The easiest way to get rid of burrs out of clothes is with a comb, which does a great job at getting underneath them and flicking them to the ground. For an effective yet time-consuming solution, tweezers are a good alternative.
Ever been on a beautiful walk only to find you suddenly have seeds stuck to your clothes? I have, and it’s very annoying! They are difficult and frustrating to remove if you try and pick them off one-by-one.
Here I’m going to take a look at exactly what burrs are, how you can avoid them in the future, and give you all the best methods of how to get burrs out of clothes. Let’s take a look!
What Are Burrs?
If you’re wondering exactly what burrs are then you’re not alone. A burr is essentially a spiked seed head that is designed to catch on animal fur, which will then spread far and wide. There are a huge variety of plants that use this type of pollination, which means that burrs can come in all shapes and sizes.
Due to their spiky nature, removing them by hand can quickly become painful. If you have several burrs on your clothes, then it can often take a lot of time to remove them all. You can also have the added annoyance of those little spikes ruining the fabric of your clothes.
They are often found on plants such as bursage, blackberry, and coyote brush. Burrs can cause irritation and pain if they attach to the skin, which is why you should avoid the temptation of wearing shorts or a t-shirt if you’re going to come into contact with them.
Most Popular Way to Remove Burrs
Now you know what they are, you should hopefully have a better understanding of how they need to be removed. The way they latch onto you is quite similar to a Velcro strip with its hook and loop system. The hooks of the burrs attach to the loops in your clothes.
Have you ever tried taking Velcro off from an angle? If you have, then you’ll know it’s much harder than if you try and lift it straight up. This is the same with burrs. If you try and pull it, then they’ll be more resistance, and a higher chance you’ll damage your clothes.
That being said, trying to lift up dozens of tiny burrs would be a painfully slow and annoying process, so the technique you should use depends on their size. Here we’ll see what the best methods are for removing burrs, starting with the one I mentioned in the intro.
Hopefully, you already have a comb with you and if so, it’ll be the easiest method of removing burrs. All you need to do is slide it underneath the burr until you’re directly under it and then lift it straight up.
How careful you need to be will depend on the size of the burr. For bigger ones, it’s best to take extra care as they can cause more damage. If you’re covered in smaller burrs, then you can use the comb to sweep across several at once and lift them out.
A standard comb works very well for this but you’ll need one that has very fine teeth, especially if the burs are small.
Many people say that you should just throw your burr-laden clothes into your washer and forget about it. The reason why it’s effective is that the water will soften the burr and the motion of the washer will remove it from your clothes. While this can be an effective solution, it does have some problems
The problem is that those burrs can quickly clog up your filter and cause another problem. If you wanted to use your washer then the best idea is to try and pick as many of the burrs out of your clothes as possible and then if there are any tiny bits you couldn’t get, then use your washer.
If you’re finding the burrs difficult to remove and want to soften them, then you could soak them in water instead. This will soften the burrs and you can then easily take them off.
Another method that is often advised is duct tape but I’m not a big fan of this tactic. The reason for that is two-fold. Firstly, it’s simply not that effective. The method states that you should roll it around your hand with the sticky side facing out. It just doesn’t do a good job at picking up the burrs when compared to other methods.
The other reason I wouldn’t advise it is because it and ruin your clothes. Constantly applying duct tape will lift fibers and cause a fluffy surface on the fabric. Feel free to give this a try but it’s not a great way to remove burrs.
If you care deeply about ensuring that your clothes aren’t damaged by the burrs then tweezers are a great solution. You can make it even more effective by making the burrs damp with a spray of water. You can then individually pick the burrs out of your clothes.
You probably already know the downside of doing this, if you have dozens of burrs on your clothes then it’s going to take a very long time. If you only have a handful of larger burrs, then it makes tweezers a more attractive solution.
Similar to a comb, using a brush can be a good solution but as you may have guessed, there are drawbacks here too. Using a brushing motion makes it more likely that the burrs will tear at the fabric of the clothes on the way to being removed.
Also, there’s a good chance that those burrs will just get stuck on the brush instead so you’re just transferring the problem. That being said, you can then just rinse the brush underwater and they should come away quite quickly.
Thin rigid material/Blunt knife
Any flat or thin material can be a good way of getting rid of burrs in a similar way to the comb method. This could be something like a credit card, ruler, or blunt knife. While this can be great for larger burrs, it may struggle to get under smaller burrs.
It’s best to try and get rid of burrs as soon as possible so if you find them your clothes, you can try and find a card or something similar to get rid of them right away.
Aside from a comb, I’d say this was the most effective way at getting rid of burrs. It works surprisingly well as the circular shape seems to get under the burr and then you can flick it away.
As with a comb, it usually means your burr problem will have gone away in a few minutes.
Sadly, a bottle top from something like a coke bottle will usually be too small for the job. It’s better to use a much wider cap such as that on a spray can. You should hopefully have several of these caps on top of your household cleaning products.
There is a product out there that was made for getting rid of burrs which is called BurzOff. It’s not a miracle solution that will get rid of them instantly but can be very effective and is similar in that respect to a fine-tooth comb.
It’s not very expensive and therefore if you frequently come into contact with burrs then it would be a good idea to get one. If you’re trying to remove burrs for what is hopefully the first and the last time, it may not be worth it.
The Best Method for Removing Burrs Out Of Clothes
With all that info, let’s look at the best method for removing burrs. First, we’ll show you the quick way of getting rid of them as soon as possible and then we’ll look at the best way to get rid of them without damaging your clothes.
The easy way
- Burrs are easiest to remove soon after they’ve attached. If possible, don’t wait until you get home to remove them.
- Grab a comb and slide it underneath the burrs to flick them away.
- Continue this process until all the burrs have been removed.
- If there are still stubborn bits of burr on your clothes, it’s best to put them in the washer.
The delicate way
- Once you see burrs on your clothes, don’t try and flick them or scrape them away.
- Lay your clothes down on a flat surface and pick each one away with tweezers.
- If you find that you’re getting quite a lot of resistance from the burr, dampen the clothes, ideal with a water spray bottle.
- If you’re struggling to remove all the pieces of plant life, hand wash your clothes.
The method you choose will ultimately be down to your preferences. It will depend on how big the burrs are, how many of them are attached to your clothes, how much your care about the fabric of your clothes, and what you have available.
How to Avoid Burrs
There are several tips for avoiding burrs in the first place. The most simple is to try and avoid walking or hiking in areas with plants that produce burrs. If you stick to the dedicated path then it’s unlikely that you’ll ever come into contact with burrs.
It can be hard to immediately see which plants have burrs and which don’t, so you may want to educate yourself on burr plants in your local area so you know to avoid them. Burdock is one of the most common but there are many different varieties out there.
If you don’t want the hassle of scraping off burrs then there may be a temptation to wear short clothing so that your skin is exposed instead. This is not a good idea as burrs can still stick to your skin or hair, and removing them can be quite painful.
One change you can make if you’re frequently coming into contact with burr is to change your clothing type. The fluffier clothes (such as fleece and wool) the more likely burrs are to stick to you. Clothing with a fleece liner but a waterproof outer can give you the warmth you need while still giving you protection from burrs.
As I mentioned earlier, burrs are nature’s Velcro so to stop them, you’ll want your clothes to have as few ‘loops’ as possible for them to hook on to.
FAQs on How To Get Burrs Out Of Clothes
When should I remove burrs?
The best time to remove burrs from our clothes is as soon as possible. If you wait too long, the burrs will become embedded in the fabric and will be more difficult to remove.
What is the best method for removing burrs?
If you want to remove it quickly and efficiently, I’d recommend a fine-tooth comb. For minimal clothing damage, tweezers would be the best choice. The best alternative to these methods is to use a large bottle/can cap.