For most of us who live in Indiana rust, lime, and calcium deposits in our water is a part of our daily routine (Boo…hiss). A Water Softener is a practical must have if you don’t want to fight a constant battle of rust on your clothes and calcium/lime build up on water fixtures, glass shower doors and your John. Personally, my water softener is about 30 years old. It came with the home we bought last year and replacing it has been on the bottom of our list. In human years that may mean I’m in my prime but in water softener years it means “I’m dying, I’m about to give up the ghost, cough cough, it’s been a good run kid…” No amount of rust removing salt is going to make this machine come back to life. During this weeks laundry the water softener threw a knock out blow, my favorite duvet cover has huge rust marks all over it! I took a picture so you can see what I was working with. My life mission, get out these rust stains and get a new water softener!!
With any mission, research is a must and I found out some information that I did not know. Shocker, bleach WILL NOT get rust stains out. In fact, it will make your stains worse, so good thing I avoided my first instinct to bleach the crap out of my duvet! I’ve found a lot of great rust removers over the first year in our new home and 8 years of cleaning professionally. Whink, Goof Off, and Armstrong, make the best rust removers. In my opinion, CLR does not work unless you have light build up of calcium and lime and it does not touch rust. Lime-A-Way spray work well on light build up, but the toilet bowl gel is the heavy weight champion on super hard water build up. You can read all about Bar Keeper’s in our previous post, if you want a more all natural solution. I read that lemon also removes rust but you must soak the stain for about a day, so if you have a ton of time on your hands, lemon it up.
Back to my soiled duvet…I tried first to spray the stain with Spray and Wash, which is my usual stain treatment. I let it soak, washed again and no luck. Rust is still there.
Try number two, I had a small amount of rust remover that I could add to the laundry in a dry powder form, Iron Out. It called for 1/2 a cup. I had significantly less than that but I gave it a shot…failure.
Third time’s a charm, right? This time I tested a small area to insure colorfastness and sprayed the duvet directly with Goof Off. I noticed that the marks began to disappear immediately!!
I rewashed the duvet with no detergent and then washed it a second time with detergent to make sure we weren’t sleeping with harsh chemicals on our skin. Plus I am kind of a scent nerd and like my clothes and sheets to smell good!
I am now going to do some research on a new water softener and kick that old machine to the curb! Happy Cleaning!!