How To Remove Burrs(or Burs) From Clothes

by Derrick | Last Updated: September 23, 2022

After any trip outdoors one common thing you will ask is how to remove burrs from clothes? Removing a burr from clothing is fairly straightforward, but time consuming due to pure volume. It is rare you will only get a single burr on your clothing, the old saying with one you often have many.

Through this article we hope to give you some tips that we have gained over years of trial and error discovering what is the best way to remove burrs from clothes.

Like many frustrating things, people often think what is the point of burrs, what do they do and why are they such a pain to remove. Burrs are a method of spreading and reproduction for the plant, often the burr will latch on to an animal’s fur or a hunter’s clothes and then drop off as the subject moves through the field or woods. The seed in the burr will then embed into the ground and a new plant will spring up, repeating the vicious cycle when some other animal or hunter comes along.

Burrs can cause your clothing to pill, pilled clothing not only looks bad but it can reduce the life of your garment. Often you can hide pills on clothes by either using a razor to remove the pills or pull the pills through to the underside of the clothing. Make sure if you have pills on a sweater you do not cut the pills as this could cause the garment to unravel, in most cases it is best to live with pills on a sweater and not try to remove them.

Common Plants That Produce Burrs – Different Types Of Burrs

Identifying the plants that produce burrs may make it easier to remove burrs from clothes as different methods work for different plants. Learning burr producing plants may also help you avoid the plants in the first place thus avoid the burrs.

There are many plants that produce burrs, we simply cannot cover every plant across the world.

The below list while not exhaustive are some of the most common plants that produce burrs.

1) Foxtail 2) Burdock 3) Beggar Ticks 4) Queen Anne’s Lace 5) Cocklebur 6) Avens 7) Puncturevine

DIY Burr Removal Tools To Help Remove Burrs From Clothing

There are a number of tools you can use to help remove burrs from your clothing. Lets examine some of the common ones.

Duct Tape – Tape often works well to get rid of burrs, it is extremely sticky so it will grab onto many burrs and allow you to remove them from your clothing. This really is the best way to remove burrs, it also works well when you have a large amount of burrs concentrated in a small area. When I am out bushcrafting, camping, or fishing I often carry a small amount of tape in my pack to ensure I can peel some off and use it to remove any burrs (or even ticks) I get on my clothing. This is really my preferred method to try and remove burrs.

Washing Machine & Dryer– After using tape you can then place the clothing in a washing machine, the movement of the water and agitation that the machine creates will often remove any remaining burrs that made it on your clothing. After going through a washing and dry cycle, the burrs often lose some of the stickiness and will fall off themselves or become easier to remove by hand.

Pliers or a Multi Tool – These can be great for targeting specific or very stubborn burrs that you may be trying to remove from your clothing. This is not very practical when you have a large quantity.

Fine Tooth Comb – Fine tooth combs also work well in a pinch when working with removal from clothing, in my grooming kit when I am out for a multi day hike I often carry a small half comb that I have used in the past. AMV Burz-Off Bur Removal Tool – This is an actual tool that is a stone looking item that is specially made to remove burrs from clothing. It is available on , works well for removing burrs and is incredibly easy to use.

Step By Step Process For Removal

The first step is to pick and lose burrs from your clothing with your fingers and discard them. This is the easiest method as a first means of attack as your fingers are always with you.

Next for remaining burrs if you only have a few left use a comb to work the burrs off of your clothing.

For any stubborn burrs you can try the tape removal method. To use tape simply unroll the tape off the roll, roll the tape back on itself so the sticky side is facing outward. Use this to then pat the areas where the burrs are concentrated. Once you have removed as many burrs as possible discard in into the trash.

Lastly, once you get home wash your clothing in the washing machine, following the normal process you use when regularly doing laundry, once the wash cycle completes removing the clothing and run through the dryer following the directions on the garment tag.

After the washing and drying cycle if you notice any remain burrs try the duct tape method again. Often the washing and drying cycle will help weaken the grip the burr has on the clothing and make it easier for the duct tape to remove the burrs. Since you are now home you could also substitute the duct tape with quality lint roller.

Foxtails Stuck On Clothes

One of the most annoying and most common burrs is foxtails.

Foxtails stuck on clothing can be extremely frustrating to remove. They have a small barb so not only does it stick to your clothes, but the barb makes it hard to remove as it prevents the foxtail from working its way back out. Foxtails can also be really painful if they get under your skin, often leading to infection or at minimum irritation.

Foxtails are also extremely problematic for cats and dogs, they often get stuck it painful places such as between paws, in eyes and or throats of your pet.

To remove them from clothing you can place the garment on a flat surface, then use duct-tape to remove as many as you can by taking the take and running it over sticky side down on any areas of clothing where you can see the foxtails. Remove as many as you can with this method. Discard the tape in the trash away from pets or children.

You can also try using a good quality lint roller, this will sometimes be quicker than using duct tape.

Once you have removed as many as possible with tape take the garment and wash it in the washing machine, this will usually get any remaining foxtails.

Below are some frequently asked questions about removing burrs, if you do have any questions about burrs let us know and we will expand this section.

Which Fabrics Are Most Susceptible To Burrs? 

Each type of fabric interacts differently with burrs, some are more resistant than others.  Generally, fabric that is rugged and tightly woven such as cotton duck canvas will be more burr resistant than say a more delicate fabric such as silk which tends to snag and pull more easily.  

1) How do you remove nettles from clothes?

Nettle plant stems and leaves are covered with numerous stinging trichomes, which are almost clear looking little hair like fibers that when touched (or if they get in your clothing), can create a really uncomfortable reaction when they come into contact with your skin.

To remove them from clothing the only real option is to use tape or something like a lint roller to pickup the fine fibers, they are nearly impossible to see on clothing with the human eye.

2) How do you remove burrs from your hair?

If you have longer hair getting a burr in your hair can be a painful experience. To remove a burr the best bet is to use a comb (metal combs work best, instead of an el-cheapo hair comb) to gently remove any semi-lose burrs. If burrs are really stuck in your hair you can gently separate as much hair as possible from the burr, then use a comb to gently work the burr out.

3) How do you remove burrs from wool clothes?

Wool clothing can be very challenging to remove burrs from. Removing burrs from wool will require so practice and patience.

Many folks in colder climates will wear wool pants when out hunting or camping in the wintertime because of their superior warmth characteristics. Running into a dried-out patch of burrs can cover your pants in seconds. The best thing to do is keep a careful eye and avoid the burr patches, but if you do get burrs on your wool clothing, I often try to duct tape method first, I would not recommend using a comb on wool as it could damage the garment.

In conclusion, I hope you found this guide on how to remove the burr from clothes helpful and if you do have any questions let us know, we will be sure to reply and may use your question to help expand this article and share the collective knowledge.

4) Can You Wash Burrs Out Of Clothes?

Yes, washing clothes with burrs may help reduce the number of burrs in the garment, but will not likely remove all of them.