sticky seed on dress

How to Get Sticky Seeds (Burrs) Off Clothing

After a day of hiking, there’s nothing better than kicking off your shoes and socks and snuggling up with a cuppa. That is until you spot a burr amongst your things.

Burrs are spiky, sticky seeds that attach themselves to tops, trousers, shoes, coats and even pets. They seem to hook onto garments as if their lives depend on it, get into every nook and cranny, and are difficult to remove.

But before you dash off and bin your burr-y items, find out how you can de-burr your clothes so you can save them! Read on to find out more.


How Do You Get Sticky Burrs Off Clothes?

Take note of the following

  • Don’t use a razor (like one you’d shave with). This type of tool will just shave off the outer section of the burr and will not remove the hook that’s embedded in the material’s fibres.
  • The methods below will take time to carry out, so be patient. Depending on the scale of the issue, you could spend a few minutes to over an hour sorting it out.
  • Be careful when cleaning burrs off delicate materials. Finer fabrics are more likely to snag or rip when you remove the seeds from them. Work very slowly and always opt for plastic tools or pluck the burrs off these types of fabrics so that you can limit the potential damage.
  • You may notice that you’ll have to use a combination of the options below to remove all the burrs from your outfit. This is not uncommon!
  • When removing burrs from clothes, deposit the seeds in a bowl so you can get rid of them when you’re done. If you drop the burrs on the floor, they will find a place to regrow or attach themselves to another host!


Method 1: Comb off the burrs

comb off burrs

The simplest way to remove burrs from clothes is to grab a fine-tooth comb (the same thing that you use to do your hair) and comb the burrs off the material.

Follow these steps:

  1. Grab your tools, clear your workspace, and ensure the floor is covered.
  2. Lay your burr-filled item of clothing on a flat, covered surface.
  3. Gently comb the burrs off the item one section of material at a time.
  4. Place the burrs in a dish to the side so you can dispose of them later on.
  5. Repeatedly comb the item until all the burrs are gone.
  6. Clean out the bristles on your comb regularly.
  7. When you’re done, dispose of the burrs and clean the floor – you don’t want anybody stepping on the burrs.
  8. Check the clothes you’re wearing for burrs – one or two may be stuck to you. Remove them accordingly.

Tip: A stiff brush would do the trick. Just be careful you don’t snag your clothes.


Method 2: Remove the sticky seeds with a specialised tool

burr remover

If burrs are a regular feature in your life, it would be a good idea to invest in a tool that can remove these pesky seeds from your clothes.

A gadget like BurzOff is the ideal piece to have at hand if you’re an avid hiker who treks through burr-filled trails.

The lightweight tool, which is made from recycled glass and kind of resembles an off-grey sponge, can be used to brush burrs (of several varieties) off a wealth of different surfaces, including fabric garments (like fleece and denim), shoes, furniture and carpets.

BurzOff makes easy work of removing burrs from items of clothing. Plus, you can use it when you’re out and about, which is great because it means you can brush yourself down before entering the car, caravan or home!


Method 3: Use a lint roller

lint roller

A lint roller is essentially a barrel-shaped roll of sticky tape attached to the end of a handle. Its purpose is to remove fluff, dust and hair from clothes. However, it can also be used to remove some seeds from items of clothing.

Just lay your burry item on a flat surface, then grab a tool like SOL’s Lint Remover and start rolling the adhesive tape over the sticky seeds.

In a few brushes, you’ll notice that the burrs will have detached themselves from your item and will be stuck to the sticky tape.

When the tape is full of burrs, you can rip it off and start the process over again!


Method 4: Use your fingers to de-burr your outfits

de-burr sweater by hand

It may be a little time-consuming, but you could always sit down and remove the burrs by hand.

Of course, it’s a long-winded and tedious process, but it does get good results. Some would say that once you start the picking activity, it can be pretty meditative! I’ll let you decide on that one.

To try this out, just put some gloves on and start picking the burrs off your item (one section at a time). You can dispose of the burrs in a pot and get rid of them when you’re finished picking. There’s literally nothing more to it!

The only things you need to watch out for are the spiky edges – but that’s why you need to wear gloves – and that the clothes you’re wearing don’t get coated in seeds.


Method 5: Duct Tape those pesky seeds away

duct tape for sticky seeds removal

The Duct Tape method is a cheap and cheerful way of dealing with your burr-y problem. It’s super simple to carry out and can solve your issue quickly if done correctly.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Lay your burr-filled item of clothing on a flat, covered surface.
  2. Grab your Duct Tape and cut a short piece off.
  3. Stick the piece of Duct Tape on a burry section of material.
  4. Press down firmly on the Duct Tape.
  5. Remove the tape and watch as the burrs cling to the adhesive side of the tape – don’t rip the tape off because you’ll pull out the fibres at the same time.
  6. Repeat the steps above for the rest of your outfit.


Method 6: Tweezer your way through the mountain of burrs


It may seem daft to sit down and pluck every burr off your outfit. However, this is a gentle approach and ensures that you remove each burr with care—don’t just rip the seeds off the material.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Grab your tools, clear your workspace, and ensure the floor is covered.
  2. Lay your burr-filled item of clothing on a flat, covered surface.
  3. Grab your tweezers.
  4. Start plucking off every burr you see.
  5. Place the burrs in a tub to one side so you can dispose of them later on.
  6. Continue plucking until all the burrs are gone.


Will Burrs Come Out in the Wash?

The agitation of the washing machine, combined with the hot water, can certainly loosen the burrs’ grip on your clothes. In turn, some sticky seeds may fall off during the washing process.

However, the likelihood of all burrs coming off in one go is low. You’ll likely have to remove the remaining burrs using the methods mentioned above.

Keep in mind that eliminating the burrs is just one part of the process. You must also clean out your washing machine. If you skip this step, stray sticky seeds will get stuck in your other laundry!

In addition, loose burrs may get stuck in your washing machine and may cause problems (for example, blockages).

With this in mind, it may be better for you to remove the sticky seeds before washing your garments so that you don’t have to take this risk.


Will Burrs Come Out on Their Own?

sticky seeds or burrs on pants

Burrs, or sticky seeds, usually attach themselves to fabrics and remain in situ until they’re manually removed from a surface. For example, you have to comb, lint roller, or Duct Tape them off.

Sometimes burrs will transfer between surfaces if there is friction involved. But in most cases, the seeds have a firm grip on the fibres they’re hooked onto and don’t move around too much.

It’s unlikely that the sticky seeds will drop off your clothes without some form of interaction or friction.


Do You Have to Remove Burrs from Clothes?

It’s a good idea to remove burrs from your clothes as soon as possible because:

  • You can keep your clothes in great condition – no holes, snags and rips to worry about.
  • You can prevent skin irritation (red or itchy patches).
  • You won’t contaminate your other clothes with sticky seeds.
  • You won’t spread the burrs around your home – onto the sofa, cushions, hair or a pet, for example.