Skip to Content

How to Get Iodine Out of Clothes

If you use iodine regularly at work or to treat injuries, you’ve probably gotten it on your clothes a time or two. Iodine can leave behind a brown, orange, or yellow stain on clothes depending on the color of the clothes. So how to get those noticeable iodine stains out of your clothes?

To get iodine out of clothes, you’ll first want to rinse as much iodine out of the clothes as you can. Then, create a mixture of ammonia, laundry detergent, and water and soak the clothing. Wash the clothing; if the stain doesn’t come out, you can use sodium thiosulfate to spot clean the stain.

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about removing iodine stains from your clothes. By following the steps in this article, you should be able to remove most, if not all, of the iodine stain. I’ll also explain how to remove iodine from upholstery and carpets, if necessary.

How to Get Iodine Out of Clothes

Are Iodine Stains Permanent?

Iodine is considered to be and is used as a type of dye, particularly in the medical field. That said, iodine stains can easily become permanent if you don’t act quickly and use the right products to remove them. However, if you can treat the stain quickly and use the right products, there is a good chance that an iodine stain won’t be permanent and you can remove it.

If nothing else, you should be able to significantly reduce the size or color of the stain, especially on darker clothing. However, if you wash and dry iodine-stained clothing without attempting to remove the stain first, the stain will likely be permanent.

Can Iodine Be Washed Out of Clothes?

Iodine can be washed out of clothes. However, don’t expect the stain to come out just by throwing the clothing in the washing machine and washing it. The stain isn’t likely to come out just by using laundry detergent alone.

The best way to get iodine out of clothes is to pre-treat the stain before washing it. You’ll need to use the right products to remove the stain effectively. But if you don’t have a way to pre-treat it and want to start working on the stain as soon as possible, washing it without pre-treating it is a good option to remove some of the iodine.

If you don’t put the clothing in the dryer with the stain still on it, you can pre-treat the clothing afterward and wash it again. It’s possible that the iodine stain may still come out.

How to Get Iodine Out of Clothes

Are Iodine Stains Permanent

Iodine is harder to remove from most stains since it can be considered a type of dye. I’ve already mentioned that pre-treating the clothing as quickly as possible and then washing it is the best way to ensure that the stain comes out completely. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to remove the iodine stain.

1. Rinse the Stain

As soon as you spill iodine on your clothing, it’s a good idea to rinse the stain under warm, running water. This may not wash the stain out completely, but it will help keep it from setting, especially if you don’t have time to treat it right away. Rinse until you’ve removed as much of the stain as you can.

2. Create an Ammonia/Laundry Detergent Solution

Austin's 00051 Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner - 64 OunceAfter rinsing the stain, create a solution to soak the clothing in. Mix 4 cups of cool water, 1 tablespoon of ammonia, and ½ teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap, in a bowl or bucket.

If using laundry detergent, make sure that the laundry detergent does not contain bleach, and make sure not to mix any bleach into the solution. Mixing bleach and ammonia creates toxic fumes.

Soak the clothing in the solution for around 30 minutes.

3. Wash the Clothing

After 30 minutes:

  1. Remove the clothing from the solution.
  2. Wring or rinse the clothing to remove as much of the solution as possible.
  3. Wash the clothing in the washing machine using the normal settings.

If the stain comes out in the washing machine, you can dry the clothing. But if the stain is still there, avoid putting the clothing into the dryer, as it can cause the stain to set. Proceed to the next step instead.

4. Sodium Thiosulfate

Sodium Thiosulfate Pentahydrate 5 lbs by Cesco Solutions - for Pools, Aquarium, Pond, Hot TubsIf the stain doesn’t come out completely or the stain is older, you can use a chemical called sodium thiosulfate. You can buy this product on Amazon. Mixing sodium thiosulfate with water will create a stronger solution that will more effectively remove the iodine.

To create the solution, mix 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon sodium thiosulfate in a bowl. Dip a clean, white rag into the solution, then use it to blot the stain. The stain should start showing up on the cloth, so keep blotting until you’ve removed as much of the stain as possible.

Then, rinse the clothing under running water. Wash the clothing again, and if the stain doesn’t come out, spot clean it with sodium thiosulfate again. Repeat as necessary. When the stain has been removed, dry the clothing.

Can You Remove Iodine Stains with Bleach?

You may be tempted to use bleach to remove an iodine stain, especially on white clothing. However, you should not use bleach to remove iodine stains due to the properties of both bleach and iodine. Using them together can cause a reaction that can set the stain and cause it to become permanent. It’s better to use the methods above to remove iodine stains from clothing.

How to Get Iodine Out of Upholstery

If you’ve gotten iodine on upholstery, getting it out can be trickier since it’s hard to soak and wash upholstery. The best method for getting iodine out of upholstery is to mix 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in a bowl. Stir to make sure the two are evenly mixed.

Next, wet a clean, white cloth with the solution. Use it to blot the stain and you should start to see the stain coming off. Make sure the stain is soaked with the solution, then let the stain soak for around 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes:

  1. Blot the stain again.
  2. Repeat the soaking and blotting process until you’ve removed as much of the stain as possible.
  3. If the stain is still there, create a mixture of water and sodium thiosulfate in the above ratio and apply it to the stain using an eyedropper.

Then, apply a couple of drops of ammonia using an eyedropper. Be careful not to use too much because ammonia may cause fabric discoloration. Then, blot the stain until all of the iodine has been removed. Blot the area with another clean cloth soaked in water to rinse the area and allow the area to dry.

How to Get Iodine Out of Carpet

Getting iodine on your carpet is another instance in which it will be harder to remove. The best way to remove iodine from carpet is to first start by applying a dry cleaning solvent to the stain. Spray the dry cleaning solvent directly onto the stain or a clean cloth, and then blot the stain with the cloth.

Repeat this process to remove as much of the iodine as possible. Then, mix 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish detergent to blot the stain. If that doesn’t remove the stain completely, blot the stain with vinegar.

If the vinegar doesn’t remove the stain completely, create a solution of ½ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of ammonia. Dip another clean cloth into the solution, blot, and dab at the stain. Finally, rinse the area with cool water to remove all chemical residues.


Iodine is considered a dye and can be hard to remove from clothing. You’ll want to treat the stain as quickly as possible with a solution of water, ammonia, and laundry detergent before washing the clothing. As long as you act quickly, you should be able to remove the iodine.