Although it can be difficult to remove rust stains from clothing or fabric, some simple options are to use a commercial rust remover product or natural products such as salt, vinegar and lemon. To try to remove the rust stain, first wash the item with detergent; bleach should not be used on the stain because this sets it in, states Good Housekeeping. Similarly, drying the item in a dryer also sets the rust stain.
Using a commercial rust removal product can effectively clean white or colorfast clothing or fabric, but these products contain toxic ingredients, such as oxalic or hydrofluoric acid. For this reason, these products must be used with caution, states the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet.
Instead of using these products, another option is to try the following option with natural ingredients for stain removal:
- Place the stained clothing on a protected work surface
- Apply the natural ingredients to lighten the stain spots
Lay the clothing item on an old towel on top of a table. Because the ingredients used for stain removal contain natural acid, the towel is useful for protecting the work surface.
Use either vinegar or lemon juice to moisten the rust stain and then pour some salt over it. When it is saturated, it should be blotted with a white towel. Other colors of towels may lose their color due to the high acid content that is present in lemon juice. Or you can place the clothing item out in the sun to dry. Once dried, the item can be washed with detergent.