Skip to content
Drop in on Dr. Laundry

Dr Laundry Blog

How do I remove a rust stain from any garment?

By Dr. Laundry January 4, 2016

Q: How do I remove a rust stain from any garment?   A: It’s difficult to recommend a treatment that is appropriate for a single type of stain on any and all fabrics since different textile fibers, from cotton to wool to polyester to silk, respond differently to different wash chemistries and washing techniques.  Rust stains are particularly limited in what will effectively take them out.  Most importantly, it’s critical to note that rust stains can NOT be removed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach (or any chlorine bleach for that matter).  You need to use a rust remover product instead, which can be found at hardware stores.  These products are very strong acids—that’s why they are effective—just be sure to read and follow the package directions, including wearing gloves.  The biggest issue with treating machine washable fabrics with a rust remover is whether or not they are colorfast.  You can always test a spot on a hidden part of the stained items if you want to be sure the rust remover is safe to use.  After you have treated the items, be sure to rinse them thoroughly and let them air dry.  I hope this is helpful—please let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks for writing.   –Dr. Laundry