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What is the best (and safest) way to get rust out of diapers? I use BumGenius 4.0 and I accidentally left some in the washer at our new house for 2 days. The rust that was in the washer wore off onto the diapers from sitting. I have rewashed multiple times and sunning isn’t enough! I definitely won’t bleach them until I get the rust out so it won’t set in hopefully.
Of course, my first thought was sun, sun & vinegar and/or sun & lemon juice. Kaitlyn’s diaper & inserts are both affected, and she has already tried sun, along with vinegar, lemon juice and a salt vinegar paste in the sun.
If the citric acid in the lemon juice and the acetic acid in the vinegar wasn’t enough, you could try a paste of cream of tartar (tartaric acid) or soaking them in a solution of cream of tartar dissolved in water. You could also try combining lemon juice & salt or cream of tartar & salt. Try to keep the fabric damp throughout the treatment (aim for 24 hours) and sun while damp as well. Also be sure to rinse them thoroughly as the hope is that the acid will make the rust water soluble.
If you’re wondering why Kaitlyn (and I) didn’t go to bleach, bleach can cause rust stains to be permanent! Oxalic Acid (like in Barkeeper’s Friend) and CLR would likely be too rough for diapers. There is a commercial rust stain remover called Whink and Carbona makes a stain remover designed for rust however, I do not know how suedecloth and microfiber (let alone elastic & PUL) would hold up to these products.
If it were me, I’d probably try various vinegar, lemon juice, salt, cream of tarter & sun combinations, they cut my losses and consider them stained (so sad!) Better to have a functional, stained diaper than one ruined by commercial rust removal products!
Have you successfully removed rust stains from diapers?