Skip to content
Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Iron Scorchmarks: Your Questions

By Dr. Laundry October 21, 2008

Q: My daughter’s roommate used her iron but didn’t clean it after she finished. My daughter went to iron her cotton top and the iron got black marks all over it. Do you know how to get this out? We have tried everything!

A: I’m not sure what originally caused the “black marks” on the iron. This might be useful info as this material has been re-melted and is now transferred/stuck to the cotton top.

Usually for regular iron scorchmarks, the recommendation is to rewash in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and liquid bleach like Clorox® Regular-Bleach1. While a single wash may not be enough, usually a couple of these treatments are needed.

If this is a transfer of melted material, then a slightly different tack should be considered. Here you will need to re-warm from the back of the scorched item and transfer it onto another item, like an old towel. Some people say that a damp towel with peroxide is good to use since it helps warm from both sides and provides the bleaching power to help clean up any residual color.

Simply dampen the towel and add a diluted peroxide solution (1:1 should be OK). Place in contact with the scorched portion, and apply the warming iron. As the scorch material warms it will transfer to the towel. Keep changing the area so a clean portion of the towel is available — this prevents re-deposition of the material back on the original item. You may need more than one application to completely remove.