How Do I Get Iron Out of Water?


By Rich Fitzmorris

Question: How do I get the iron out of my water? It is turning my towels yellow.

Answer:  Generally .5 ppm of iron will stain and discolor white textiles. Chlorine is not a good choice for washing textiles when there is any significant amount of iron present in the water. The best way to wash under the conditions where iron is present is to use oxygen bleaches.  When using commercial laundry equipment, an iron removing sour can strip iron or control the presence depending upon the concentration of the bath, and lower pH value of the water in the bath.

When iron is causing significant textile cleaning and whiteness problems in a laundry operation, I recommend installing a water softening system that utilizes de-iron salt pellets.  A water softener can remove up to .2-.3 ppm of iron. This approach has great benefits for cleaning, whiting, and maintaining tensile strength of the textile fabric over more costly chemical alternatives.

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Rich Fitzmorris is a veteran of the laundry industry. Rich retired after 42 years at Sunburst Chemicals. Although he headed up various Sunburst business sectors throughout his career, prior to retiring, Rich was Senior Vice President Professional Textile Chemistry, where he oversaw the company’s Large Laundry Division, laundry product development and chemical technology. Presently, he is putting his experience to work consulting in the areas of industrial and commercial laundry wash processes, chemistry, production, utilities, formulas and cost reductions.