How to Remove Rust Water Stains

Rusty water can be a problem, particularly if you live in an older home or have a well water system.

Rusty water will leaves orange and brown stains on clothingRusty water will leaves orange and brown stains on clothing
Over time, the rust in the water, created by iron deposits, can affect your laundry and anything else that you wash regularly with the rusty water. You can remove rust stains successfully using supplies from home. If it's not possible to rid your home of rusty water, then remove rust water stains from your clothing on a regular basis.
Table salt is a common ingredient in rust stain removal

Pour 1 gallon of white vinegar into a 5-gallon bucket. Add 2 to 3 gallons of hot water. Mix in 2 cups of table salt then stir the ingredients to mix well.

Move the bucket of vinegar solution to a well ventilated area, as the vinegar odor is very strong.

Place four to five similar articles of clothing into the solution at a time. Batch shirts, towels and undergarments together. Allow the clothing to sit, in batches, in the vinegar and salt solution overnight.

Drain the bucket and remove the garments. Wash the garments according to the directions on the care label. Hang dry all items until you can be sure all traces of rust water stain have been removed.

Soak garments a second time, then launder again, if any rusty water stain persists.

Things You Will Need

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Table salt
  • Spoon

Tip

  • Rub a mixture of equal parts of lemon or lime juice and salt on persistent rust stains.

Warnings

  • Avoid using bleach on rust water stains as this will turn the stains yellow, without removing them.
  • Dry garments in the dryer only after you're certain all rust water stains are removed. Heat from the dryer will set stains.

About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.