Food Stain on white shirt

Don’t Sweat the Stains: How to Get Rid of Sweat Stains

Posted on August 10, 2022 by Steven Toltz

Summer heat is in full swing, and you’re dressed to impress… except your “clean” white shirt is carrying the ghosts of summers past. Sweat stains have struck again! While sweat is a natural part of life, unsightly stains shouldn’t be. 

Related: Breathable Fabrics for Summer Heat 

Why Are Sweat Stains Hard to Remove?

As it turns out, the yellowish-brown color associated with sweat stains doesn’t come from just sweat. Sweat is colorless, and the ugly shade you’re seeing is actually the product of a chemical reaction between the components of your sweat (salts, fats, and proteins), the natural bacteria on your skin, and any deodorizing or moisturizing products you may be wearing. Without effective washing and stain treatment, these compounds can become embedded within the fibers of a garment, and with time these stain-producing agents can actually bind to clothing fibers to cause greater yellowing and airborne smells. Yuck! To make matters worse, the active ingredient in antiperspirant products, aluminum and zirconium, can mix with perspiration to produce more ground-in stains on the armpits of your clothes. Since sweat on its own won’t produce a stain, regular and thorough washing of garments exposed to perspiration – using a high-quality detergent – can be an effective means of stopping the stains before they appear. But what can you do about pesky underarm stains that have already reared their ugly heads?

See Also: How to Remove Grass Stains 

How to Treat Sweat Stains

As with all stains, it’s important to act fast! Sweat stains build-up and worsen over repeated exposure, and as the stain-causing chemicals bind with a garment’s fabric, that yellow blotch on a great article of clothing is going to become more and more permanent. But worry not! Even the most pesky stains can be eradicated with expert intervention from a reliable cleaner

Looking to fight the stain yourself? First, make sure to check the garment’s label for specialty cleaning requirements. If the piece of clothing doesn’t require special treatment and isn’t delicate, you’re free to try the following DIY stain-solving methods. However, if you’re feeling skittish and want to ensure your clothes look and fit their very best, professional stain removal is always recommended. 

Learn More: When Should You Try to Treat a Stain on Your Own? 

White Shirts

The most typical stomping ground of the sweat stain. To remove a sweat stain from a white shirt, follow these DIY steps:

Rinse the garment in warm water. Pre-treat the stained area with white vinegar or a paste composed of baking soda mixed with water or hydrogen peroxide. The recommended ratio is one part baking soda to two parts water or hydrogen peroxide (don’t mix vinegar and baking soda, unless you want to relive the foamy mess of your elementary school science fair volcano). Let the stain-fighting mixture sit for 20 minutes or longer (overnight for tougher stains). Leave the mixture on the garment, put it into the washing machine with other clothing, and wash normally. If the stain persists, repeat the process.

Read More: How to Wash White Clothes

Colored Garments

For colored pieces of clothing, you’ll still be following the above steps, however, if using a baking soda mixture, do not use hydrogen peroxide in order to ensure colorfastness. Whenever treating colored garments with a cleaning method, it is always advisable to test a small, discrete area of the garment first. 

Collar Stains

For those irritating stains around the color of your shirt (worsened by things like sunscreen, lotion, and aftershave), a directed spot treatment typically will do the job. Rinse the garment in warm water, then pre-treat the collar ring with either specialized stain remover or your regular laundry detergent. Wash the garment as you normally would, and repeat the process if necessary. 

Sweat Stain Removal at Dependable Cleaners

Fighting a losing battle against your stains – or just want to ensure that your clothes look (and smell) brand new? Dependable Cleaners has your back – and over 90 years’ worth of satisfied customers can attest to our stain-fighting expertise. Every garment that passes through our doors undergoes our 7-point quality care inspection wherein each article is checked for all stains, loose buttons, and loose threads — and every piece of clothing we touch is protected by our extensive and renowned quality guarantee. Your clothes may even come back looking better than before! Our outstanding customer care and free pickup and delivery service make it a snap to get rid of stains and have a wardrobe that always looks first class. 

Find a location today, and experience the Dependable Cleaners difference!