3 Easy Ways to Get Burrs Out of Clothes

If you like hiking or going on a picnic out in an open field, you might encounter a problem that involves burr. These dried seeds stick to your clothing and penetrate through, which irritates your skin. Sometimes, suitable clothing is thrown because it is filled with burrs.

What are burrs?

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Burr or bur are spiky seeds from plants that stick to furs of animals, coats, or even clothing that people wear. The end of their spikes is bent, and so when they attach to something, it hooks on the fabric and makes it difficult to come off.

These spiky seeds use furs of animals or clothes from humans to fulfill their goal, which is to reproduce in other places. When they get off the moving host they clung on, the seed will root on the land and repeat its process again.

There are different types of burrs, and it is noticeable with their different sizes. There is a slight burr, sometimes even almost microscopic like the hedge parsley, and occasionally big that can cause a flat tire like the Devil’s claw. Some look like an insect and so named like an insect such as the beggar’s ticks.

Can clothes filled with burrs still be saved?

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Many people do not know that these burrs can be easily removed with the proper methods. And so, there are people, mostly hikers, who throw delicate garments just because it is filled with burrs.

There are many methods of removing burrs. There are also products that hikers use for pet owners since animals with fur are also targeted by these spiky seeds. However, some methods do not require buying expensive tools, and you might even find them in your home.

What to do when there are burrs on the clothes?

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Having burrs clinging at your clothes is not the end of fashion. When you find burrs, you may try to take them out with your fingers carefully first. Some are not penetrated enough through the fabrics and can be easily removed.

However, if there are burrs left and stubborn to be removed by hand, you may try some techniques and methods. There are no chemicals needed, and all of them are safe to do.

Make sure to have somewhere to properly dispose of the spiky seeds as well as burs tend to grow roots on where they land. They will just regrow and find another moving host to the target if this happens.

Clothes worn by a human traveling is not the only moving host that the burrs like. They also cling to furry animals, especially dogs who play on the fields and roll around.

Can burrs just be washed off by washing machine?

remove burrs from clothing

The first thing people might try if plucking one by one did not work is to just wash the clothes and hope that the burrs will come off quickly. Sometimes, what they do works just fine, but most of the time. But to increase the chances for it to be successful, you may do as listed below.

  1. Set the washing machine as delicate as possible and the water temperature to hot.
  2. Put the clothes with burrs in the washing machine.
  3. Once done, put the clothes in the dryer to dry.
  4. Check if there are still burrs attached to the clothing and remove them by hand.

The washing machine’s swirling water and the agitation from the dryer will make the burrs lose and may fall off. If not, it will still be easier to pluck them than before washing the clothes.

How to use fine-tooth plastic comb to remove burrs out of clothes?

how to get burrs off clothing

You may be using a fine-tooth comb to fix your hair; may it be plastic or metal. But this hygiene tool can also be used to remove the irritating burrs off your hiking pants.

Find a fine-tooth comb. It can be either plastic or metal.

  1. Spread the clothing to a flat and clean working space.
  2. Use the plastic or metal fine-tooth comb to comb through the burrs.
  3. Remove burrs that are between the comb bristles.
  4. Repeat the process until all burrs are gone.

Why plastic or metal fine-tooth comb?

Burrs tend to attach to the fabric of clothes or to the fur of animals because it is easier for them to hold onto. But because there are no spaces between metal and plastic, there is no place to cling themselves into. Plus, you may clean your fine-tooth comb and use it again.

How to use duct tape to remove burrs out of clothes?

removing burrs from clothing

If you are hiking, camping, or fishing, you might bring along with you some essential tools, including a handy duct tape. The method will help hikers or campers in the middle of their tracks and disturbed by these burrs. There are two methods you may do this.

1st method:

  1. Cut a piece of duct tape that will cover the area with burrs.
  2. Place the duct tape on the area with burrs and pat it in.
  3. Pull the duct tape off the clothing slowly to avoid bringing the fabric with the tape.

2nd method:

  1. Cut a long piece of duct tape.
  2. Fold the duct tape with the sticky side outside and make a circle, attaching the ends to each other.
  3. Wear the circular duct tape in your hands.
  4. Dab the duct tape over where there are burrs until they come off.
  5. Repeat the process with other burrs.

Duct tape is extremely sticky, so it works well on removing burrs out of the clothes. The burrs will stick into it, and no mess will be made. This method is the way to go if you hike or camp because the tool you need is already with you.

How to remove the burrs out of clothes using tweezers?

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Another method you may use at home that you might already have it laying around is tweezers, especially for women. You may also utilize a plier for those who have power tool kits at home in case of an emergency.

  1. Lay out the clothing in a flat working space.
  2. Have a bucket or anywhere to put the burrs beside you.
  3. Using either tweezers or pliers, pluck the burr and put it in the bucket or bin.
  4. Repeat the process until all the burr is gone.

You might need patience with this method. This is similar to plucking the burrs out of your clothes one by one, except it can also get the stubborn ones out. The plus-size to this method is it is neat and clean, and you can assure that all the burrs are out of the clothes.

What not to do when removing burrs out of clothes?

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These methods are easy to do to remove burrs out of clothes. However, there are still things to remember when doing the process or not to do before starting the process.

1. Never use a razor

You might think that you can just slice the burrs away with a sharp razor, cutting the spikes off them. However, that’s the problem. The tips will remain in the fabric and make it harder to remove. If you are also not careful, you might cut the material yourself.

2. When using a metallic comb, make sure that the fabric of your clothes is not delicate.

If so, opt for the plastic ones so that it is gentle and will not ruin the material of your clothes. Be soft as possible.

3. Remember to pull the duct tape slowly when removing the burrs and not in a swift motion.

The threads might become loose and stick to the duct tape, damaging the clothing.

4. Next time you buy hiking clothes, choose high-density woven nylon fabric.

Burs cannot stick to this material and will fall when it comes to contact.

You do not need to waste your clothes again because it is full of burrs. You may try these methods when at home or even while hiking to deal with the irritating burrs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can I do these methods in my sweater?

Because the fabric of sweaters is soft and delicate, the best way to deal with burrs in this type of clothing is by tweezers or pliers. This way, you can focus on just the burrs and have total control over the plucking.

2. Are burrs dangerous when not removed?

Burrs are not life-threatening but can cause skin irritation when poking you through the clothing. It is best to remove the spiky seeds as soon as possible.

3. Can I just wash my clothes?

You may remove some of the burrs by washing machine and dryer, but there is no guarantee that it will remove all the burrs out of clothes. Doing the method above will just increase the chances of clearing the burrs.


Whether you are an avid hiker or just love running around the fields, having burrs attached to your clothes is a major recurring issue. Follow any of these steps when you face this challenge again.


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