Ultimate Guide: Removing Old Rust Stains From Clothes

Old rust stains on clothes can be challenging to remove. They can ruin your favorite outfit or cause you to toss out a garment. However, with a few tricks and a little elbow grease, you can easily get rid of those stains and save your clothing.

Why Do Rust Stains Occur?

Rust stains occur when water or moisture comes into contact with metal and iron particles. The oxidation process causes the metal to rust, leaving behind a brown-red stain. When left untreated, rust stains can continue to spread and damage the fabric’s fibers.

Effective Methods for Removing Rust Stains

There are several ways to remove old rust stains from clothes. The most efficient method will depend on the type of fabric and the intensity of the stain. Here are some of the most effective methods:

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are excellent natural cleaning agents and can help remove old rust stains from clothing. Start by mixing two parts baking soda and one part water in a bowl to form a paste. Apply the paste directly to the rust stain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse the paste off with cold water. Next, soak the garment in a bowl of white vinegar for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and let the garment air dry.

Lemon Juice and Salt

Lemon juice and salt work effectively to remove rust stains from clothes. Begin by mixing lemon juice and salt together in a bowl to create a paste. Apply the paste to the rust stain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse the garment with cold water and repeat the process if necessary. Once the stain is removed, wash the garment as usual.

Commercial Rust Remover

Commercial rust removers are specially formulated to remove tough rust stains. They are available in most supermarkets and cleaning supply stores. Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully and ensure you choose a product that’s suitable for the fabric you’re treating. Always spot-test the product on a small area before using it on the entire garment.

Borax Powder

Borax powder is another excellent option for removing rust stains from clothes. Mix one cup of borax powder with two cups of warm water to create a paste. Apply the paste directly to the rust stain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wash the garment as usual, and the stain should be removed.

Prevent Rust Stains

Prevention is always better than cure, and the same applies to rust stains. Here are some useful tips to help prevent rust stains from forming:

  • Store metal objects in a different area from your clothing.
  • Avoid leaving metal objects on wet surfaces or fabrics.
  • Check clothing for any metal objects, including zips and buttons, before putting them in the washing machine.
  • Don’t use bleach on rust stains as it can make the stain worse and damage the fabric.
  • Avoid drying clothing with a rust stain in a dryer as the heat can set the stain. Instead, hang the garment outside to dry.


Removing old rust stains from clothes requires patience and the right technique. With the methods discussed in this article, you can remove rust stains from clothing successfully. Remember to always spot-test any cleaning product before using it on the entire garment and to follow the instructions carefully. And finally, to avoid rust stains, take extra care when handling metal objects and store them away from your clothing.

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