How to Remove Rust Stains from Colored Clothes

Rust stains are a common problem for homeowners. They can occur on any color of clothing and carpet, but they’re especially tough to remove from colored fabrics. 

The good news is that with the proper treatment and care, you can save your favorite clothes from the trash.

Here are some methods for removing rust stains from colored clothes:

How to Remove Rust Stains from Colored Clothes

Use Vinegar

Vinegar will lift the rust from your clothing and neutralize any remaining color. It also helps disinfect the fabric and kill any bacteria that might be lingering after the stain has been removed.

  1. Pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. 
  2. Mix well, then soak the stained area in the solution for 30 minutes. 
  3. After 30 minutes, remove the garment from the bowl and rinse it thoroughly in cold water. 
  4. Dry immediately by hand or in the machine according to label instructions.

Use WD 40

WD-40 is often used to remove rust stains from metal surfaces. It’s also useful for removing rust stains from colored clothes because it loosens the iron oxide particles and makes them easier to brush off or wash away. 

Spray WD-40 onto a clean rag or paper towel and rub it into the stained area until all traces of oil are gone. Allow the stain remover to sit on your clothing for at least 30 minutes before laundering as usual.

Heavy Duty Detergent

Use a heavy-duty detergent that contains enzymes or oxygen bleach because these ingredients help remove stains and prevent them from developing later on in the washing process. 

Enzymes are proteins that break down organic matter such as fats, proteins, and cellulose fibers. 

Oxygen bleach (available under various names including sodium perborate, hydrogen peroxide, or sodium percarbonate) can also be used as an alternative to regular chlorine bleach because it breaks down dirt particles without damaging fabrics.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another popular method for removing rust stains is using hydrogen peroxide to break down the rust particles before washing them out with detergent and water. 

To use this technique, dilute a solution of 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and 1 part water into a spray bottle.

Spray it directly on the rust spot until it’s saturated before moving on to the next step in cleaning your clothes appropriately by hand or machine depending on what you’re doing at home with them when they get stained like this.

Vinegar and Salt

If you have a little bit of time, vinegar and salt can be an effective way to remove rust stains from colored clothes. The combination of vinegar and salt creates an exothermic reaction, which means that it gives off heat as it reacts with the stain. This helps to break down the stain so that it can be removed with soap and water.

To use this method:

  1. Dip a clean rag into some vinegar and cover the stain with it. 
  2. Let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  3. Rinse out the rag and let it drip dry for a few hours. 
  4. Then, sprinkle some salt over the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes more.
  5. Wash your garment in warm water with laundry detergent, adding more detergent if needed to remove any remaining residue from the rust stain.

Salt and Lemon Juice

When your clothes get stained by rust, it’s important to act quickly before the stain has time to set in. If you’re not able to wash the stain immediately, sprinkle salt on it and rub it gently with lemon juice. 

This will help loosen the stain so that you can wash it out easily without damaging your clothing.

Commercial Rust Remover for Clothes

WD‑40 Specialist Rust Remover

WD‑40 Specialist Rust Remover is a spray-on, rinse-off formula that works on nearly any surface. Spray it on the stain, let it sit for 30 seconds, and then wash as usual. 

This product is safe to use on washable fabrics, but it’s not recommended for silk or leather.

Whink Rust Stain Remover

If you want something more heavy-duty that can tackle even the toughest of stains, try Whink Rust Stain Remover. This gel formula penetrates deep into the fabric to remove rust stains quickly and easily. 

It may take several applications to eliminate the stain, but each application will help lighten it significantly while also protecting your clothing from future discoloration.


You can use Oxiclean to remove rust stains from colored clothes because it contains enzymes that break down protein-based stains such as blood and urine. 

To use this product effectively, mix a teaspoon of Oxiclean with two cups of warm water in a spray bottle and spray directly onto the stained area using an up-and-down motion until all of the stains have been lifted off. 

Then launder your garment according to its washing instructions and hang dry it outside in direct sunlight.

Removing Rust from Clothes FAQs

What Will Remove Rust Stains?

Vinegar and salt. If you’re looking for a more natural way to clean your clothes, you can use vinegar and salt to remove stains. Vinegar is a mild acid that will break down the rust stain. 

Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1/2 cup of salt and soak the stained clothing in it for 30 minutes. Then rinse the clothing in cool water and launder as usual.

Does Baking Soda Remove Rust Stains from Clothes? 

Yes, but only in pure form. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can help remove rust stains if you apply it directly to the area and rub it until the stain disappears. 

However, baking soda should not be used in conjunction with other cleaning products because it will react with them and cause discoloration.

How Does Vinegar Remove Rust Stains from Clothes?

Vinegar acts as both a solvent and a bleach when used on rust stains on colored clothing. 

The acidity in the vinegar helps to break down the iron oxide crystals that make up rust, while its bleaching properties work to lighten any leftover discoloration left by the iron oxide crystals after they have been removed by the solvent action of the vinegar.

Does Vinegar Remove Rust?

Vinegar is a great cleaning product that can be used on many surfaces, including clothes. It has a mild acidity that helps to dissolve stains and dirt, making it an ideal option for removing rust stains from clothing. The vinegar will not only remove the stains but also leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean!

Can Toothpaste Get Rid of Rust?

Toothpaste contains ingredients like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, which are effective at removing rust stains from clothing. 

The best way to use toothpaste is to rub it onto the stain with a dry cloth before washing as usual. This should help to remove the stain without damaging your clothes too much.

Will WD 40 Remove Rust Stains from Clothes?

WD 40 is an oil-based product that can be used for many different purposes around the home, including getting rid of rust stains. 

Simply spray some WD 40 onto a paper towel or dishcloth, then rub the stained area until it disappears completely, this should only take a few minutes. 

Can Lemon Juice Remove Rust?

Lemon juice can be used to remove rust stains from clothing, but the lemon juice must be freshly squeezed and diluted with water. 

Mix equal parts lemon juice and water, and soak the stained area of your garment in this solution for about 20 minutes. 

Rinse out the stain with cold water, then wash as usual in warm water using your regular detergent or laundry soap. Do not use bleach or fabric softener when laundering clothes with rust stains on them.

Does Ketchup Remove Rust?

Ketchup can be used as a homemade remedy for removing rust stains from clothing. However, ketchup will only remove small amounts of rust from fabric; it’s not an effective stain remover for large areas of fabric affected by rust stains. 

To use ketchup to remove a small amount of rust from your garment, apply some ketchup directly onto the affected area of your garment, then blot gently with a clean cloth until the stain disappears completely. Rinse away any remaining residue before washing.


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