Iodine Stain Removal

Iodine may be a great antiseptic, but if you've ever tackled iodine stain removal, then you know that iodine works so well in part because it's so difficult to remove. Iodine literally binds to most surfaces from skin to upholstery, but that doesn't mean that an iodine stains are there to stay. If you attack an iodine stain quickly, then the prognosis looks positive for your stained items.

One important thing to note when working with iodine stains is that iodine and chlorine bleach do not mix. In fact, if you treat an iodine stain with chlorine bleach, you'll be disappointed to find that the stain is set for good; a chemical reaction between chlorine bleach and iodine usually results in a permanent discoloration.

Iodine Stain Removal

Iodine Stain Removal for Washable Fabrics

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Heavy Duty Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Protective Gloves
  • Dye Remover
  • Sodium Thiosulfate Crystals

Iodine's staining power is surpassed by few other substances. The reason for this is simple: iodine is a dye. Just like the dyes that manufacturers use to color clothing and other fabrics, iodine can be permanent unless it is removed from a fabric quickly.

Because iodine is a dye, a commercial dye removal product (found in the laundry aisle of most grocery or department stores) will guarantee the best results for removing iodine stains. However, dye remover is only for use on white fabrics or other fabrics you do not mind having the dye leached from. Using dye remover on colored fabrics will result in permanent fading or discoloration.

To remover iodine stains from white fabrics using a commercial dye remover, use the dye remover according to package instructions. Do not dry the fabric in the dryer until the iodine stain is completely removed; the heat from a dryer can permanently set iodine stains in fabrics.

For colored fabrics, sodium thiosulfate is the best way to remove iodine stains. A chemical used in pharmaceuticals and photo developing, sodium thiosulfate is available at most drugstores.

To use sodium thiosulfate to remove iodine stains:

  1. Don protective gloves.
  2. Rinse as much of the iodine out of the stain as possible using cold water.
  3. Mix a solution of one cup water and one teaspoon sodium thiosulfate, making sure the crystals are dissolved completely in the water.
  4. Apply the water/sodium thiosulfate to the fabric, saturating the stain.
  5. Allow to sit for several minutes; do not allow the water/sodium thiosulfate solution to dry on the fabric.
  6. Rinse the stain using cold water.
  7. Repeat steps 2-5 until the stain is removed.
  8. Wash as directed using heavy duty laundry detergent.
  9. Air dry; do not dry in a dryer until the stain is completely removed.

Iodine Stain Removal for Carpets and Upholstery

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Protective Gloves
  • Sodium Thiosulfate Crystals
  • Clean, white cloths

Removing Iodine stains from carpets and upholstery stains often requires perfect timing; let an iodine stain dry on carpets or upholstery, and the stain may set permanently, becoming impossible to remove. Work fast to better your chances of removing an iodine stain completely. Note: these instructions are intended for washable upholstery and carpets only.

To remove iodine stains from carpets and upholstery:

  1. Don protective gloves.
  2. Dampen a clean white cloth with water, and sponge as much of the stain out of the upholstery or carpet as possible, taking care not to spread the stain.
  3. Mix a solution of one cup water and one teaspoon sodium thiosulfate, making sure the crystals are dissolved completely in the water.
  4. Apply the water/sodium thiosulfate to the carpet or upholstery, saturating the stain.
  5. Allow to sit for several minutes; do not allow the water/sodium thiosulfate solution to dry on the carpet or upholstery.
  6. Sponge the stain with a clean white cloth.
  7. Rinse the stain by sponging with a clean white cloth dampened with water.
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 until the stain is removed.
  9. Allow to dry.

Iodine Stain Removal for Hard Surfaces

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Baking Soda
  • Clean White Cloth or Paper Towels
  • Nylon Scrubber Sponge

Iodine isn't just a stain concern on fabrics, carpets and upholstery. An iodine spill can just as easily stain hard surfaces like countertops, floors and sinks. As with fabrics, it's important not to use chlorine bleach to clean hard surfaces that have come in contact with iodine. The chemical reaction produced when chlorine bleach and iodine come together can stain any material, even hard surfaces.

Removing iodine from a hard surface, then, is often a matter of scouring the stain away. Baking soda is a safe alternative to scouring powders that contain chlorine bleach or other chemicals that can make matters worse. As an added bonus, baking soda is soft enough that there is little concern that it will scratch or etch surfaces.

As with fabrics, upholstery and carpets, it's best to attack the iodine stain as soon as possible to increase your odds of getting the stain out completely. Here's how to do it:

  1. Sponge the stain with a clean white cloth or paper towel dampened in water.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda liberally onto the stain.
  3. Work the baking soda into the stain by scrubbing with a nylon scrubber sponge.
  4. Wipe the baking soda residue away with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  5. Rinse by wiping with a damp cloth or paper towel.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until the stain is removed.