lift the stain until it disappears.

Step 4: You can hang your items dry under direct sunlight or rinse the stain with 3-4 teaspoons of undiluted vinegar with 1 cup of vinegar and wash as usual.

Find out how to remove rust stains with lemon juice and salt right now!

Watch this video: How to remove rust stains from clothes


Rhubarb is a natural home remedy that you can try if you encounter a large iron stain on your items. Moreover, it’s also ideal for colored clothes.

What You’ll Need

  • Rhubarb stalks
  • A pot
  • Water


Step 1: Prepare a large pot and add water to half of the pot.

Step 2: Toss several rhubarb stalks into the pot and bring them to a boil.

Step 3: Continue to cook for about 20 minutes, then take the rhubarb stalks out.

Step 4: Put your garments into the pot and soak for at least 10 minutes until there’s no sight of the stain. The soaking time depends on how tough the stain is. Don’t let your items stay too long to prevent them from changing color.

If it’s possible, pour rhubarb water directly on the stain and let it sit for a while.

Step 5: Let it cool and wash as usual.

Rhubarb Stalk
Rhubarb is known as a natural cleaning method for iron stains.

How to Remove Old And Set In Rust Stains

Vinegar and salt are a fantastic combination to remove iron stains, especially for old and set-in ones. Let’s learn how to remove these stubborn marks on your clothes.

What You’ll Need

  • An old towel
  • Table salt
  • Vinegar
  • A damp cloth


Step 1: Choose a place outside where there’s a lot of sunshine. Put your stained garments on an old towel with the rusty surface facing up.

Step 2: Pour a generous amount of vinegar onto the stain to saturate it.

Step 3: Create a mixture of white vinegar and table salt, and rub the mixture into the affected spot. Let it stand for about 30 minutes. For stubborn stains, allow it to sit longer.

Step 4: Blot the stain continuously to loosen the rust particles from your garments with a damp cloth. No rubbing or scrubbing is required.

Step 5: Leave it under the sun until the stain is removed and launder as normal.

Step 6: Repeat if needed.

How to Remove Rust Stains from Jacquas And Jeans

Although it’s not popular to use WD-40 as a cleaning method for iron stains on clothes, you can refer to it as a last resort for jacquas and jeans. It’s also my favorite products for getting rid of tree sap on my fabrics thanks to its powerful cleaning property.

Keep in mind that WD-40 is a petroleum-based rust-preventative solution that is familiar to most of you.(2) However, it can cause new stains on clothes. I highly recommend testing it in a small and hidden area of your garment before using it.

What You’ll Need

  • WD-40 Multi-Purpose


Step 1: Spray the stain with WD-40.

Step 2: Let it stand for about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Continue to treat the affected garment with a stain removal product or heavy-duty detergent.

Step 4: Wash as usual with the hottest water possible.

Wd 40
WD-40 can be excellent for jeans and jacquas.

How to Remove Iron Stains from For Cotton or Linen

Here’s a quick method to eliminate the annoying stains you have on your cotton and linen items using dish soap or laundry detergent, which might be readily available in your house.

What You’ll Need

  • Liquid dish soap or laundry detergent
  • Fabric-friendly rust removal product


Step 1: Squirt a few drops of liquid dish soap or liquid laundry detergent on the stain.

Step 2: Rinse the entire items under the running water and wash as usual.

Step 3: For remaining brown marks, treat them with a fabric-friendly rust removal product

Cotton Fabrics
Cotton fabrics are comfortable to wear and easy to wash and care for.

How To Remove Iron Stains On Silk And Wool

Delicate garments made from silk and wool need to be treated with care. Let’s find out below.


Restoring the original condition of your precious silk items with this simple cleaning method right now.

What You’ll Need

  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Warm water
  • White vinegar


Step 1: Wet the impacted area with lemon juice. For old and hard-to-treat marks, you can sprinkle the stained area with salt before applying lemon juice.

Step 2: Next, leave it outside under direct sunlight for 15-30 minutes or longer depending on how tough the stain is. Keep in mind that the more delicate the fabric is, the less time you should let the mixture stay.

Step 3: Rinse with warm water until the water becomes totally clean.

Step 4: Repeat Step 1, 2, 3 a few times to get stains out of items.

Step 5: Dab a bit of white vinegar onto the treated spot to make it shine again.

Silk Items
Silk is a nice and luxurious material which many women fall in love with.


Stained wool is quite challenging to cope with; however, you can still clean it with several steps below.

What You’ll Need

  • A clean cloth
  • Club soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Water
  • A bowl


Step 1: Soak a clean cloth with club soda and gently blot it to the stain.

Step 2: Apply 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of salt mixture onto the rusty marks and leave it there until it dries.

Step 3: Scrape off the dried paste and see if the stain is removed.

Step 4: If the stain persists, blend 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, ⅓ cup of vinegar, and ⅔ cup of water in a bowl. Stir well to create a lot of soap suds.

Step 5: Use a clean cloth to absorb soap suds and dab to the stain until it’s eliminated.

Step 6: Blot with a slightly damp cloth and air your items dry.

Wood Items
Wool needs special care to stay longer.

Additional Tips To Tackle Iron Stains Easily And Effectively

Learn these fantastic tips to double your cleaning power over iron stains. Believe me or not, they’re simple yet highly effective.

  • Reading the care label will be a must before you start cleaning any items because different fabrics require different cleaning and washing methods. Delicate clothes made from wool or silk should be sent to professional service unless you know a proper way to deal with them.
  • Be careful with powerful stain removal products. Test it in an inconspicuous place of your clothes to make sure it’s safe.
  • Another winning rule is that you treat the stains as soon as possible. Wetting it with water is a quick way to stop rust particles from going deeper into the fabric.
  • Bleach can set iron stains permanently on your garment. As you might not know, chlorine bleach can make the brown marks messier than before. In the same manner, dryers should not be used.
  • Don’t rub the stained spot too harshly because it can damage your fabric and make it fade.
  • Make sure you rinse the garment thoroughly before using the next cleaning solution to avoid unexpected chemical reactions.
  • You might need to repeat a few steps or a whole process several times before getting the expected result.


Keep scrolling to find an answer to the questions you might have in mind. Feel free to send me more if you want.

What's A Suitable Cleaning Method To Remove Rust From White Clothes?

You can check the methods with lemons, lemon juice, and sals or hydrogen peroxide. These are effective ways to restore your white clothes.

How to Eliminate Iron Stains from Colored Fabrics?

Rhubarb and vinegar are two natural cleaning solutions that are perfect for fighting against iron stains on your clothes. Let’s try one of them now.

Which Acid Is Used To Wipe Out Iron Stains From Your Garments?

It’s proven that oxalic acid is the most potent substance when it comes to removing iron stains from what you wear.

Is Coke Able To Remove Rust From Clothes?

It can eliminate rust from many household stuff; however it might be a little bit too powerful for fabrics in general so it would be helpful if you refer to another way to tackle iron stains on your items.

Can I Get Brown & Yellow Iron Stains Out Of Clothes?

Yes, you can. Just prepare a blend of water and white vinegar in a bucket and soak your items into it overnight. The following day you can wash them as usual.

Don’t Worry About Iron Stains

As for me, iron stains are not what I have every day, but I know once they happen, they can repeat themselves until you can fix the root causes.

Taking care of your household items, especially metal ones, can be a well-rounded solution. Moreover, regularly inspecting your washing machine, dryer, and warm heater should also be on your list.

For other reasons, once you get iron stains on your clothes, you can go over my above list to find the most satisfying solution to get rid of them easily.

Have you ever been there? What’s your solution? Share with me your thoughts about these stains. I’d like to have a conversation with you about this topic.

How To Remove Iron Stains From Clothes


[1] AZ Rust. 2021. Best Acid for Rust Removal | Which Acid Works Best Against Rust. [online]

[2] 2021. WD-40 – Wikipedia. [online]

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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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