1. Home

Discuss in my forum

How to Remove Metal Button Stains on Clothes


How to Remove Metal Button Stains on Clothes

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Question: How to Remove Metal Button Stains on Clothes

Metal buttons can leave stains on clothing if they tarnish or rub excessively on the fabric. Learn how to remove the stains.


Less expensive "gold" buttons are made with plated metals or very low karat gold that can react with the air, your skin or cosmetics and change colors. Even sterling silver buttons will tarnish or oxide as it reacts with skin and clothing and that tarnish can be transferred to your clothing.

What causes the problem? Make-up is the most common cause of the blackening or smudging. Cosmetics and lotions often contain chemical compounds that when in contact with the metals wear or rub off very tiny particles of metal which appear as black dust and smudges. Perspiration on our skin produces mild chemicals that are enough to cause corrosion of 14 karat gold much less cheaper metals.

To remove the stains from a washable garment, turn the garment inside out and flush the stained area with cold water. This should force the metallic particles out of the fibers; then launder as usual. Check the area after washing. If a stain remains, prepare a solution of all-fabric or oxygen bleach and cool water and allow the stain to soak for several hours and relaunder.

If the garment is dry clean only, point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

Specific questions? Just ask here.

  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Laundry & Laundry Rooms
  4. Remove Stains & Odor
  5. How to Remove Metal Button Stains on Clothes

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.