How to get iron stains out of fabric

Want to know how to remove iron stains from clothes? This guide will tell you all you need to get rid of those pesky, red marks caused by rust or iron.

Updated November 1, 2018

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How to get iron stains out of fabric

Whether you’re working on a car or you’ve accidentally brushed against some old metal furniture, it’s easy to get rust stains on your clothes. Unfortunately, they’re not so easy to remove from clothes.

With the help of some homemade remedies and a good washing detergent, like OMO, you may just be able to salvage your clothing from those red streaks.

Here’s your guide on how to remove rust stains from clothes.

When applying your rust stain remover, make sure you dab the stain instead of rubbing it. Rubbing the stain can lead to the metal in the rust damaging the fabric further.

How to remove iron stains from clothes

Store-bought rust stain removers can be harsh on hands and clothing, which is why many opt to make their own solution when they want to know how to remove iron stain marks. If you do opt for a commercial rust remover, carefully follow the instructions on the bottle, wear rubber gloves and check the labels on your garment to make sure it’s safe.

If you want to try gentler alternatives when learning how to remove rust stains from clothes then the following ingredients can be used. Always test each remedy on a small spot of clothing first to make sure it doesn’t bleach or damage the fabric.

  • Lemon juice and salt: sprinkle salt on the stained area and liberally soak the stain with lemon juice. Dry in the sun and rinse with cold water once dry.
  • White vinegar and salt: make a thick paste of white vinegar and salt and gently dab the stain with it. Once the stain is fully covered, leave it for 30 minutes and rinse under cold water.
  • Cream of tartar: boil a large pan of water and stir in six teaspoons of cream of tartar. Soak the garment in the water for an hour before rinsing and leaving it to dry. Be careful not to burn your fingers doing this.

If the stain remains after any of these remedies, repeat the process until the rust mark is as faint as possible. Once you have treated the stain, rinse the stain by hand. If the stain is still visible, you may have to resort to a commercial cleaner.

To finish the stain removal process, use your usual laundry detergent to clean the rest of the garment in your washing machine. Wash it separately from other clothes to avoid any remaining stain transferring onto other garments.

Now you know how to remove rust from clothes, you can save your clothes from those stubborn red marks.

  • Make or buy a rust stain remover
  • Apply the stain remover to stain but do not rub
  • Reapply until the stain is removed

    Even laundry masters make mistakes; so if you’ve ever ironed clothes, you’ve probably scorched a few items over the years.

    In some cases, the marks are so intense that they actually melt the fabric or leave a really dark mark that can’t be removed. But there are other times — like when it’s actually the spray starch that’s burnt on or the scorch is lighter — there’s pretty good chance it can be removed. Cleaning coach Leslie Reichert and carpet cleaning pro Dean Carter are happy to tell you how to do it.

    How to get iron stains out of fabric

    How to iron a wrinkled shirt in half the time

    If there’s a scorch stain on white cotton.

    Start by dabbing the mark with hydrogen peroxide, says Reichert. Give it about a minute to work on the stain, then rinse it out. Repeat as needed. The rinsing step is really important because hydrogen peroxide can weaken fibers if it’s not rinsed out completely. Ammonia can also lighten a scorch mark but, according to Reichert, it doesn’t work as well as peroxide.

    If the scorch is on colored fabric.

    For scorch marks on colored clothing, try using distilled white vinegar. Dab it on with a clean white cloth (so you can see if you’re picking up the stain or not). Repeat until stain is gone, then rinse out the vinegar with fresh water.

    How to get iron stains out of fabric

    Check out these surprising uses for vinegar

    If neither of the above options do the trick, it’s time to try some color-safe oxygen bleach like OxiClean, suggests Reichert. First, check the garment care label to make sure it’s safe to use oxygen bleach. If so, soak the garment overnight in a solution of warm water and oxygen bleach, mixed according to package directions. Run the garment through a wash cycle in the morning. If the scorch mark is fading, repeat the process. Just don’t put the item in the dryer until the mark is completely gone or else you’ll set the stain.

    If there’s a scorch mark on wool or fuzzy fabric.

    You may be able to snip off the singed areas or brush them off with a toothbrush. If the scorch mark has penetrated the fabric beneath the fuzzy area, it’s nearly impossible to remove. In any case, bring it to a cleaning professional as soon as possible. Depending on the extent of damage, they may be able to help.

    If you’ve scorched the carpet.

    Scorch marks happen — even on carpet. Whether you accidentally dropped a hot iron or scorched it while working on iron-on crafts, there’s not much you can do to remove the stain once the heat has damaged the fibers.

    How to get iron stains out of fabric

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    If you have moved to a new home or suddenly begin to have laundry problems like mysterious stains on your freshly washed clothes, it could be the water you are using. Water that contains high levels of iron can leave clothes with yellow, red, or brown spots, cause white clothes to become yellow, and leave all fabrics feeling stiff.

    The source of rusty water is often an inground home well but some municipal water systems also have high levels of iron due to old cast iron water system pipes that are corroding.

    Rusty/Red Water

    Evidence of rusty or red water problems is usually caused by two sources:

    1. A water source loaded with suspended particles of iron bacteria leaves ugly discoloration and stains on kitchen, bathroom, and laundry fixtures and equipment, as well as on dishes and laundry.
    2. Rusty water heaters, pipes or water storage containers cause staining to be more sporadic.

    Evidence of Rusty or Red Water Laundry Problems

    • Yellow, red or brown stains on clothes
    • Yellowing of white clothes, especially when chlorine bleach is used
    • Clogged steam iron vents and sputtering rusty water stains when ironing.

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    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    How to Fix Rusty Water Laundry Problems

    If it is not possible to pass the problem water source through a water softener, a phosphate feeder or a chlorinating filter, laundry results can be improved by using a non-precipitating packaged water softener (usually containing phosphate) along with the usual amounts of heavy-duty laundry detergent. Follow the recommended amounts listed on the package. Be sure to use the compound in the rinse cycle as well as the wash cycle to prevent rust stains.

    To remove rust stains that have already occurred on white and colorfast washable fabrics, use a commercial rust remover following product directions. Add an extra rinse cycle to every load to be sure all traces of rust remover are rinsed from the fabrics.

    Warning

    The important ingredient in these compounds is an acid-usually oxalic or hydrofluoric acid. The chemicals in the remover combine with the iron and loosen it from the fabric, then hold it in suspension in the wash water to be flushed away. The compounds are poisonous if ingested. Use them carefully according to the manufacturers’ directions, and rinse the clothes thoroughly. Any acid remaining in the fibers will deteriorate the fabrics.

    Never put clothes with rust stains in the dryer because the high heat will set the stain and make it extremely difficult to remove. Never use chlorine bleach to remove the stains because chlorine bleach will set rust stains permanently.

    A more economical and eco-friendly method for rust removal is to sprinkle salt on the spot and dampen it with lemon juice. Dry articles in the sun, then rinse. Test procedures on a hidden portion of the article first, since the lemon juice may cause a color change. Take non-colorfast fabrics to a commercial laundry for professional treatment.

    Use Distilled Water

    If you are treating a special garment or table linen to remove rust stains, consider hand washing the item using distilled water unless you have resolved the rusty water problem in your home.

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    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    How to Get Rid of Rusty Water

    The first step in resolving a rusty water problem is to do a physical inspection of your home plumbing system. A rusty water heater or pipes can leach enough iron into your washer to cause problems. Replacement of the water heater, pipes, or a rusty water storage container may solve the problem.

    The next step is to talk to your neighbors and ask if they have the same problem and then have your water tested. Many local water municipalities will perform this service for you at no or a very low cost. You can also purchase water testing kits online.

    If the test shows that the level of iron is small, a mechanical water softener will generally remove the iron along with other minerals. Another alternative is to hold the iron in suspension by use of a phosphate feeder system.

    For moderate iron levels, a green sand filter or oxidizing filter may be adequate. It is important to have a filter sized to handle large quantities of water throughout the house.

    For high concentrations of iron, a chlorination/filtration system treats water before it enters the lines. The chlorination/filtration system has two main parts: a chlorinator and a filter. An automatic chlorinator, generally using household chlorine laundry bleach and releases chlorine into the water system.

    The chlorine does two important things: it kills iron and disease-causing bacteria and it changes (oxidizes) colorless, soluble iron to insoluble, red iron particles that can be removed from the water by a filter in the system. This type of iron treatment system should be installed on the main water lines in the house before the water passes through the water softener and the water heater.

    These treatments which usually require professional installation can be expensive. Always have your water tested by an independent lab before installing any system.

    Whether it’s a single spot or your entire piece has become shiny, iron marks on polyester and synthetic clothing can be a real pain. These shiny spots are created when the hot iron touches the fibers of the clothing and causes them to melt. Since these spots are actually melted fabric, they may be permanent, but there are a couple solutions you can try to remove them.

    Removing the Spots

    1. This method was submitted by a site user (Thanks Myra!). Wet a pressing cloth, then wring it out so it is only damp, not dripping. (A pressing cloth is a thin piece of fabric used for ironing to keep the iron from touching fabrics that can melt, such as polyester or rayon. If you don’t have a pressing cloth, you can use a cotton bed sheet or similar item instead.) Lay the damp pressing cloth over the spots, turn the iron on low (warm), and hold the iron over the area long enough for the pressing cloth to start to steam. This method also works to remove wrinkles that have been melted in place on the fabric. Rub the area with a clothing brush or dry towel afterward.
    2. Very gently scrub the spot with steel wool. It may take some patience, but another one of our site users reported successfully removing the shine and returning their fabric to normal by doing this.
    3. Very gently filing the marks with the weak side of a nail file may also work to remove the marks.

    An Ounce of Prevention

    • When ironing synthetics, such as polyester, be aware of the following guidelines:
    • Always use a cool to warm iron (low to medium heat). Unlike some other fabrics, polyester does not require a high level of heat to remove wrinkles. Most irons have separate polyester settings that help identify the proper temperature.
    • It is also helpful to cover the clothing with a pressing cloth to keep the iron from touching the fabric. A moist pressing cloth will help remove wrinkles.
    • A mixture of equal parts vinegar and water can be sprayed on to the fabric prior to ironing to help set or remove a crease.
    • Once the piece is ironed, hang it immediately to avoid any further wrinkling.
    • If the piece is severely wrinkled, it may be best to wash it again and hang it to dry. Often the weight of the material will remove most wrinkles as it dries.
    • Remember that you should never use laundry starch on synthetic clothing like polyester as it can cause the iron to stick and scorch the fabric. Instead, use sizing or fabric finish.

    Additional Tips:

    • If there are any scorched areas of the fabric, use our guide How to Remove Burn Marks from Clothing for those marks.
    • If you are unable to remove the spots, consider covering them with a patch.

    Sources:

    • Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck
    • The Cleaning Encyclopedia by Don Aslett
    • Field Guide to Stains by Virginia M. Friedman, Nancy Armstrong and Melissa Wagner.

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    Comments

    To remove shine, place the section in question right side up on ironing board and cover with a damp cloth. Hold a hot iron over the cloth until it steams. The iron should not touch the pressing cloth. Remove the pressing cloth and brush lightly with a clothes brush.

    I accidently burned my cream silk gown. I’m really annoyed. There is no actual burn (brown) mark, but the area has gone shiny and the wrinkles are sort of molten together and crispy. It’s been a week since the incident and I have not touched it since. Will the above methods work for silk?

    There is hope on polyester fabric. I managed to remove the shiny patch.
    When we ironed directly on the fabric, it kind of melted the fibres and it sticks flat, creating a shiny patch. So the idea is to give it a buff to fluff up the fibres. Be very gentle, lots of patience and time, or else the patch becomes visibly rough and ball up like a wool. Took me an hour or so to work on a patch size of 6 x 2 inches. You can expect your material to be slightly rough to the touch, but at least the shine is gone. Here’s what I did:

    I used a white damp cloth (cotton / thin linen) soaked with white vinegar. Then placed it on the wrong side of the shiny patch and hover the iron above it until it steams, but do not touch the fabric. (If you can’t get your iron to steam, try placing the iron on the white damp cloth but on low heat). I don’t have sandpaper so I used a foot buffer (the smoother side please) to press on shiny patch and lift. As you lift the file, almost create a short stroke and in the opposite direction to get a gentle friction. You will know it when you hear as if you strip off a velcro, only the sound is subtle.
    Rinse the fabric with water after complete. Lesson learned. Good luck!

    I am having a problem removing the iron stain mark from my son’s uniform. What should I do?

    You can use one of several techniques to remove shiny iron marks from natural fibers like wool blends and cotton. These techniques will help soften the fibers and help them return to their natural, uncompressed state.

    Shine marks on polyester are more likely to be melted fibers as opposed to compression. In these cases, the damage is permanent and impossible to reverse. However, if the shine is caused by compression, then the below techniques will have the same effect on man-made materials as they do with natural fibers.

    How to remove iron marks from clothes? Iron marks, burns or shiny marks can be removed by treating the area with Hydrogen Peroxide. In natural fabrics where shine has occurred, applying steam or vinegar to the spot can help restore the flattened fibers to their natural state.

    Here are 6 techniques that should help improve, if not completely eliminate the problem.

    1. Identify the Fabric

    The chance of removing shine from natural fibers such as cotton is much higher compared to man-mad synthetic fibers like polyester. If synthetic fibers have melted because of exposure to high heat, there is little chance of undoing the damage.

    2. Steam-out Shine

    This is one of the quickest ways to undo shine as soon as you spot it. Without letting the soleplate come into contact with the fabric, apply steam to the shiny area. This could be enough to loosen the fibers that have been compressed.

    You could also hang the garment and use your irons vertical steam feature. You can also run over the area with a clothing brush or a dry towel to help loosen and decompress the fibers.

    If it’s a faulty iron that got you into this pickle in the first place, check out our list of tried and tested steam irons for home use. You’ll see the best results from an iron with a more powerful steam output.

    3. Cold Water Plunge for Shiny Marks

    This technique works for shiny marks. Dip the item of clothing into cold water and leave it overnight. Like with steaming, this should soften those flattened fibers, and by soaking them, they can return to their normal condition.

    4. Re-wash the Garment

    For both shine and scorch marks, you should see a marked improvement. Following the wash instructions on the garment label, wash the piece of clothing adding a small amount of vinegar. (1 part vinegar to 2 parts detergent).

    5. Dab Shine with a Vinegar Cloth

    This is another tip that will work for shine marks. Dab the shiny area with a vinegar-soaked cloth, followed by a clean water-dampened cloth. Repeat the process, alternating between the two until the sheen disappears.

    6. Hydrogen Peroxide for Burn Marks

    This technique works incredibly well for accidental scorch or burn marks. Soak a clean white cloth in 3% hydrogen peroxide and then lay the cloth over the damaged area. Iron over the spot, lifting the cloth to check for improvement. Repeat the process until the shine is lifted.

    On a white shirt, you will notice the caramel burn marks start to fade to a pale yellow. Depending on the severity of the burn, you may need to repeat the process a few times.

    Hydrogen peroxide is available at most drug stores. Make sure you buy a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. This is best done on white fabrics as hydrogen peroxide has a mild bleaching effect. For black or colored garments, first, test a small drop of hydrogen peroxide on an inside seam to make sure the fabric is colorfast and will not discolor.

    Finally, wash and dry the garment as normal when you are done.

    7. Use a Brush to Help Lift the Fibres

    In some fabrics where fibers have been compressed or flattened, you may need to help lift them by brushing them gently. For more delicate fabrics, start with a more gentle tooth brush. For denim and thicker fabrics, a course brush and a little extra pressure may need.

    In Conclusion

    It’s a relief to know garments can be brought back from “the shine”, but it’s much easier and more time-efficient to avoid the problem completely. Check our article on how to avoid shine marks while ironing.

    Black fabrics show up scorches the most and those pieces of clothing are often our go-to favorites. Because they are worn more frequently, we need to care for them a little more to ensure they don’t look tired and old before their time. A good tip is to buy two of the same item so you can circulate the two.

    Shines or accidental scorches are an easy mistake to make. Ironing can become an automated activity and if your gym shorts are at the bottom of the ironing pile, without any thought, their polyester fibers will melt and die a shiny death. Prevention is better than cure!

    How to get iron stains out of fabric

    Along with cool tips and guides, we also test and review the latest steam irons, sewing machines and more to give you an unbiased review on which is the best option for you.

    As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

    It doesn’t matter if you are doing some home renovations, you are into arts and crafts, or you want to fix the sole of your shoe. One thing we never appear to get away from is glue.

    In many occasions, when we go about these tasks, there are no issues. However, there are times the top is loose, or you need to cut off the nozzle as it has dried and we have an accident.

    You may think wiping glue of fabrics is easy, yet there is a bit more to it than that. If you don’t tackle it the right way, you can find you make it worse.

    Here you can learn how to remove an ironed on patch, how to get sticker residue off clothes and a few other tips for removing glue. (Learn How to Get Stickiness Off Wood)

    Glue Removal Tips

    Unlike hard surfaces where you can remove sticky residue or glue with a knife or solvents. Fabric is different as the glue can soak into the strands of the material.

    Besides this, you will need to test a corner that is inconspicuous no matter which method you decide to use.

    You can use a brown paper bag for this if you don’t have any clean white clothes.

    How to Remove Dried Glue from Fabric

    One of the most common glues we use around the homes for woodworking, crafting or other uses is hot melt glue.

    As it is molten from the gun to the piece you are sticking, any drops that fall soak and cling to the fibres of the fabric as it soaks in. One thing is that we can use the power of heat, namely an iron to remove the majority if not all the glue from our fabrics. (Learn How to Get Sticker Residue Off Plastic)

    How to Get Hot Glue Out of Fabric

    The only items you need for removing hot glue from fabric are your iron and a cotton cloth (brown paper as an addition).

    Here you can see how to remove hot glue from fabric.

    • Take your cotton cloth and lay it flat on your ironing board
    • Place your item of clothing or fabric with the glue face down on the cloth or paper bag
    • With your hot iron, place this on the back of the glue for 10-20 seconds (make sure the iron is the right heat for your fabric)
    • Remove your iron and slowly peel the clothing away from the cloth
    • Move the glue spot to a clean part of the cloth and repeat
    • Repeat these steps as often as is required until you remove the glue, or most of it has been removed

    Depending on how much is left after using your iron to remove glue from fabric, you can finish off with other methods. You can also place your paper bag between the iron and your fabric to prevent glue on your iron.

    How Do You Remove Dried Glue from Fabric?

    If you need to remove the last traces of glue after using your iron, you can try this method first.

    1. Place your fabric on a clean cloth and apply some rubbing alcohol to a clean lint-free cloth, (you can also use Vodka).
    2. Gently run your glue stain from the outside inward so you won’t spread it any further.
    3. Repeat as necessary until the glue finally melts and you can wipe off any excess.
    4. You can cover the last drops of the stain with liquid detergent and let it sit before you try to wash it off.

    How Do You Remove Tacky Glue from Fabric?

    Depending on the type of glue you are using, it may be tacky rather than it has already dried.

    If this is the case, you can dip a cotton ball or cloth in nail polish remover or acetone, (Check your fabrics first in a corner).

    Gently soak the tacky glue stain with the acetone-soaked cotton ball. With reapplication, you will see it breaks down and lifts from the fabric.

    Make sure you keep the area wet and keep applying the remover until you remove the glue. Also, lay your fabric on a clean cloth to avoid spillage.

    How Do You Remove Contact Glue from Fabric?

    As in the above, it is possible to use acetone of nail polish remover, although, if there is a lot to remove, you may find another trick easier to try first.

    Glue is brittle once it reaches extreme cold. Hence the reason most wood glue isn’t suitable for outdoor use.

    You can place your item in the freezer until it is as cold as it will get. You can then remove it from the freezer, and using a spoon or the back of a butter knife; you can scrape away most of the glue traces from your fabric. (Learn How to Flush a Car Radiator)

    Remove Water Based Glue from Clothes

    While all the glues above, such as hot glue are mainly because of adult use, children can use water-based glue that can make as much of an issue.

    Luckily, removing this glue is much easier to remove, and all you need to make sure of is you remove all the stains before the glue has a chance to dry. Besides this, never dry your clothing with glue in tumble dryers or your radiator as this can make the glue set hard. (Learn About Washing Clothes with Baking Soda and Vinegar)

    Here are the things you need before the steps to remove this kind of glue.

    • Spoon or stiff brush
    • Freezer or some ice cubes
    • Coldwater from the faucet
    • Cotton wool or a clean cloth
    • Liquid laundry detergent
    1. Let the glue dry as this stops it spreading. You can freeze it to make this job faster
    2. Using your brush or the edge of your spoon, break away as much of the hard glue as you can
    3. If you see a stain, soak this in cold water. You can also flush it with cold water from your faucet
    4. Soak it in water and make sure it is submerged overnight
    5. Next, remove from the water and add liquid detergent
    6. Drop your clothing in the washing machine and wash on cool. Around 30º is about ideal.

    With all the above, you can easily remove hot glue, sticky glue or dried glue from fabrics and many other materials.

    As long as you take your time and don’t heat up and dry the glue, you can be free from the sticky stuff and won’t ruin your fabric.

    How to get iron stains out of fabric

    1. Home
    2. Laundry Tips
    3. Stain Removal Tips
    4. How to remove scorch marks from clothes its easier than you think

    A quick iron of a garment can take it from drab to fab in less than a couple of minutes. But what happens when you accidentally leave the iron on a shirt for just a second too long? Scorch marks – and these definitely don’t improve the look of your clothes! When you have an ironing catastrophe like this, you may think your item is ruined for good, but actually you may be able to salvage it. The trick is to act fast.

    Follow our simple method below to find out how to remove scorch marks from clothes and help improve the appearance of unsightly iron marks.

    How to remove scorch marks on clothes

    Before you read on, it’s important to remember that some scorch marks on clothes may be unsalvageable. With a scorch mark, you’ve essentially burnt the fabric, so (unfortunately) this type of stain can be permanent. However, for light scorch marks (especially those on cottons or linens) there is hope.

    Act fast to remove scorch marks. Remove the iron from the garment immediately and turn it off – don’t continue with your ironing. You should tackle the scorch mark as soon as possible.

    Rinse the garment in warm water. This will wash away any loose singed matter and prepare the item for pre-treatment.

    Soak in bleach (optional). Check the care label on your garment to make sure it is safe to use bleach on it. If so, you can then pre-treat the item further by soaking it in diluted bleach for about 15 minutes. A pre-soak can help improve your chances of removing scorch marks, but you should always consult the product’s label to learn the appropriate ratio of bleach and water to use. Always follow the safety instructions, such as wearing gloves and keeping children and pets out of the room. If your clothing can’t take bleach, you can gently work in some neat laundry detergent (Persil liquid’s Stain Eraser Ball makes this easy to do) to help loosen the stain.

    Pop the garment in the washing machine. After you’ve pre-treated the item, place it in the washing machine with a high quality laundry detergent.  Switch the machine to the appropriate cycle and temperature, as recommended on the garment care label. If you have pre-soaked your item with a bleach and water solution and are washing other items at the same time, then make sure they are bleach-safe too.

    Dry in the sun. Once your wash cycle is finished, check if the scorch mark is less visible and hang the item out to dry in the sun. The sun’s natural brightening abilities may help to lighten the mark even more. Alternatively, you can try repeating the pre-treating and washing steps above for optimum results.

    How to get rid of iron marks on clothes

    As we mentioned above, unfortunately some severe scorch marks on clothes may be impossible to remove. However, by following the above tips, acting swiftly, and having some patience you may be able to remove scorch marks – or at least improve the appearance of lighter marks.

    If the damage is permanent, it doesn’t mean you have to throw the item away. You could recycle the fabric into something new – perhaps a hair band or a belt – or you could try and fix the mark with some nifty sewing tricks (like covering it with a colourful patch).

    Remember, prevention is key when it comes to scorch marks. Brush up on your ironing technique with our guide to ironing to avoid scorch marks on clothes happening again.

    Stains are a big deal at our house. It seems that my kids are stain magnets. I know that just about everyone would say that their kids do their fair share of staining clothing. But my kids have a penchant for attracting stains of the gross and unusual kind—you know, the kind that no one really knows how to get out.

    A while back, when we started fostering kids, I decided to go through my clothing storage and pull out the baby clothes just in case we got a small foster child. Much to my dismay, most of the baby clothes had yellowed and had huge brown spots on them.

     I was so sure that they didn’t look that horrible when I put them away! But time and heat (they had been in the garage last summer as we moved) had set in previously mild spit up and food stains.

    I was determined to find a non-toxic way to get those set in stains out of those cute baby clothes, which is a daunting task, because, let’s face it, even the toxic cleaners don’t really get set in stains out.

    How to get iron stains out of fabric

    Then this past winter, we entered a time of a few months when the air was really dry. My children started getting nosebleeds. And about 99% of the time, of course, it would happen in the middle of the night while they were sleeping and no one would know the better until the next morning when the blood was dried all over the sheets.

    This summer I have faced yet more frustrating stains. During the summer, we keep white sheets and a white quilt on our bed. All in the same day, my muddy dog decided to come inside and hop up on my bed, leaving the red Oklahoma clay mud stains all over my nice quilt; and my 3 year old daughter proved that she could open child proof caps by spilling a whole bottle of grape cough syrup all over my sheets. What is a mom to do?!

    It seems that there are several good options for getting fresh stains out of clothes, and many of those have been highlighted on this website. But after much experimenting, I have found a very easy solution to getting really tough set in stains out of fabrics—powdered oxygen bleach.

    I have found oxygen bleach to be highly effective in getting awful stains out of just about everything. Here’s how I use it:

    1. I simply fill a large tub (think trash can size) with hot water. I know hot water is contrary to everything you have heard about getting stains out of clothes. However, it helps the bleach dissolve better and thus, work better.
    2. Then I stir in the appropriate amount of powdered oxygen bleach.
    3. After that, I simply add in whatever clothes or bed linens need to be soaked. At that point, I leave it alone for up to a whole day.
    4. I will periodically check to see if the stains are fading.
    5. Once they appear to be gone, I then throw the soaked items into the washer to be cleaned as normal.

    How to get iron stains out of fabric

    Photo credit: edwebproject

    Is Oxygen Bleach Safe to Use?

    There are many options out there for oxygen bleach. When shopping for a good product, you will want to find one that doesn’t have any fillers. Many of the more popular brands don’t work as well as they could because they are full of fillers.

    If you are like me, you may be wondering what exactly oxygen bleach is and how it works. I was hesitant for quite some time to use it because when I hear the word “bleach,” I automatically think about chlorine bleach. But rest assured that oxygen bleach is a very different cleaner.

    Oxygen bleach is made of two natural chemicals, sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate, and it is completely biodegradable. It doesn’t have any strong odor and, while I wouldn’t recommend soaking your skin in it, it is fine for normal contact with skin. It can be used to break down set in stains or fresh stains, and it can be used on organic and inorganic stains.

    The one drawback to using oxygen bleach over using a commercial spray is that it takes time to work—sometimes it takes a lot of time. My muddy white quilt had to be soaked twice, each time for a whole day, before it came clean. But the good news is that on most kinds of fabric, the stains should come out completely.

    So if you have a houseful of little stain magnet children, or even a naughty muddy dog or two that like to jump onto your bed, I highly recommend trying oxygen bleach. As you can imagine, oxygen bleach is definitely this mom’s favorite go-to product in my laundry room!