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How To Get Burrs Out Of Clothes: 6 Effective Methods

Have you ever been out for a picnic or a casual walk in the woods only to find numerous thorny seed-like things attached to your clothes?

These are burrs that typically stick on virtually anything— pants, shoes, hair, or animal fur.

Burrs attach themselves to the host to spread their seed pods. They might appear non-troubling until you remove them.

It can be laborious and pretty challenging since you always have a whole lot spread all over your clothes. Besides, you could hurt yourself trying to remove them as they carry these numerous small spikes that easily pierce through the skin. 

Luckily, we got some straightforward tips to help you get burrs out of clothes and some pitfalls to avoid. Let’s get going. 


What Are Burrs? 

A burr is a seed or a dry fruit with hooks or teeth. Various plants produce burrs, such as the Burdock (Arctium), a member of the Asteraceae family. The plant is native to Europe and Asia but has since spread to other parts of the world.


Burrs have the end of their hooks bent, making it easy for them to attach to fabric but hard to get off. The clinging property is a seed dispersal mechanism.

Once the seed gets off the moving host, it establishes on land and produces burrs of its own— ensuring the continuity of the plant species.


Some common burr-producing plants include

  • Beggar ticks 
  • Burdock 
  • Foxtail 
  • Queen 
  • Queen Annalice’s

Why Should You Remove Burrs From Your Clothes?

Why must you remove burrs from your clothes? Wouldn’t it just be easy to throw these clothes and buy new ones? However, that’s not an option if the piece of cloth is your favorite.

Also, it could be something that holds a special place in your heart.

Besides, tiny burs may remain hidden and may not get dislodged entirely even after a thorough wash. They could cause skin irritation and injuries at worse.

You’re better off safe than sorry. That said, you should note that certain fabric types are more resistant to burrs than others.

For example, cotton duck canvas is rugged and tightly woven, making it a more resistant fabric to burrs. On the flip side, a delicate fabric like silk tends to pull almost everything along its path. 

A Step-by-Step Guide To Removing Burrs From Your Clothes 

Removing burrs from clothing can be a daunting task because of the tedious work involved. Start by collecting the materials required below:

Materials You’ll Need 

  • Duct tape 
  • Tooth comb 
  • Washing machine
  • Clothesline or Dryer 

Method 1: Wash/ Soak Clothes in Hot Water

Start by removing the larger ones manually with your fingers. Remove as many as you can.

The next step is to wash the clothes using a washing machine preferably.

Washing the clothing helps you weaken the grip of the burr on the fabric, making the removal process more manageable.


Here are some helpful tips you could employ.

  • Set the washing machine to delicate and maintain a hot water temperature. The swirling water will make the burrs less sticky, 
  • Ensure the clothes dry up through the dryer,
  • Remove any burrs still attached to the piece of clothing by hand. 

Washing your clothes and drying them off through the washing machine gives you an easy headstart in removing the burrs.

Some burrs will lose and fall off in the process, while for any left, you’ll need to pluck them and remove them manually. 

Alternatively, you can soak the clothes in warm water and detergent. The soaking makes the burrs less sticky, lose grip, and float on water. Scoop out the floating burrs and remove the stuck ones by hand.

Be careful so that you don’t hurt yourself in the process. Use gloves to avoid skin irritation. 

Method 2: Removing Burrs Using A Fine Tooth Comb 


A tool that could help you remove burrs is a fine tooth comb that makes the process easier than using fingers.

You want to place the clothes on a flat surface once they have dried. Slide the comb through the affected areas carefully, so you don’t damage the fabric. 

The burrs tend to hang in between the comb bristles. Remove them at suitable intervals and repeat the process until the heads are gone. 

Method 3: Removing The Burrs With A Duct Tape 


Another method at your disposal is removing the burrs using duct tape. The advantage of using duct tape is that it’s portable.

This enables you to remove the pesky seeds easily on the spot. There are two approaches/methods for using duct tape. 

Method 1: 

  1. You’ll need to cut a duct tape piece large enough to cover the whole area of your fabric with burrs. 
  2. Press the tape firmly so that it sticks well on the affected areas.
  3. Pull it out slowly. 
  4. Burrs get extracted as you pull out the duct tape. 

Method 2: 

  1. Cut enough length of duct tape for the job. 
  2. Fold the duct tape inside out and make a circle that attaches both ends. 
  3. Put the circular duct tape in your hands. 
  4. Pat the duct tape where the burrs are on your clothes.
  5. Repeat 

The sticky nature of the duct tape is quite helpful, especially if burrs get on your clothes while on a hike. 

Method 4: Use Tweezers

The other way to remove burrs is to use tweezers if you’re at home. Pliers can also do the job to some extent.

Using tweezers is laborious since you’ll need to remove the burrs one by one. To do this properly, lay the clothes on a flat surface and have a bucket or container around to dispose of the burrs.

Repeat the process until completion. 

Using tweezers is a clean and neat method of getting burrs out of your clothes without exposing your skin to rashes or injuries. 

Other Methods 

Some more methods you could use to remove burrs on clothes apart from the ones mentioned above include:

Use A Burr Removal Tool 

If you have some bucks, you might want to invest in a burr removal tool. The tool can fit in your pocket easily, making it convenient for use when you’re far away from home.

All you need to do is apply a few brushes to the burrs clinging onto your clothes, and you’ll be good to go. 

You could also try out a lint remover or roller. 

Use A Metal Ruler


You can use a metal ruler to bend the trichomes (hairs of the burr) and pop them off. Be careful not to damage the clothing as the ruler’s edges can be pretty sharp.

Potential Pitfalls

Burr removal can be done in many ways, but we don’t recommend using the below-mentioned methods.

1. Using A Razor Blade

A razor can only cut a part of the burr off, leaving the spikes behind. Thus, it isn’t practical. 

On the contrary, it makes the whole removal process difficult. You also risk damaging your clothing material. 

2. Using A Metallic Comb 

Metallic combs may help you get rid of burrs but can damage the fabric if it is delicate.

We advise using a plastic comb to avoid ruining your clothing material. 

3. Pulling The Duct Tape Too Fast

The glue in duct tape is very sticky, and removing it off your clothes swiftly could end up tearing delicate fabric. Always pull the duct tape slowly to avoid damaging your clothing. 

Wrap up 

Getting burrs out of clothes could turn out to be laborious and could cause rashes and injuries if you use bare hands.

Fortunately, there are effective methods listed above that are not only effective but safe for your delicate clothes. 

Remember to stick to the steps.

How To Get Burrs Out Of Clothes: 6 Effective Methods

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