How to Remove Rust Stains From Hair

Updated April 17, 2017

Rust stains can be ugly in your hair, especially if your hair is blond. Rust stains are often caused by iron being in the water you use to wash your hair. Iron is very common in well water. Getting rust out of your hair can be tricky. You don't want to bleach your hair or do anything that would otherwise damage it. Not only will bleaching dry out your hair, but it doesn't work very well on rust stains. There are gentler and more effective ways to remove rust stains from your hair.

Squeeze one fresh lemon into a cup and add 1 tbsp vinegar. If your hair is very thick or long, you may need to double this recipe.

Saturate your hair in the mixture and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Cover with a plastic shower cap to keep the mixture from running into your eyes.

Rinse your hair.

Mix clarifying shampoo with one teaspoon of baking soda.

Lather it through your hair and rinse.

Follow up with a conditioner.


Prevent another rust build-up by using clarifying shampoo on a regular basis. Clarifying shampoos remove build-up and are designed to take minerals out of your hair. There are some shampoos that are marketed to use with well water. Any beauty store should have both of these types of shampoos. You can also prevent your hair from another rust stain by not letting your hair stay wet for long periods of time. Rust is caused by the reaction of iron and water, so nip the problem in the bud. If you insist on air-drying your hair, scrunch it with your hands and toss it around so it will dry as fast as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • clarifying shampoo
  • plastic shower cap
  • conditioner
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
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About the Author

Fred Wood is a freelance writer and producer based in New York who started writing in 2007. His work can be found at and he contributes to several TV news outlets in his tri-state area, including the CW and CBS networks. He specializes in news, health and lifestyle articles. He earned a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism from Jackson State University.