How to Remove Rust Stains From a Shirt

Rust stains may end up on your shirt when doing the laundry right after your water company flushes the pipes. If you take the shirt out of the washing machine and notice the rust, do not toss it in the dryer, as you will set the stain. You can also get a rust stain by accidentally brushing your clothes against a rusty object. In either case, rust stains require special removal. Washing your rust-stained shirt with chlorine bleach makes the rust stain darker and permanent.

Don't wash as normal if you find a rust stain on your shirt.
  1. Wash the shirt immediately using a heavy-duty detergent or 1 cup of non-precipitating water softener. Do not use both, as washing with a detergent and the softener may set the stain.

  2. Treat the area with a fabric-safe rust remover, if the rust stain remains. Commercial rust stain removers contain hydrofluoric acid or oxalic acid. Follow the manufacturer's application instructions. If you don't have a commercial rust remover, sprinkle salt on the stain and squeeze lemon juice over it and leave it in the sun to dry.

  3. Rewash the shirt after removing the rust. If you fail to remove all the rust remover from the fabric, the acid can deteriorate the fibers.