How to Deal with Tainted Armour and Clothing in Rimworld

January 27, 2023 by Solar Cross

In Rimworld, anyone who dies in their clothing or armour takes it to hell with them. All the clothing and armour a pawn is wearing at the time of death picks up the dreaded “tainted” modifier.

Tainted clothing is worthless to traders and if worn produces a small but significant mood penalty for the wearer. There are mods that can remove this tainted tag but in the vanilla game there is no way to remove. This is not an oversight, but a balancing measure to make crafting clothing more worthwhile.

The tainted mechanic also introduces some fun tactical challenges to solve in managing and mitigating this feature of the game. In this guide we will aim to show how to do that.

You can see which items are tainted as it will have “T” after its durability score.

Dealing with taint in the unmodded game falls into three broad categories:

Preventing Tainted

There might be dozen a different ways of preventing taint but they all amount to making sure whoever is about to die is not wearing the desired bit of clothing or armour at the time.

Death can come outright through injury or a sudden illness but often than it comes slowly through blood loss or a less than sudden illness. Slow deaths are quite what you want because they leave plenty of time for stripping that gear off before that most final moment.

You can tell colonists at immediate risk of dying, unless on a mental break, to take off any clothing through their gear tab. They might pick up a mood penalty for nudity though but there are ways to manage that too, see below.

Dying prisoners as well as fallen neutrals and enemies can be unilaterally stripped instead, by any of your own handy to do it. That might hurt your relations with the pawn’s faction though, if that matters to you. In the case of trading partners it may well be better to just let them die with the dignity of being dressed.

Hospital Gowns

Probably most of your pawns will die on the battlefield but a good few will die in the sterile comfort of your hospital ward. There is no need for your best fighter fully kitted out in your best battle armour to rest in his hospital bed dressed to kill like that.

Instead have some nice, clean but disposable clothing, suitable for his dress requirements (nudists will be happier naked) to make him wear until he is well again. We can think of them as hospital gowns, but they could just be cotton pants and t-shirt.

Then at least he will not take his valuable gear down along with him if his treatment is not sufficient to save him.

Cheating Death

When it comes to fighting hostiles, such as raiders, death can easily come instantly both for your enemies and your own fighters.

Psychic Shock Lance

One invaluable tool for selectively disabling without killing enemies is the psychic shock lance. This is a utility rather than a weapon so can be taken in addition to more conventional arms.

Early in the fight, pause the game, and scout out the gear being worn by your opponents. If you see some nice gear, (or the pawn is a desirable recruitment prospect), use the lance to knock him out without killing him.

Blunt Trauma

If you not have a psychic shock lance, then the next best thing is prioritise your target pawn with blunt force trauma by means of clubs or maces. The chances are a bit hit or miss, pardon the pun, as while these weapons often disable without killing they can still kill outright.

Living with Tainted

Whatever the cause sometimes that fancy bit of kit you had your eye on picks up the taint no matter what you try to do to prevent it.

I want to emphasise “fancy” because you should overcome the OCD hoarder urge for any kit you could just as easily make yourself or do not really need anyway. Just burn it, smelt it, or bury it with its owner, and be done with it (see below for more about that).

Fancy gear on the other hand is gear that you really could use, can not make yourself yet and are unlikely to source from traders, or not at price you can afford.

“Fancy” is absolutely a relative term. Parkas are by no means fancy gear most of the time but for a tribal start in the colder biomes like tundra, parkas are really quite precious. See my guide on the tundra biome for a tribal start for more details.

Tanking the Mood Penalty

The first thing is that the tainted mood penalty is not so very huge. Any pawn that has all his other needs met quite well will be able to tank a small mood penalty.

Characters with the bloodlust trait do not even take this mood penalty for wearing tainted.

Part Time Penalties

The second thing is often the kit in question does not really need to be worn all the time. Armour does not need to worn outside of combat. Parkas do not need to be worn in warmed indoors areas or when the outside weather is balmy.

If your pawns only wear the tainted when actually will benefit them then they will only have to bear the penalty some of the time.

In the case where the tainted gear is armour then it can be left unworn in some suitable location ready to be forced worn by whichever of your fighters can best handle the mood penalty.

While in storage be sure to toggle it to “disallow” so that it does not get randomly picked up a colonist and worn.

Clothing Assignments

Another option for armour is to edit the assign policies so that “worker” attire has the tainted forbidden filter and “soldier” attire has tainted allowed filter.

In general have all your pawns set for worker attire. Then before drafting them, for those brief periods of combat, toggle your fighter’s attire to “soldier”. When the combat is over, just toggle them back to worker attire and they will take off the tainted armour on their own.

You can also make custom clothing assignments for other uses, such as wearing a tainted parka in winter. Another use for custom assignments, is to make one for your bloodlust pawns (who are not bothered by tainted).

Dispose of Tainted

Despite taking the above measures, or you were not bothered to try, you will end up with some tainted clothing for which you have no use. This is section is for all the methods of disposing of them, so they do not clutter up your colony.

Bury and Cremate

The easiest and more direct way of disposing of tainted is to just bury, or cremate, your dead without stripping them. If the clothing or armour is not worth the bother, then why do anything else?

Cannibal Trash

Of course, you might have a use for the corpse even if not the clothing. Even if you have no eager cannibals, a mood penalty for eating human flesh is preferable over starvation. You can also make kibble with it as your animals are not fussy eaters.

Although some pawns will still pick up a mood penalty for butchering human even if they do not eat it.

In these cases you will want to strip to body, not for the clothing but for that juicy, juicy man meat. However that will leave over a pile of clothing to clutter up the place. If you do not dissallow it, then some of your pawns may even pick it up to wear.

There are three ways of disposing of this tainted trash: dump, burn and recycle.


Clothing and armour will deteriorate to nothing if left outside. They will deteriorate even faster if left in water. You can leverage this to dispose of tainted by creating a stockpile zone in any water on your tile, set only for tainted clothing and armour.

Your hauling pawns will then dump the offending items when they get the chance. Be aware that you will still need to manually dissallow the tainted gear once in the dump zone or a pawn may go and pick it up to wear.


A faster way is to use a burn apparel bill in a campsite fire or a smelter. Make sure that the filter is correctly set for tainted.


If you have a smelter you may as well use the smelt apparel bill instead of burn apparel. This way you can recover some value from the tainted gear in form of raw materials.

Smelting is also the choice disposal method for poor quality and damaged clothing, armour and weapons.

An electric smelter for Rimworld.
An Electric Smelter

There we go, a comprehensive guide on what to do about tainted clothing in armour in Rimworld. Which is your preferred method?

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