iodine stain on clothes

How to Get Iodine Out of Clothes

Iodine may be great at disinfecting cuts and scrapes. But it’s a totally different story when you get the brownish-orange stain on your clothes.

The iodine leaves a major eyesore on your outfit, and the only thing you can do is get rid of it. But how do you remove iodine from clothes so the problem doesn’t escalate?

Follow the steps below, and your garment will be iodine-free in no time.


Will Iodine Stain Clothes?

iodine bottle and dropper

Yes, iodine can stain your clothes, mainly if it is left on the surface for too long without being treated. Try to remove iodine from your outfit as soon as a mishap occurs – follow the steps below.


Tips to Consider Before Dealing with Iodine on Clothes

woman getting iodine bottle

Just a few points to take note of when removing iodine from clothes:

  • Iodine is a dye, so you must act fast and remove it from your garment! Otherwise, your item will be permanently stained with ingrained iodine – it’s not a great look.
  • Always test your chosen cleaning solution on an inconspicuous patch of material before using it to treat the iodine stain. If you don’t do this, you risk discolouring or damaging your garment.
  • Don’t dry iodine-stained items until they are free from iodine. Heat will set the stain and make it harder to remove. So, always check your garment before you dry it.
  • You may have to treat your iodine-stained garment more than once to remove the orange blemish from it.
  • Don’t mix iodine with bleach. If you treat an iodine-stained item with bleach, the stain will set and become difficult to remove.
  • Treat iodine stains with cold water. Hot water will set the stain and will make it challenging to eradicate.
  • Make sure you read the care label on your item of clothing, so you wash it and dry it correctly.
  • If you’ve got iodine on your hands, wash them first and then treat your garment. Otherwise, you’ll spread the iodine around and have more cleaning to do.
  • If you plan on using an off-the-shelf stain remover, adhere to the instructions on the packaging. And always do a patch test with it!
  • Try to contain the iodine stain so it doesn’t coat and taint other surfaces around your house, like carpets, furniture, and worktops.


How to Remove Iodine from Clothes

iodine stain on clothes

Tools you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • Running cold water
  • Half a teaspoon of non-bio liquid laundry detergent (has to be bleach-free)
  • A tablespoon of ammonia
  • Four cups of cold water
  • Large tub
  • Optional: Washing machine


Steps to follow:

running stain under cold water

  1. Pop some gloves on.
  2. Grab your iodine-stained item and turn it inside out so the back of the stain faces up.
  3. Flush cold water through the back of the stain so that it doesn’t set.
  4. Hold the item under running water for a few minutes.
  5. In a clean tub, mix half a teaspoon of non-bio liquid laundry detergent (it must be bleach-free, or you’ll get nasty fumes when it’s combined with ammonia!), a tablespoon of ammonia and four cups of cold water.
  6. Pop your iodine-stained item in the water. Make sure the stain is completely covered.
  7. Wait 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the item from the mixture.
  9. Gently press the water out of the material.
  10. Launder the garment as usual.
  11. Check the item after it has been washed.
  12. Repeat the steps above if there is still a stain on the item.


Alternative methods

white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and sodium thiosulfate

You can also treat an iodine stain using these alternatives:

  • Spot-treat your garment with the mixture created in Step 5 (above) if you can’t soak the item in a tub. Just dip a neutral-coloured cloth into the mixture and dab the stain. Then, continue with the steps listed above.
  • White vinegar and water can treat some iodine stains. Fill a bowl with a third of a cup of white vinegar and then add two-thirds of a cup of cold water to it. Dip a neutral-coloured cloth into the solution and dab the solution onto the iodine stain. When you’re done, blot the stain with a clean, damp cloth and wash the garment as usual.
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used to treat some iodine stains. Pour a generous amount of hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stain, wait a few minutes, then blot the area with a damp, neutral-coloured cloth and rinse the garment clean. You can repeat these steps before you launder your item of clothing. Just keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide may have a bleaching effect on your clothes, so test the solution before you use it and use it with care.
  • Clean old stains using a cup of cold water and a teaspoon of sodium thiosulfate. Just dip a neutral-coloured cloth into the solution and blot the iodine stain. As you dab the stain, the dye will transfer onto the cloth. When you’re done, rinse the garment and launder it as usual.
  • It is possible to treat some iodine stains with a multipurpose specialist stain remover. However, this method yields mixed results, and the type and brand of cleaner you use significantly affect how well the iodine blemish disappears from your outfit. Keep in mind that not all materials (like delicate ones) can be treated with official stain removers!
  • Taking your stained item of clothing to a dry cleaning store is also an option. Dry cleaners have access to different tools and cleaning solutions, so they may be able to treat your troublesome pieces – delicate items and vintage clothes, for example. An online search will bring up suitable cleaners in your area – just pick a reputable company with glowing reviews.

Note: Do not mix cleaning chemicals together. If you do this, you will trigger a chemical reaction and poisonous gases will be released into the air.


Preventing Future Iodine Mishaps

gloves holding iodine

It may be impossible to stop iodine from getting onto your clothes, especially if you have a job where it’s used daily. However, there are ways you can protect your outfits from iodine.

Consider the following:

  • Cover up your clothes properly before handling iodine.
  • Make sure you wear gloves when working with the solution. You can remove your gloves when you’re done.
  • Try not to wipe your hands on your clothes if you’re handling iodine.
  • Wear old clothes when working with iodine. And then wear these clothes every time you handle iodine, so you don’t dirty your other garments.