The Best Way to Remove Burrs From Clothing

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Put your clothes in the washing machine to help remove burrs from them.
Image Credit: Choreograph/iStock/GettyImages

Some of the most troublesome souvenirs we bring home from a walk in the woods or a camping trip are the Sputnik-like burrs that attach themselves to our clothes. Grown from the burdock plant, they settle onto our pants, our shoes, our hair and even our animals' fur.


Getting burdock out of clothes hurts if you try to pick them off with your fingers. It's also a laborious process since they stick with a force as though glue were attached to the ends of each prong. Several methods have been successful in removing burrs. Just be patient and thorough.

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Use the Washer/Dryer

The first thing you should do is put whatever the burr is stuck to into the washing machine. Use a delicate setting and set the water temperature to hot and the water level to high. The swirling water relaxes the stiff burr spikes and makes them easier to remove.


Place the item into the dryer and dry it until it is completely dry. When you remove it from the machine, check for burrs. If the burrs are still attached, there are several other remedies.

Getting Burdock Out of Clothes

After washing and drying, place the item flat on a table, the floor or a bed. Using a fine-tooth comb, slowly maneuver it over the surface containing the burrs, moving down the material. Once the burr is trapped, flick the comb upward to remove the burr. Use a tissue to empty the burr into a plastic bag and continue until all burrs have disappeared.


Plastic is the preferred type of comb since it is gentler on the clothing than metal. However, a metal fuzz remover will also work. While the burr may be removed, its spikes might have broken off and remain in the clothing.

Duct Tape Is Helpful

We use tape to remove hair from clothing, and it also works for getting burdock out of clothes. As the clothing is working its way through the washer and dryer, cut pieces that are several inches long, fold them over into a circle, attach the ends and put them aside until the clothing is ready. Put one circle around your hand and then dab the tape over the burr locations until they come up and off and continue until all burrs have been removed.


Finishing the Job

You may need tweezers to grab any of the spikes that are left behind regardless of the remedy used. Run your hand over the clothing until the spikes are no longer present. As an added step, roll a lint remover over the entire piece of clothing and then turn it inside out and repeat. A final wipe with your hand inside and outside of the clothing reveals any spikes that are left over.


Taking Care of Your Pooch

You're not the only one to attract burrs when walking in the woods. Dogs' ears are susceptible as well. Wearing rubber gloves to prevent your hands from becoming victim to the burr, bathe the dog with shampoo and then add a conditioner. Gently work a comb through its ear hair until you no longer feel any burrs.


Do the same with the dog's tail and then comb the entire body. As the dog dries, continue to check for leftovers. After several hours, check again to be sure none of the spikes penetrate the dog's skin, causing a rash or a reaction.



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