How to Remove Rust Spots on Linens

Rust stains a variety of surfaces including linens. When dealing with rust stains, act as soon as possible. If you wash and dry the rust-stained linen as you normally would, the stain may set in, making removal impossible. Fortunately, you do not have to let the rust stain ruin your linens. There are a few ways to remove the rust stain and restore the look of your linens.

Vinegar and Salt

Rust eats away at the surface it is growing on.
  1. Apply undiluted white vinegar directly to the rust stain. Pour enough vinegar so the area is saturated.

  2. Sprinkle salt over the area and rub it into the stain. The amount of salt depends on the size of the stain. Use enough salt so that the stain is completely covered. Lay the linen in directly sunlight. The sunlight will help draw the rust spot out.

  3. Launder the linen as you normally would.

  4. Fill a container big enough to hold the linen with cool water. Add 3 cups of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of salt. Mix the contents together. Submerge the rust-stained linen into the mixture and allow to sit overnight. Launder the item as you normally would.

Lemon Juice

  1. Apply a few drops of lemon juice directly to the rust spots.

  2. Rub the lemon juice gently into the linen with a soft cloth.

  3. Launder the linen as you normally would.

Commercial Rust Remover

  1. Apply a commercial rust remover to the stain. Read and follow all directions with the rust remover.

  2. Place the linen on a flat surface in an area where it will not be disturbed. Allow the rust remover to sit on the item for 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. Rinse the rust remover from the linen in cool water. If stain persists, repeat the process.


  • Inspect the rust spots before placing in the dryer. If the rust stains are still present, do not dry. The heat from the dryer could set the stain into the linen.
  • Keep bleach away from rust spots. Using bleach on rust spots can cause the stain to set into the fabric.