How to Remove Rust Spots from Sheets

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Rust stains are especially obvious on white sheets.
Rust stains are especially obvious on white sheets. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Although rust stains often appear mysteriously, they never disappear as easily. To prevent the problem from occurring in the future, you must first find and treat the source of the rust. However, if your sheets already have rust spots, it's important to treat the spots quickly. Acid works best in removing rust stains; acetic acid, oxalic acid and citric acid may work to remove your rust stain.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • Oxalic acid

Vinegar and Salt

Pour white vinegar on the rust stain until the stain is thoroughly saturated.

Add a teaspoon of salt to the stain and rub the fabric until it disappears.

Allow the vinegar and salt to soak in the fabric if the stain does not disappear right away.

Wash the fabric as usual once the fabric is fully dry.

Oxalic Acid

Wet the sheets with water in the area of and around the rust stain.

Make a paste from 1/2 tsp of oxalic acid and a few drops of water. Products such as Zud and Barkeeper’s Friend contain oxalic acid.

Apply the paste to the rust stain and rub it into the fabric.

Continue to rub the paste into the rust mark until the stain disappears.

Wash the fabric as usual.

Tips & Warnings

  • When it interacts with iron deposits in washing water, chlorine bleach can create rust stains on laundry.
  • Rust is set into the fabric with bleach and heat, so do not bleach your rusty sheets or put them into the dryer.

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