Burrs Begone: How to Get Burrs Out of Clothing and Skin

How to Get Burrs Out of Clothing and Skin

Spending time outdoors can be an enjoyable and rejuvenating experience, but not until pesky burrs get attached to clothes or cause skin irritation. These tiny, prickly seeds can easily cling to clothing and skin, causing frustration and discomfort. Whether you’ve returned from a nature hike or a day at the park, removing burrs promptly is essential to ensure your clothes stay pristine and prevent any skin irritation.

In this article, we’ll explore effective methods on how to get burrs out of clothing and skin safely and efficiently. From simple household items to smart techniques, you’ll learn to tackle this common outdoor annoyance and keep your outdoor adventures pleasant and burr-free. Say goodbye to those clingy burrs, and embrace the freedom of exploring the great outdoors without worrying about unwanted hitchhikers. 

Understanding Burrs: What Are They and How Do They Affect Us?

Burrs are small, prickly seeds or seedpods found on various plants and can significantly impact outdoor experiences. These tiny, nature-designed hitchhikers have evolved as a means of seed dispersal, attaching themselves to clothing, animal fur, or even human skin to travel and colonize new areas.

How Burrs Work:

Burrs are equipped with tiny hooks, spines, or barbs to latch onto surfaces. When they come into contact with clothing or skin, these hook-like structures entangle with fabric fibers or hair, making burrs adhere to their host. This natural attachment mechanism ensures that burrs can hitch rides on animals or people, allowing them to disperse far beyond their original location.

Impact on Outdoor Activities:

For outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and nature lovers, burrs can be annoying during excursions. They tend to be most prevalent in overgrown fields, wooded areas, and other natural environments. When burrs attach to clothing, they can cause fabric snags, pilling, or even lead to tears if not promptly removed. The discomfort they cause can take away from the joy of outdoor experiences.

Skin Irritation and Allergic Reactions:

Moreover, burrs can cause skin irritation when they come into direct contact with our skin. The sharp edges of the burrs can create small openings in the skin, leading to mild abrasions or potential allergic reactions in some individuals. In more severe cases, burrs may cause redness, itching, or rashes, requiring proper care and removal to prevent further discomfort.

How to Get Burrs Out of Clothing?

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1. Using Duct Tape

Duct tape is one of the easiest ways to remove burrs from clothes. Simply press the sticky side of the tape onto the burr and gently peel it off. The sticky surface of the tape will pull the burr away from the fabric. This method works well for larger burrs that stick to your clothes. Repeat the process until all the burrs have been removed. 

2. Using a Comb

If the burrs are deeply embedded in the fabric, you can use a comb to remove them. Hold the fabric firmly and gently comb through the affected area in the opposite direction of the burr. This will help loosen or dislodge the burrs, making it easier to remove them. Be careful not to damage the fabric while combing.

3. Using Tweezers

If the burrs are small and tightly attached to your clothes, tweezers can effectively remove them. This method is effective for small burrs that haven’t adhered firmly to the fabric. Gently grip the base of the burr with the tweezers and pull it out in a steady motion. Take your time and remove as many burrs as possible to prevent further irritation or damage to the fabric. Take care not to pull too forcefully and damage the clothing.

4. Soaking the Clothes

For a more significant number of burrs or stubborn ones that are difficult to remove, soaking the affected clothes in warm soapy water can help. The water will make the burrs swell and lose their grip on the fabric, making it easier to remove them. After soaking, use any of the abovementioned methods to remove the burrs.

5. Using a Burr Removal Tool

If you frequently encounter burrs on your clothes, investing in a burr removal tool can be a worthwhile option. These tools are designed specifically to remove burrs without damaging the fabric. Simply glide the tool over the affected area, and it will catch and remove the burrs effectively.

6. Washing the Clothes in a Washing Machine

In some instances, washing clothes in a washing machine can help remove burrs. However, this method is only suitable for sturdy fabrics and not delicate ones. Place the clothes in the machine and add a small amount of detergent. Run the wash cycle as usual and check if the burrs have been removed. If not, try other methods mentioned earlier.

Top 5 Best Home Remedies to Remove Burrs from Clothes

remove sticky burrs

1. Vegetable Oil or Cooking Oil

Vegetable or cooking oil can effectively remove burrs from clothes due to its lubricating properties. The oil helps to loosen the grip of the burrs on the fabric, making it easier to dislodge them without causing damage to the clothing. 

To use this remedy, apply a small amount of vegetable oil directly onto the burrs or the area where they are attached. Gently work the oil into the fabric, massaging it around the burrs. This will help break the adhesive bond between the burrs and the fabric, allowing them to slide off more easily. Once the burrs are loosened, use your fingers or a soft brush to lift them away from the clothing gently. Finally, wash the garment with mild soap and water to remove residual oil.

2. Vinegar

Vinegar is another natural remedy that can effectively remove burrs from clothes. Its acidic properties help to dissolve the sticky substances that allow burrs to cling to fabrics. To use vinegar, soak a clean cloth or cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it directly to the affected area. 

Allow the vinegar to sit for a few minutes to break down the burrs’ adhesive properties. Then, gently rub the cloth or cotton ball over the burrs to dislodge them from the fabric. Rinse the clothing with water and wash it with mild detergent to remove the lingering vinegar smell.

3. Fabric Softener

Fabric softener can be a helpful remedy to remove burrs from clothes, as it softens the fibers and reduces friction between the fabric and the burrs. To use this method, dilute fabric softener with water according to the product’s instructions. 

Apply the diluted fabric softener to the burrs or the affected clothing area. Let it sit for a few minutes to penetrate the fabric and loosen the burrs. Next, gently use your fingers or a soft brush to dislodge the burrs from the fabric. Rinse the garment thoroughly with water and wash it as usual.

4. Adhesive Tape or Lint Roller

Adhesive tape or a lint roller can quickly and conveniently remove burrs from clothes, especially for small or isolated burrs. Simply press the adhesive side of the tape or the lint roller onto the burrs and then peel it off. 

The sticky surface of the tape or lint roller will catch and lift the burrs from the fabric. Repeat the process as needed to remove all the burrs from the clothing. This method works well for delicate fabrics or when dealing with small, stubborn burrs that are challenging to remove by hand.

5. Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is an excellent natural abrasive that can help dislodge burrs from clothes without causing damage to the fabric. To use baking soda, create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water to form a thick consistency. Apply the paste directly to the burrs or the affected clothing area.

Gently rub the paste into the fabric using your fingers or a soft brush, working it around the burrs. The abrasive nature of the baking soda will help break down the burrs’ attachment to the fabric, making them easier to remove. Afterward, rinse the garment with water to remove any residue and wash it as usual.

It’s important to note that you must be gentle and patient when using any home remedy to remove burrs from clothes. Avoid forcefully pulling or tugging at the burrs, as this can cause damage to the fabric or push the burrs deeper into the clothing fibers. 

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How to Avoid Burrs on Your Clothes In the Future?

Wearing Protective Clothing

If you frequently encounter burrs, consider wearing protective clothing that covers the areas most susceptible to burr attachment. Long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes can help minimize the contact between burrs and your clothes.

Inspecting Clothing Before Wearing

Before putting on your clothes, inspect them for any burrs. Check the cuffs, collars, and other areas where burrs are likely to attach. If you spot any burrs, remove them using the methods mentioned earlier before wearing the clothes.

Avoiding Areas with Burrs

If possible, avoid areas known to have a high concentration of burrs. Stay away from overgrown fields, wooded areas, or places where burrs are commonly found. Avoiding these areas can minimize the chances of burrs attaching to your clothes.

Regularly Cleaning Clothing

After spending time in areas with burrs, make it a habit to thoroughly clean your clothing. Shake off any visible burrs and check for hidden ones. Brush or comb the fabric to dislodge any remaining burrs. Use a lint roller to remove small burrs clinging to the fabric if needed.

Using Bur-resistant Sprays

Consider using bur-resistant sprays or fabric treatments specifically designed to repel burrs. These products create a protective barrier on your clothing, making it less attractive to burrs and other clingy debris.

Creating a Bur Removal Kit

Prepare a small bur removal kit to carry with you during outdoor activities. Include tweezers, a small brush or comb, and adhesive lint rollers. Having these tools readily available can help you quickly remove burrs and prevent them from causing further damage.

Educating Yourself and Others

Familiarize yourself with the types of burrs commonly found in your area and the seasons when they are most prevalent. By understanding burrs and their habitats, you can plan outdoor activities accordingly and educate others to take preventive measures.

Incorporating these practical strategies into your outdoor routine can significantly reduce the hassle of dealing with burrs on your clothes. Being proactive and mindful of your clothing choices and surroundings will allow you to enjoy your time outdoors without the annoyance of pesky burrs.

How to Remove Skin Irritation Caused by Burrs?

Cleaning the Affected Area

Clean the affected area with mild soap and water if you experience skin irritation after contact with burrs. Gently wash the area to remove any dirt or debris that may exacerbate the irritation. Pat the skin dry with a clean towel.

Applying a Soothing Lotion

Apply a soothing lotion or cream to the irritated skin to relieve and reduce inflammation. Look for products that contain ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or oatmeal, known for their calming properties. Avoid scratching or picking at irritated skin, which can worsen the irritation.

Using Home Remedies

Several home remedies can help alleviate skin irritation caused by burrs. Applying a paste made of baking soda and water, or a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, can provide relief. These remedies have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and swelling.

Seeking Medical Advice

If the skin irritation caused by burrs persists or becomes severe, it is essential to seek medical advice. A healthcare professional can assess the extent of the irritation and provide appropriate treatment recommendations. They may prescribe topical ointments or oral medications to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.

Avoiding Further Contact

Avoid contact with burrs or similar irritants to prevent further irritation until the skin has fully healed. Wear protective clothing to shield the affected areas when venturing outdoors in areas with burrs.

Using Cold Compresses

Applying a cold compress to irritated skin can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief. Use a clean cloth soaked in cold water or a cold gel pack wrapped in a thin towel. Avoid applying ice directly to the skin to prevent frostbite.

Maintaining Proper Hygiene

Keep the affected area clean and dry to promote healing. Avoid tight-fitting clothing or materials that may rub against the irritated skin. Opt for loose and breathable fabrics to allow air circulation.

Monitoring for Allergic Reactions

See immediate medical attention if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as severe swelling, difficulty breathing, or hives. Allergic reactions to burrs or other irritants can be severe and require prompt medical intervention.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I get burrs out of my clothes?

A: You can try several methods to remove burrs from your clothes. One method is to use duct tape. Simply place a piece of duct tape over the burrs and press down firmly. Then, carefully peel off the tape, taking the burrs with it. Another method is to use a comb. Gently run the teeth of the comb through the fabric, starting from the edge of the burrs and working your way inwards.

Q: What is the best way to remove burrs from clothing?

A: The best way to remove burrs from clothing is to use a combination of methods. Start by using a comb to loosen the burrs from the fabric. Then, use tweezers to pluck the burrs out one by one carefully. If the burrs are particularly stubborn, you can try soaking the clothes in warm, soapy water for a few minutes before attempting to remove them.

Q: Can I wash burrs out of my clothes?

A: Yes, you can wash burrs out of your clothes. Before washing, it may be helpful to remove as many burrs as possible using a comb or tweezers. Then, add the clothes to the washing machine and wash them normally. The agitation from the washing machine should help to dislodge any remaining burrs.

Q: Is there a burr removal tool I can use?

A: Yes, there are specialized burr removal tools available. These tools are designed to safely and effectively remove burrs from clothing and other fabrics. They typically have small, pointed tips that allow you to lift the burrs away from the fabric without causing damage.

Q: What should I do if burrs get on my skin?

A: If burrs get on your skin, removing them as soon as possible is important to prevent further irritation. One method is to use a pair of tweezers to carefully grasp the burr and pull it out in its embedded direction. Alternatively, you can use duct tape to press against the burr and pull it off, similar to removing burrs from clothing.

Q: How can I make burrs less sticky?

A: To make burrs less sticky, gently rub them with a small amount of oil or lotion. This can help to loosen their grip on the fabric or skin, making them easier to remove. You can also try freezing the affected area for a few minutes, as cold temperatures can sometimes cause the burrs to become less sticky.

Q: What is the easiest way to get burrs out of clothing?

A: The easiest way to get burrs out of clothing is to use a comb or duct tape. Simply run the comb through the fabric, starting from the edge of the burrs and working your way inwards. If you use duct tape, press it firmly against the burrs and then peel it off, taking the burrs with it.

Q: How can I prevent burrs from getting on my clothes?

A: While it’s difficult to completely prevent burrs from getting on your clothes, you can take a few steps to minimize the risk. Avoid walking through areas with lots of burr-producing plants, and if you do come into contact with burrs, try to brush them off before they have a chance to attach themselves to your clothes. You can also consider wearing burr-resistant clothing made from materials that are less likely to attract and hold onto burrs.

Q: What should I do if the burrs are still stuck after trying these methods?

A: If the burrs are still stuck after trying these methods, you may need to seek professional help. A dry cleaner or tailor may have specialized tools or techniques for removing stubborn burrs without ruining the fabric of your clothes.


In conclusion, dealing with burrs on clothing and skin doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. By understanding the nature of these tenacious seeds and learning effective removal techniques, we can say “burrs begone” and enjoy our outdoor adventures without the hassle.

Simple household items like vegetable oil, vinegar, or fabric softener can effectively remove burrs. At the same time, adhesive tapes and lint rollers are convenient options for quick burr removal. For skin irritation caused by burrs, proper cleaning, soothing lotions, and home remedies like baking soda paste can provide relief.

By following these steps and taking proper care of the irritated skin, you can effectively manage and alleviate skin irritation caused by burrs. Remember that prevention is key, so be cautious when venturing into areas with burrs and take preventive measures to protect your skin. If the irritation persists or worsens, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

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