Can You Reuse Iron on Patches

It seems like a never-ending question – can you reuse those previous iron-on patches? Iron-on patches are a great way to fix clothes that have been damaged and need some quick repairs. There are several different ways that people reuse their iron-on patches.

The first option is to use scissors to cut off the old patch before applying a new one. But, this method works best when there isn’t too much fabric left around the hole. That’s because it will make it easier for someone else to place an accurate replacement patch in its place.

Can You Reuse Iron-on Patches?

can you reuse iron-on patches

Yes, iron-on patches are reusable. To reuse them, glue or sew the patches on the other fabric. But, it can be challenging to remove the stuck part from the material the patch was attached to before.

How to Remove Previous Iron-on Patch for Reuse?

Applying an iron-on patch is among the easiest things to do. But, removing it to reuse later can be trickier than you think. Here are a few ways to lessen the task.

Method 1: Removing With an Iron

Each garment comes with a tag to show applicable and non-applicable processes. First, assess your garment and determine if you can use heat on it.

To what amounts should the heat be? To do this, find an inconspicuous part of the garment. Then, use this section to test the effects of heat on it.

Step 1: Place a dish towel on the area you need to test. Then, using a pre-heated iron, press it down and leave for 15-20 seconds. After that, lift the iron and remove the dishcloth. Check to see if there is any damage. Delicate fabrics will need you to set your iron well.

Step 2: Get to the area you need to work on at the moment. Lay your cloth on a flat surface with the area to work on being exposed. Besides, you can place a thinner dishcloth or wax paper over this patch. Also, make sure that you are working on a clean area.

It should be free from dust, dirt, and other substances. You wouldn’t want unnecessary staining.

Preheat the iron. Do this in the highest setting. Press the iron on the dishcloth or wax paper that is over the patch. Let it sit for 15-20 seconds.

Lift the iron and further remove the rest of the covering. Not always will the patch come off with the first press down.

If you notice that the glue is stuck and the patch isn’t coming off, apply your iron again. Moreover, do not exceed the sitting time. Do this in bits to give the adhesive more time to get weak.

Step 3: Pull out the patch once you notice that the glue is weaker. Start by lifting the edges. Moreover, ensure you hold the garment with one hand. After that, use the other to do the peeling and lifting. Sometimes, the edges can be difficult to lift even if the other parts are loose already.

Use tweezers to make it easier. If you are working on a larger patch, you might need to keep redoing the steps.

Method 2: Using Adhesive Remover

Not all adhesive removers are safe on fabric. Consider this as you shop for one. If you don’t know what to go for, settle for orange oil-based removers.

The adhesive should soak through the garment. If you are buying in large amounts, transfer some in a spray bottle.

adhesive remover

But, if you can’t get an adhesive remover, buy rubbing alcohol.

Step 1: You can’t go right to the removal process yet. First, you need to patch the remover in an inconspicuous place of the garment. Thus, use some cotton balls to dab the adhesive on the spot.

Allow it to soak through the spot. If set, rinse it off. Ensure that there isn’t any bleaching, staining, or burning.

Step 2: Use the area that is underneath the patch. Here, you will be working with the garment inside out. Thus, this is the right section to start the process.

Still, on the back of your cloth, pour or spray the glue remover on the section. Use enough and let it soak through. Then, allow it to sleep for a few seconds.

The remover disintegrates the glue. You can lift the patch to check if it is ready to pull out. If it isn’t, add some more remover to the section.

Step 3: Once the remover softens the glue, it is time to pull it out. Turn the garment to the right side. Hold it and use the other hand to lift the edge of the patch.

Pull it out if soft enough. Some areas tend to be stubborn. But, no need to worry much. Repeat the procedure until you can remove the whole patch.

Your glue remover might not do a great job even after the first few attempts. You can change to another one. And apply the same procedure.

Method 3: Removing Residue

Most patches have very strong glue. Sometimes, they leave residue after removing the patch. The area could have stains too. You can’t leave the garment this way.

removing residue

Launder the garment if you used a glue remover on it. Not always, but this can get rid of all the stains and adhesive.

Step 1: Go in with glue remover. Apply a fair amount to the part you need to work on at this moment. Use your fingers to rub it in. Allow it a minute or two to absorb through the area.

Some people can’t access glue removers but need to work on such issues soon. No worries. You could make your homemade glue adhesive.

Use two parts of a regular baking soda to one part of coconut oil. Then, add some drops of your favorite orange essential oil.

Disclaimer: It will not work for removing the iron-on patch from the fabric. But it works well for removing adhesive stuck on the fabric.

Step 2: Once you can scrap the adhesive off the surface, launder your garment like you always would. You can do this in a washer or hand wash. For delicate items, the hand soaking method will do.

The glue could remain on the fabric. Use a soft brush to remove it. Avoid any thorough abrasion. Re-wash the garment if you brush off the remaining adhesive.

Avoid throwing the garment in the dryer. Only do this after you remove all the stains. If you throw the garment in the dryer before removing all the adhesive and stains, it can be wasteful. Also, the heat could make it more difficult.

For any tough stains, use some white vinegar. Start with a spot treatment before anything. If things in this step go well, soak your garment.

If you are working with bleeding garments, dilute the vinegar with water.

Note: White vinegar is the only recommended product. Using any other types of vinegar could or couldn’t work.

How to Reuse Your Previous Iron-on Patch?

how to reuse your previous iron-on patch

Now, we will explain the simple steps to reuse your old iron-on patches.

Step 1: Remove the old patch from your item by peeling it away. Be cautious not to stretch or tear the fabric and ensure no remaining adhesive on the garment.

Step 2: Please place a new piece of clothing in front of you with an ironing board behind it so that they are parallel. Place the previously used patch on top of the new fabric.

Step 3: Fold over a small piece of fabric. Use it to cover both patches. So that they join together, overlapping at least one inch on each side. The smaller piece will help ensure that no adhesive is exposed when heated by the iron.

Step 4: With your hand or another object like a spoon, apply pressure. Do this to the patch and the fabric uncovered by the smaller piece. This action will ensure that the iron does not apply too much heat to your garment’s surface, damaging it in any way.

Step 5: Place iron on medium-high temperature settings over the top of both patches for a few seconds. Wait until you see steam coming out from the fabric.

Step 6: Iron the patch down for about 30 seconds. Do this without pressing it or moving the iron around on top of your garment’s surface.

Step 7: After you finish this, remove pressure by lifting your hand and let cool before touching. If any adhesive residue leaves behind, use a damp towel to wipe off easily with no damage to your fabric.

You can sew in the iron patch if you are skeptical about using adhesive alone.

How Long Do Iron-on Patches Last?

On average, a good iron-on patch can last for 25 washes. Of course, it could exceed, but you can’t bank on its reliability after 25 washes.

Also, if you want them to last longer than this, you can opt to sew them in. Sewing these patches in will secure the patch on the garment.

Moreover, it ensures that you can still use the garment until the patch frays or gets rid of it.

Do You Need to Pre-Wash the Garment Before Ironing on the Patch?

Not a must. But, it is great to do any repairs on a clean garment. It ensures that you aren’t overwashing the patch more than you should.

Also, working on a clean garment prevents the risk of damage on the patch by the washer and dryer. If you don’t wash the garment, use other cleaning methods like spotting to remove any dirt. It will be relevant if you are dealing with light stains.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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