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How to Remove Iron Stains from Clothes

If you've ever scorched a shirt or dress when ironing clothes, you no longer have to worry! Read on to find our best tips for removing iron stains from clothes.

Step By Step: The Best Way to Remove Iron Stains - Quickly!

Whether the moment's pause was to answer the phone, or hug a crying child, or get lost in a daydream, we've all scorched a shirt or two with the iron in our lifetime. Thankfully, most iron stains aren't permanent and are relatively easy to get out. Here are some of our best tips for how to remove iron stains from clothes—limited elbow grease required.
Woman Ironing Clothes
  • Step 1: Act Fast

    The faster you react to an iron stain, the better it is for your clothing! Immediately remove the item from the heat and check the label for any care restrictions worth noting. For example, some delicate fabrics might need to be handled with extra sensitivity or be generally unable to withstand treatment from certain chemicals. It might not be as simple as throwing it into your top load washer and calling it a day. To avoid an even bigger problem, it's best to know what resources you have to work with (and what to avoid) as soon as you possibly can.
  • Step 2: Apply a Stain Remover

    Once your stained item is off the heat and cool enough to handle, put on a pair of rubber gloves and enlist the help of a stain-removing cleaner to lift the iron stain from the affected area. In addition to the many options of commercially produced stain removers out there, the following common household cleaning agents can be effective as well:
    • Distilled Vinegar
    • Ammonia
    • Hydrogen Peroxide (for white clothing only)
    • Heavy-Duty Laundry Detergent
    Be sure to test a small portion of the affected area before you apply the stain remover all over to confirm that it's safe to use and won't fade or otherwise ruin your article of clothing. Gently dab the stain remover onto the stain, rather than rubbing it in, so that you do not push the stain deeper into your item before the cleaner has a chance to work on it.
  • Step 3: Rinse Out the Stain Remover; Then Repeat

    You'll be able to tell right away if the stain remover is starting to lift the iron marks, and also whether another round is needed. If you see moderate improvement the first time, it might be worth trying again. If you decide another soak is necessary, run the item under clean water to help thoroughly rinse the stain remover away before applying another layer.
    Extended exposure to stain-removing agents—chemical or otherwise—without breaks in between can weaken the fibers of your fabric. A thorough rinse in between each soak helps decrease the chances you'll damage your clothing. Repeat the dab, wait and rinse process until the stain is virtually all gone.
    Maytag Top Load Washer - MVWB765FW
  • Step 4: Wash and Dry the Garment

    Even after you've rinsed your garment and the stain isn't visible anymore, it's still not ready to wear just yet. After you've successfully lifted the iron stain, it's time to run the item through the wash. Refer back to your care label to confirm the proper washing and drying settings—and run the affected article of clothing as its own load. If you have a top load washer you can check on the garment mid-cycle if you'd like. Dry as you would under normal conditions. If you're looking to purchase a washer, this is a great perk to have!
  • Step 5: Clean the Iron

    After you've burned a piece of clothing, there is likely some singed fabric still left on your iron. If you use it before cleaning the residue, you'll risk staining the next item you iron, too. To clean the gunk off your iron plate, dampen a cloth with a mixture of vinegar and water and then wipe. If that doesn't give you the deep scrub you need, try adding a sprinkling of baking soda to the cloth to buff away the melted fabric.
    Man Ironing Clothes

When It's Too Late

Unfortunately, if the iron has completely singed your item to the point where there is a hole or the material has melted, there isn't much you can do to repair the damage. In these instances, you might be able to creatively conceal or cover the burn, but you probably won't be able to wear the garment as-is again. As a last-ditch effort, try bringing the item to your local tailor and see if they are able to offer any help.

Stain-Free Clothing

We've all fallen victim to the occasional iron stain, thanks to a brief moment of distraction. The good news is that there are easy ways to remove them from our clothes without too much worry or effort.

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