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How to Remove a Dried Water Stain on Fabric

Updated November 22, 2016

Finding a stain on any garment can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know how to remove it. While soap and water work well for most stains, what do you do when the stain is a water stain? To remove a dried water stain on fabric you’ll need to “fight fire with fire,” so to speak, and attack that stain with the right application of steam until it disappears.

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  1. Open out an old towel and spread it over your ironing board to cover as much surface as you need for the item you will be working with.

  2. Turn your item inside out so the stained area is on the inside. Set your stained fabric on the towel with the stain facing down toward the ironing board.

  3. Turn your iron onto the appropriate setting for the type of fabric you are going to work with. Dampen a wash cloth and press the wash cloth down on the stained clothing to wet the area well.

  4. Iron over the damp clothing area, moving the iron to a new spot every five seconds, to force steam into the water stain to release it. Continue to iron until the clothing is no longer damp.

  5. Turn the clothing right side out and check for signs of the stain. If the stain is gone then you are done. If any sign of the stain is still present then repeat the above steps until all of the stain is gone.

  6. Tip

    If your iron has a steam setting you can use it in addition to dampening the fabric. You can also use this technique for stained curtains, but you’ll want to check the label to make sure it is safe to iron. If the drapes are “dry clean only” then contact a professional cleaner before attempting to treat the stain yourself.


    Don’t rub or scrub the stain or you may grind it further into the fibres of your garment.

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Things You'll Need

  • Ironing board
  • Old white towel
  • Stained clothing
  • Old wash cloth
  • Water
  • Iron

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