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How To Remove Burrs From Clothes

You don’t need to be an experienced outdoorsman to understand the woe of burrs getting caught on clothing. They’re annoying, and seemingly come from anywhere and everywhere. Burrs are especially irritating due to the rash they can cause when exposed to skin. Whilst harmless in the long run, they can really put a damper on the atmosphere – especially if you’re out hiking or trekking. 

What are Burrs?

Burrs are the spores from various dried fruits. They’re known mostly for their irritating properties, but also their ability to puncture tires, damage harvesting machinery, and the injury to livestock that they can cause. Burrs naturally repel herbivores due to their texture, but rely on animals and livestock to spread the spores by attaching themselves onto their fur. 

Burrs are also credited for being the inspiration behind Velcro, due to the way they use a hook to latch onto fur and clothing.  

Burrs have adapted these annoying properties as a way of reproducing. By latching onto an animal or other moving being, the seeds will easily be spread as whatever the burr has latched onto moves. There are even cases of burrs travelling across country and into other countries after latching onto the wheels of aircraft. 

How to Remove Burrs

There are several methods for removing burrs, but most of them depend on what the burr is attached to. 

  • Products such as Burz-off can help remove burrs from clothing.
  • Similar products can be made at home using diy materials. 
  • Lint rollers can be effective depending on the type of fabric.
  • Metal combs see a similar level of success.
  • Strong tape, specifically duct tape, can also help.  

These methods depend entirely on the material in which the burr is caught, but also on the type of burr that is caught to it. Some types of burrs are renowned for being more bothersome and refusing to budge. It’s best to assess the situation before choosing what method of removal will suit you best. 

Burr Removal For Hikers and Campers

Removing burrs from clothing can be tricky as it is easy to accidentally pull too hard and damage your clothing unnecessarily. A burr that has been ripped off without a second thought can create many small holes in the clothing it was hooked to. 

The most effective way of removing burrs is by softening the bristles that latch onto the clothing. By doing this, you make them easier to remove and less likely to damage the clothing in the process. 

The best way of softening the bristles on a burr is to throw the garment in the washing machine. After the clothes are removed from the washer, the burrs can be removed. 

Laying the clothing flat on a surface, use a metal comb to begin to remove the burrs. 

Keep the garment as still as possible, by either holding it in place or having someone else hold it in place. Using the comb, comb in a downwards motion against the burrs. The hooks should release and snap as the comb repeatedly meets them. Once all the burrs are removed using this method, use a lint roller to remove any remaining bristles from the fabric. To do this, roll over the whole piece of clothing, front and back, and roll over the insides as well, just in case some bristles have nestled deeper than others. 

Burr Removal For Pets

Burrs naturally spread by latching onto furry animals, so it’s only normal for them to attach to your dog or cat sometimes. 

The steps for removing burrs from pets are similar to the steps taken to remove burrs from clothing, albeit with a couple of changes. 

To soften the bristles on your pet, give them a bath or spray a substantial amount of water on the affected areas. Doing this makes it easier to comb the burrs out, and relieves some of the rash that they may be causing. Once bathed, you can begin to comb the burrs out using a fine-toothed comb or brush. Make small brushstrokes around the area of the burr and on the burr itself to loosen and remove them. 

Removing Burrs with Burz-Off

Burz-off is a coarse material that can be used to push burrs off of clothing in the same way that the wash and brush method does. This is ideal for people who are out and about and need to remove burrs quickly and effectively. Burz-off is easy to carry along in a hiking or camping backpack. It’s made from recycled materials too, so you don’t need to feel environmentally conscious whilst using it! 

AMV Burz-Off Bur Removal Stone
  • 1 inch porous stone
  • durable & lasts a lifetime
  • Made in the USA
  • Made from recycled materials

DIY Burr Removal

Whilst Burz-Off is a product made with the intention of removing burrs, it’s also possible to create a similar effect using materials you can find around the house. Anything that has a decent grip and can scrape fabric is fair game. For instance, some people swear by aerosol or other canister lids, as they’re easy to hold and drag the bottom end against burrs. Cups, dull knives and even discarded plastic packaging can be used to scrape burrs off of clothing. 

Additionally, duct tape can be used in replacement of a lint roller. 

Final Thoughts

Burrs are an annoyance amongst anyone who spends time outside. Not only are they irritating, but they can easily damage clothes if not removed with enough care and attention. Thankfully, with some of the methods mentioned above, it is possible to remove burrs effectively, without causing any additional damage. 

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