Rust stains on clothes are among the most difficult stains to remove.
That said, all is not lost if you notice rust stains on clothes after washing them.
You'll need to be patient with your stain removal methods - meaning you may have to treat a rust stain several times before you see results.
There are several very effective laundry products specifically designed to remove rust stains on clothes.
The main ingredient in these rust stain removers is usually an acid - oxalic or hydrofluoric - that loosens the iron from the fabric so it can be removed and washed away in the rinse 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.
A homemade stain remover of laundry detergent and baking soda is very effective on removing rust stains.
Start by brushing off any excess rust on the fabric's surface.
Mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda into a gallon of cold water, then add a capful of laundry detergent to it and mix all together.
Apply the solution directly onto the rust stain. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Without rinsing the detergent solution, place the stained garment in the washing machine, and wash as usual in the warmest laundry temperature safe for the fabric.
Mix together one tablespoon lemon juice and a spoonful of salt or baking soda to create a stain removal paste. Apply the mix directly on the rust stain.
Allow it to sit and do its stain-busting work for 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 large enough to hold the rust-stained 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 rust stain has lifted, wash the garment in the hottest water safe for the fabric.
Vinegar - a staple in most kitchens - is another effective rust stain remover. 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.