Rust Stains

By Tasha Zander

This month we are going to tackle a very tricky stain, but it is one that you may come into contact more often than you would think: rust. Not typically a stain you might find on your child’s clothes, it might be found on your clothes after working out in the garage or cleaning up the summer patio furniture. Rust is not a stain that you combat using traditional methods. Detergent or typical stain removers are not going to be very effective, and do not use chlorine bleach! This can make the stain permanent. As always, do not put the article of clothing in the dryer as this could set the stain and make it impossible to remove.

Gently brush off any solid particles that are sitting on the surface of your item of the clothing. Try not to rub the stain as this will push the stain farther into the fibers and make it that much harder to remove. The first method of removal that I would recommend is using an off the shelf rust stain remover. You can find one of these in your local hardware store. Apply to the stain and let it sit for five minutes. Then launder as usual. Check for the stain before placing your clothing item in the dryer; if the stain is still present, either repeat with the rust stain remover or use another method described in this article.

A more non-traditional way to attack a rust stain would be to put some lemon juice on the stain and then sprinkle salt on it. Allow it to dry flat out in the sun. If you’re concerned about bleaching, test the fabric on the inside seam or inconspicuous spot. With white garments, there should not be an issue of bleaching. Rinse the stain with cold water, but do not rub the stain, this could be detrimental to the fabric. Repeat if all of the stain was not removed.

Rust is a very difficult stain to remove, so the suggestions in this article are not a guarantee. Once you are happy with the level of stain removal, launder your article of clothing as usual. Check the location of the stain before you place the item in the dryer, as the heat will set the stain.

Good luck – and happy stain fighting!