If you have kids, enjoy DIY or cycling, or love to work in the garden, chances are you’ve had a nice garment spoiled with those ugly brown-red streaks indicative of an iron oxide stain

You wouldn’t think ‘rust’ stains would be common, but they actually are found in all sorts of places, including certain soil types.

For most iron oxide stains, a little acidity will do it

You can soak the area in white vinegar, or apply some lemon juice. Be aware that placing a coloured garment treated in lemon juice in the sun may lead to it bleaching slightly, thanks to the UV reacting with the citric acid. You can also rub a cut potato over the area, as the mild acidity should do the same job.

Once the garment has had about 30 minutes of treatment, make a thick paste of your washing powder and apply to the stain. Leave for another 30 minutes, then wash on a cold water setting and evaluate.

Very stubborn rust stains may need a commercial rust remover, but be aware that these can be harsh on fabrics and should always be patch tested first.

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