Rust stains on clothes are among the most difficult stains to remove.
That said, all is not lost if you notice rust spots on your clothes. Regardless of the source of the iron oxide clothes stain, in most cases it is fixable.
You'll need to patient to remove tough stains like these, but your efforts will be rewarded with clothes you can actually wear again.
Thee are products designed to get rid of rust stains on clothes that are available at grocery stores and online that are effective and safe for most fabrics.
The main ingredient in these rust stain removers is an acid - usually oxalic or hydrofluoric acid - that loosens the iron rom the fabric so it can be removed in the wash water.These products, such as Whink Rust Stain Remover, are aggressive and can be toxic to the skin, so it is important to follow usage instructions carefully and keep them away from the kids.
For that reason, here are a few less-toxic alternatives you can use to remove rust stains on clothes at home.
Start by brushing off the excess rust stain on the fabric surface. Create a pretreating solution by combining 3 tablespoons of baking soda per gallon of cold water, and add a capful of laundry detergent. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
Without rinsing the detergent and baking soda solution, place the garment in the washing machine, and wash on the usual cycle.
Choose the hottest wash temperature that is safe for the fabric.
You can also use lemon juice with a spoonful or salt or baking soda to remove rust spots on clothes.
Create the mix and apply to the rust stain, and allow to sit for up to two hours (in the sun, if possible.) Then rinse the mixture from the garment and wash as usual.
Boil a solution of 10 teaspoons of cream of tartar to one gallon of water in a pot free of any rust (using enough water to submerge the garment).
Place the stained item in the boiling water and soak for 10 to 20 minutes. If some rust remains, empty the water and repeat the treatment. For really tough rust stains, follow this treatment with an overnight soak of the garment in laundry detergent and hot water.
Once the stain has lifted, wash the garment in the hottest water safe for the fabric. And be sure the stain is gone before tossing it into the dryer, as any remaining stain will set in the dryer cycle.
Vinegar - a staple in most kitchens - is another effect product for removing rust stains. Apply white vinegar directly to the stained area, and cover it with a layer of salt. Leave it to dry in the sun.
When dry, rinse to remove the vinegar and salt and check to ensure the stain is gone. Then wash the garment as usual, choosing the hottest temperature that is safe for the fabric.