How to get rust stains out of clothes

Do you have any rust stains on your clothes? Do you know how to get them out? Rust is a mineral that’s found in the Earth’s crust. When wet, it forms rust stains on fabric. The good news is that getting rid of rust stains is easy. Here are a few tips to get the job done quickly and effectively.

Rust stains are frustrating, but with a little effort, they can be eradicated. Before starting, be sure to identify the type of rust stain and gather the necessary supplies. Then follow these simple instructions to get the stain out of your clothes.

get rust stains out of clothes

Rust stains can occur when metal objects come into contact with moisture and oxygen, causing a chemical reaction that leaves behind a reddish-brown residue. If left untreated, these stains can become stubborn and difficult to remove. However, with the right techniques, you can eliminate rust stains and salvage your clothes.

What causes rust stains?

Rust stains are caused by iron oxide, which forms when iron or steel comes into contact with water and oxygen. This process, called oxidation, causes the iron to corrode and produce a reddish-brown substance known as rust.

Rust stains can occur on clothing when it comes into contact with rusting metal, such as tools, pipes, or outdoor furniture. They can also be caused by water that is contaminated with iron or other minerals, which can leave rust stains on clothing and other fabrics when they dry.

In some cases, rust stains can also be caused by the use of laundry detergents that contain iron or other minerals. These detergents can leave rust stains on clothing if they come into contact with moisture during the wash cycle.

To prevent rust stains from forming on clothing, it’s important to keep clothing away from rusting metal objects and to use a laundry detergent that does not contain iron or other minerals that can leave rust stains.

Method 1: Vinegar and Salt

Vinegar and salt are two common household ingredients that can work wonders in removing rust stains from clothes. Here’s how you can use them effectively:

  1. Soak a cloth in distilled white vinegar and dab it gently on the stain. Avoid rubbing vigorously as it may spread the stain further.
  2. Sprinkle salt directly on the rust stain, ensuring it covers the affected area completely.
  3. Pour lemon juice on the salt to create a reaction that aids in rust removal.
  4. Lay the garment flat to dry, preferably under the sun, as sunlight can speed up the stain removal process.
  5. Check the stain after the garment has dried. If it persists, repeat the process until the stain disappears.

Method 2: Cream of Tartar, Baking Soda, and Hydrogen Peroxide

The combination of cream of tartar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide can effectively remove rust stains from clothes. Follow these steps:

  1. Create a paste by mixing one teaspoon of cream of tartar, one teaspoon of baking soda, and a few drops of hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Spot-test the paste on a hidden area of the fabric to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration.
  3. Apply the paste directly to the rust stain and let it sit for approximately 30 minutes.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the fabric with water to remove the paste and loosened rust particles.
  5. Air dry the garment and check for any remaining traces of the stain. If necessary, repeat the process until the stain is completely gone.

Method 3: Commercial Rust Remover

If the DIY methods mentioned above don’t yield satisfactory results, you can turn to a commercial rust remover. One such product is Whink Rust Stain Remover, which is suitable for use on both colorfast fabrics and household items. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the best results.

It is essential to test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the stain. This precaution will help you ensure that the solution doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration. Moreover, avoid using chlorine bleach on rust stains, as it can make the stain permanent.

Precautions and Tips for Rust Stain Removal

Here are some additional precautions and tips to keep in mind while removing rust stains from clothes:

  • Act promptly and treat the stain as soon as possible for better chances of complete removal.
  • Read and follow the instructions provided on the cleaning product’s packaging to ensure safe and effective usage.
  • Use protective gloves when handling rust removers or any cleaning solutions to protect your skin.
  • When applying any solution, blot the stain gently rather than rubbing it vigorously to prevent spreading.
  • For delicate or valuable clothing items, consider seeking professional dry cleaning services to avoid any potential damage.


Rust stains on clothes can be stubborn, but with the right techniques and a little patience, you can effectively remove them. The methods outlined in this article, whether using vinegar and salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide, or commercial rust removers, provide effective solutions for tackling rust stains on various types of fabrics. Remember to test any cleaning solution on a small area first and always follow the instructions to ensure optimal results.

By following these methods and taking the necessary precautions, you can bid farewell to rust stains and restore your clothes to their original condition.


Q1: Can I use these methods on colored clothes?

Yes, the methods mentioned in this article can be used on colorfast fabrics. However, it’s always recommended to spot-test the cleaning solution on a hidden area of the fabric before treating the entire stain.

Q2: Are there any homemade remedies for rust stain removal?

Yes, besides the methods mentioned in this article, you can also try using lemon juice, baking soda paste, or a mixture of vinegar and cream of tartar as homemade remedies for rust stain removal.

Q3: Can rust stains be removed from delicate fabrics?

Removing rust stains from delicate fabrics can be challenging. It’s advisable to consult a professional dry cleaner who specializes in handling delicate clothing items to minimize the risk of damage.

Q4: Is it necessary to air dry the garment after applying the rust stain removal solutions?

Air drying the garment is recommended after applying rust stain removal solutions to ensure that the stain has been effectively removed. Additionally, it allows you to check for any remaining traces of the stain before proceeding with further treatment, if required.

Q5: How can I prevent rust stains on clothes in the first place?

To prevent rust stains on clothes, avoid leaving wet metal objects in contact with fabrics for an extended period. Wipe off any moisture or residue promptly and store metal items in dry conditions to minimize the chances of rusting.

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Camilo Kawas is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in the field of commercial cleaning, with a specific focus on clothes, carpet cleaning and floor care. With a profound understanding of the importance of selecting the right products for effective stain removal from clothes, Camilo has established himself as a trusted authority in the industry.