Why Do I Get Rust Stains on My Clothes?

June 1, 2020

There’s nothing more disheartening than pulling your laundry out of the dryer, going to put it away and realizing that rust stains have appeared all down the fronts of your favorite shirts. What’s worse is that rust stains are hard to remove, and some traditional laundry methods could permanently set the stain.

Read on to learn more about why rust forms on clothes, how to remove it and how to prevent it.

Why is rust forming on my clothing?

There are a few different reasons rust might be ruining your wardrobe, sheets and more:

  • Rust and iron deposits breaking loose: If rust and iron deposits break loose inside your water heater or pipes, they’ll move into your washing machine, where they can stain your clothing.
  • Bacteria: Today, most home plumbing uses PVC piping, but city water supplies are often delivered using older iron pipes. When bacteria in the water reacts with the iron pipes, it can cause rust to form. The deposits can then adhere to your clothing.
  • Sediment accumulation: Sediment can form in pipes when there’s a drought or the water reserves are unusually low. This can lead to rust stains that range from yellow to orange, depending on the sediment content.
  • Bad vibrations: If your area is prone to earthquakes, is undergoing construction work or experiencing other vigorous shaking, rust can shake loose from pipes and stain your clothes.
  • Rusty washers: Finally, it could be the washer itself that’s the problem. If your washer’s tub is rusty, you’ll end up with stained loads.

How do I remove rust from clothes?

Follow the number one rule of removing rust from clothing: do not use bleach. Bleach will set the rust stains, causing permanent damage to the fabric. You should also avoid using heat on the fabric, whether from the clothes dryer or an iron. This will stabilize the rust stains and make them impossible to remove.

In some cases, rust stains on clothes may be permanent no matter what you do—but it’s always worth a try. First, assuming your laundry machine isn’t rusty, rewash the clothes in clear water with a strong detergent (again, do not use bleach).

Next, use a commercial rust remover product like Magica® Rust Removers. Our product is safe to use on virtually any surface, including clothing and upholstery. (Please ensure that your clothes are colorfast or white for best results.) In fact, some antique dealers and dry cleaners use Magica® to get rust stains out of vintage clothing and upholstery, because it won’t damage delicate fabrics. Follow the instructions on the label and be sure to rinse thoroughly.

If the stain doesn’t come out on the first attempt, do not dry the fabric in the dryer. Repeat the process until the stain is gone.

When you need to get rust stains out of your clothing fast, Magica® Rust Removers can help save the day. Save your wardrobe from ruin with our gentle, easy-to-use product. Reach out to us today to learn more, or shop online.

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