A quick iron of a garment can take it from drab to fab in less than a couple of minutes. But what happens when you accidentally leave the iron on a shirt for just a second too long? Scorch marks – and these definitely don’t improve the look of your clothes! When you have an ironing catastrophe like this, you may think your item is ruined for good, but actually you may be able to salvage it. The trick is to act fast.
Follow our simple method below to find out how to remove scorch marks from clothes and help improve the appearance of unsightly iron marks.
How to remove scorch marks on clothes
Before you read on, it’s important to remember that some scorch marks on clothes may be unsalvageable. With a scorch mark, you’ve essentially burnt the fabric, so (unfortunately) this type of stain can be permanent. However, for light scorch marks (especially those on cottons or linens) there is hope.
- Act fast to remove scorch marks. Remove the iron from the garment immediately and turn it off – don’t continue with your ironing. You should tackle the scorch mark as soon as possible.
- Rinse the garment in warm water. This will wash away any loose singed matter and prepare the item for pre-treatment.
- Soak in bleach (optional). Check the care label on your garment to make sure it is safe to use bleach on it. If so, you can then pre-treat the item further by soaking it in diluted bleach for about 15 minutes. A pre-soak can help improve your chances of removing scorch marks, but you should always consult the product’s label to learn the appropriate ratio of bleach and water to use. Always follow the safety instructions, such as wearing gloves and keeping children and pets out of the room. If your clothing can't take bleach, you can gently work in some neat laundry detergent (Persil liquid's Stain Eraser Ball makes this easy to do) to help loosen the stain.
- Pop the garment in the washing machine. After you’ve pre-treated the item, place it in the washing machine with a high quality laundry detergent. Switch the machine to the appropriate cycle and temperature, as recommended on the garment care label. If you have pre-soaked your item with a bleach and water solution and are washing other items at the same time, then make sure they are bleach-safe too.
- Dry in the sun. Once your wash cycle is finished, check if the scorch mark is less visible and hang the item out to dry in the sun. The sun’s natural brightening abilities may help to lighten the mark even more. Alternatively, you can try repeating the pre-treating and washing steps above for optimum results.
How to get rid of iron marks on clothes
As we mentioned above, unfortunately some severe scorch marks on clothes may be impossible to remove. However, by following the above tips, acting swiftly, and having some patience you may be able to remove scorch marks – or at least improve the appearance of lighter marks.
If the damage is permanent, it doesn’t mean you have to throw the item away. You could recycle the fabric into something new – perhaps a hair band or a belt – or you could try and fix the mark with some nifty sewing tricks (like covering it with a colourful patch).
Remember, prevention is key when it comes to scorch marks. Brush up on your ironing technique with our guide to ironing to avoid scorch marks on clothes happening again.