How to Get Iron Stains out of Clothes

how to get iron stains out of clothes
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There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re just finishing up ironing your shirt to wear for the day, and a big, rusty iron stain appears.

Let’s just hope that you’re not one of those people who iron their clothes as you need them, as this might leave you caught short on the day.

Iron stains are a massive annoyance, but luckily, removing these iron stains from your clothes is easier than you may think.

Today, we teach you how to get iron stains out of clothes using either store-bought stain removers or homemade, all-natural remedies.

How to Get Iron Stains out of Clothes

When your iron begins to corrode, it causes rust to form, which can leave unsightly, brown stains on your clothes.

It’s important to remember that these rust stains contain metal.

As such, you should be careful not to rub the stain too vigorously at any point of stain removal; otherwise, you may cause further damage to your clothes.

There are a few simple steps you can take in order to remove rust stains from your clothes without rubbing and scrubbing.

Before you start, though, you’ll need to check what type of material you’re working with.

If your clothing item specifies “dry clean only”, you shouldn’t attempt to remove the stain yourself; instead, leave it to the professionals at the dry cleaners.

If the item isn’t made of special or delicate materials, then you should be able to remove the stain at home yourself.

You can use a store-bought stain remover, or you can save your cash and simply use lemon juice or white vinegar.

Vinegar takes a little longer than lemon juice to lift the rust stains, so if you’re using vinegar, you should bear this in mind and leave it to soak for longer.

Step 1: Treat the Stain

The first thing you need to do is to apply the stain remover to the fabric stain, whether it be a store-bought commercial variety or home-made.

Pour some of the stain remover, vinegar, or squeeze some lemons into a bowl in which you can dip the stained clothing.

If you’re using lemons, you could even apply them directly to the stained area by cutting them in half and gently rubbing them over the affected area.

Make sure that the entire area is saturated and leave it be for a few minutes.

If possible, leave your stained item in direct sunlight for this time, but don’t leave it long enough to let the solution dry.

Step 2: Blot Stain

Take a clean white towel, cloth, or some thick, white kitchen paper and blot the stain dry.

This blotting motion should lift the bits of rust from the fabric.

As we said previously, attempting to rub the rust off at this stage may cause further damage to the threads of your clothes.

Step 3: Check and Repeat if Necessary

Take a close look at the stained area, and if it still looks pretty bad, repeat the first and second steps.

Step 4: Rinse

Once you’re happy that the bulk of the stain has been lifted, you should rinse your garment by hand to remove the stain remover solution.

Again, be careful not to rub the stained area in case small pieces of rust remain.

Step 5: Wash and Dry

The final stage of the stain removal process simply involves washing the item in a regular wash cycle.

Dry your item as you normally would, double-checking that the stain is completely gone.

Step 6: Clean Your Iron

Before you attempt to use your iron again, it could probably do with a good clean to ensure it doesn’t stain any more of your clothes.

To clean your iron, you just need a good steel-wool pad.

Scour the surface of your iron with the steel wool to remove any excess surface rust.

Wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth to remove any leftover rust residue.

Store-Bought Stain Removal Tips

If you’ve chosen to tackle the stain using store-bought products, then we have a little advice on using the product safely.

  • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before use.
  • Check the care label of your stained item to ensure that it’s safe for using this particular product on it.
  • If you’re unsure as to whether your clothing will react to the chemicals in the stain remover, start by testing a small area first.
  • Follow the instructions carefully and always wear rubber gloves when touching chemical products like these.

Natural, Home-Made Stain Removal Tips

Store-bought stain removers can be harsh, so if you prefer to stick with natural remedies, check out three other natural, home-made alternatives below.

Even though these remedies are all-natural, you may still wish to test them on a small area first to ensure they don’t bleach or damage your fabric.

1. Tartar Sauce

Take a large pot of boiling water and stir through six teaspoons of cream of tartar sauce.

Leave your stained item to soak in the pot for around an hour.

Carefully remove the item from the hot water and rinse it thoroughly with fresh water.

Finally, run your garment through a standard wash cycle to fully remove any tartar residue and then leave it to dry.

2. Salt and Lemons

Sprinkle the affected area generously with salt, followed by soaking it in lemon juice.

Leave the item in the sun to completely dry and then rinse it with fresh water to remove the salt and juice.

Add the item to your next wash cycle and dry it as normal.

3. Salt and Vinegar

Make a thick paste out of white vinegar and salt and dab the affected area gently with the mixture.

Make sure the stain is fully covered with the paste and leave for around 30 minutes to get to work, lifting the stain.

Rinse your garment under cold water and then machine-wash and dry as normal.


Those are easy and quick tricks on how to get iron stains out of clothes, leaving them like new.

Remember: Whether you choose to use a store-bought stain remover or try one of our homemade remedies, it’s always safer to test it out on a small area first.

The most important thing is to make sure you don’t rub the affected area too hard, as the tiny metal particles in the rust stain may damage the fabric further.

Following these simple stain removal steps will show you that iron stains are easier to remove than most people would think.

If you're looking for ways to get your ironing done even faster, perhaps what you need is the best steam iron for clothes.

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