Removing Rust Stains from Cotton

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated December 13, 2010)

Removing rust stains from cotton can often be a difficult task for many people. One of the reasons for this is actually really simple in that cotton, while a fairly durable material, can be a difficult one to clean sometimes. Add to this the fact that rust seems to never truly go away (at least when it is on fabric) and you can easily see how difficult removing these kinds of stains can be at first glance. However, removing rust stains from cotton isn't that difficult if you use one of these methods.

Use a little caution before you use any of these methods though. Some of them can quite easily discolor cotton fabric if you are not careful. Always test out the method on a scrap piece of cotton, or in an inconspicuous location prior to actually implementing. If there is any discoloration then you know not to use that particular method.

  • Chemicals can help. Many higher end camera shops carry some chemicals that you can purchase to develop your own photographs, or if you are creative, use to help remove rust stains from cotton. You can use one of two chemicals to help remove iron (rust) stains from cotton. These two chemicals are called sodium thiosulfate, and potassium thiosulfate. Simply add a teaspoon full of the chemical to a glass of water, and stir until it has dissolved. Soak the cotton fabric in the solution for several minutes, and the rust will slowly fade away. Rinse the fabric clean in water.
  • Make a paste. Many department stores carry a cleaning product that is called Iron Out, which you can use to help remove rust stains from cotton. This cleaning product usually comes in a powder form, so you will need to make a paste out of it. Apply the paste to the stained area, and allow it to dry out. Gently scrub and rinse the paste away, and you should notice that the stain is dissolved as well.
  • CLR will work. CLR Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover) is a product that is surprisingly gentle and effective at removing things like rust stains. Simply soak the stained cotton fabric in some CLR for a few minutes, and then remove. Once you have removed the stained fabric from the CLR wash it as you normally would.
  • For white cotton only. Use a little bit of Dawn, or Plain Palmolive dish detergent, CLR and warm water to wash the rust stains away. On the average you will only need to use six cups of warm water, one shot glass of detergent, and one shot glass of CLR. Be sure that you are wearing some rubber gloves, and begin hand washing the stains away. The rubber gloves will help protect your hands from the CLR, and allow you to get a better grip on the material while you are washing it. After you have rinsed the material until you only see clear water, soak it in a solution that is 50% warm water and 50% hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. Rinse well after that time has passed. Now, wash the material as you normally would in the laundry. Dry the cotton outside if you are able too. If you use this method on any cotton fabric that has colors, be aware that those colors will fade.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Giving Your Yard a Makeover

It is not just people who can use a makeover every once in a while. Giving your yard a makeover may seem like a huge task, ...

Discover More

Preventing Dry Rot

A rather common problem that faces many homes is that of dry rot. This insidious natural process can easily reduce the beauty ...

Discover More

How to take Care of Your Aquarium

If you have an aquarium, then you know it is more than a simple home for your pet fish. An aquarium is also an investment and ...

Discover More

Keep Your Hardwood Floors Like New Bona's hardwood floor cleaner is the #1 choice of professionals. The no-residue formula is specially designed to be safe for floors, families, and the environment. Check out Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Refill today!

More Cleaning Tips

Finding the Best Laundry Detergent

Finding the right laundry detergent is important for your machine and your clothes but picking the right one can seem ...

Discover More

Folding and Storing Bed Sheets

Folding and storing bed sheets may sound like a rather simple project, but it can be surprisingly tricky. Considering how ...

Discover More

Washing Colors

It happens to all of us. One sneaky red sock gets into the light colors, and before you know it, your whole laundry load is ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven less than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.