sweat stain on white collar shirt

How To Get Rid of Sweat Stains

Sweat stains – the uninvited guests that show up right before an important meeting or a night out.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the art of sweat stain removal and unveil the secrets to keeping your clothes looking fresh and clean.


Why Does Sweat Stain Your Clothes?

man with sweat stain on polo

Picture this: you’re getting ready for a big day ahead, and you slip on your best shirt, feeling ready to conquer the world.

But then, like an unexpected plot twist, you notice those dreaded yellowish stains lurking in the armpit area. Cue the frustration and disappointment.

So, what’s the deal with these sweat stains?

Well, it’s all about the chemistry of perspiration. Sweat is mostly made up of water, salts, and a touch of those trace elements that make us unique.

It’s not the water itself that’s causing the issue – it’s the company it keeps.

When sweat mixes with the natural substances found on your skin as well as deodorants and antiperspirants, it can create a cocktail of compounds that are downright troublemakers for your clothes.

Certain fabrics, like cotton and silk, are particularly susceptible to these stains. Why? Think of them as sponges – they readily soak up the sweat and the subsequent stain-causing cocktail.

So, if you find yourself wondering why your go-to cotton tee seems to attract sweat stains like a magnet, blame it on the fabric’s porous nature.

The takeaway here is that sweat stains aren’t just a cosmetic nuisance; they’re a chemical reaction in action. Understanding the science behind these stains is the first step towards conquering them.


What’s the Best Remover for Sweat Stains?

vinegar and cold water for sweat stains

The best remover for sweat stains is a combination of white vinegar and cold water.

White vinegar is effective due to its acidic properties that help break down the proteins in sweat, making it easier to lift the stain from the fabric.

Carry on reading for a useful step-by-step method using white vinegar. This approach is particularly effective for fresh sweat stains.

For tougher, set-in stains, creating a paste with bicarbonate of soda and water can help lift the stain before laundering the garment with cold water and enzyme-based detergent.


Will a Set-In Yellow Stain Come Out of a White Shirt?

yellow sweat stain on shirt collar

While set-in yellow stains on white shirts can be challenging to remove, there are steps you can take to improve the situation.

Begin by creating a bicarbonate of soda paste using bicarbonate of soda and water, then gently rub the paste onto the stain and allow it to sit for around 30 minutes to an hour.

Next, launder the shirt using cold water and a biological detergent. It’s important to avoid using hot water, as it can set the stain further into the fabric.


How Can You Prevent Sweat Stains?

How to Prevent Sweat Stains

Let’s face it – prevention is always better than a cure. And when it comes to the battle against sweat stains, a little strategic planning goes a long way. Here’s your game plan:

Choose fabrics wisely

When picking out your outfits, opt for fabrics that play well with your skin. Look for breathable materials like linen, lightweight cotton, or moisture-wicking blends.

These fabrics allow air to circulate and help minimise the chances of sweat stains making an unwelcome appearance.


Shield yourself

man with underarm sweat pad

Enter the secret weapon – vests and garment shield products like Hollywood Fashion Secrets Garment Shields.

These unsung heroes create a barrier between your skin and your clothing, absorbing sweat before it has a chance to reach your outer layers.

They’re especially handy if you’re wearing delicate or light-coloured garments that are more prone to staining.


Antiperspirant allies

antiperspirant for underarm

Don’t underestimate the power of a good antiperspirant.

Applying it to clean, dry skin can help regulate sweat production, reducing the amount of moisture that reaches your clothes.

Look for antiperspirants with aluminium-based compounds – they’re the ones that help plug up those sweat glands.


Wash clothes regularly

putting dirty laundry in washing machine

This one’s a no-brainer, but keeping your clothes clean is key.

Sweat left to dry on fabrics can become a breeding ground for stains. So, make sure you wash your clothes regularly, especially those that have been subjected to an active day.

Remember, it’s not just about maintaining hygiene; it’s about safeguarding your clothes from those pesky stains.

By following these proactive steps, you’re not just fighting off sweat stains – you’re proactively preventing them.

So, next time you’re getting dressed for success, remember that a little strategic planning can go a long way in keeping those stains at bay and your confidence levels high.


Spot Treatment for Fresh Stains

blue polo with sweat underarm stain

With a few quick steps, you can tackle those fresh stains head-on and prevent them from becoming permanent marks on your clothing canvas.

Act swiftly

Time is of the essence when dealing with fresh sweat stains. As soon as you notice the stain, try to address it right away.

The longer the stain lingers, the more it can set into the fabric, making it harder to remove.


Blot, don’t rub

Begin by gently blotting the stained area with a clean cloth or paper towel. Avoid rubbing vigorously, as this can actually push the stain further into the fabric and make matters worse.


Vinegar magic

Now, it’s time for the vinegar solution. Mix equal parts of cold water and white vinegar in a bowl.

Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the solution and gently dab it onto the stain. White vinegar works wonders at breaking down the proteins in sweat and helping to lift the stain from the fabric.


Rinse and blot dry

After applying the vinegar solution, rinse the stained area with cold water to remove any residue.

Gently blot the area dry with a clean cloth, avoiding any aggressive motions that could spread the stain.


The final touch

Once the stain is treated and the area is dry, give the garment a thorough wash as usual. Be sure to use cold water, as hot water can set the stain further into the fabric.


Removing Set-In Sweat Stains

For the set-in sweat stains, a little more effort is required. Try the following technique for the best results:

Create a bicarbonate of soda paste

bicarbonate of soda paste for sweat stain

Your secret weapon against set-in sweat stains is a simple yet powerful bicarbonate of soda paste.

Start by mixing bicarbonate of soda with water to form a paste. The abrasive nature of bicarbonate of soda works wonders at lifting those deeply ingrained stains.


Patch test first

While bicarbonate of soda is a fantastic stain remover, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test on a hidden part of the fabric before applying the paste to the stained area. This ensures that the fabric won’t react negatively to the treatment.


Rub gently and wait

Gently apply the bicarbonate of soda paste to the stained area and rub it in with your fingers or a soft cloth.

Once the paste is evenly spread, allow it to sit for around 30 minutes to an hour. This time allows the bicarbonate of soda to work its magic on the stain.


Time to wash

Launder the garment as you normally would, but here’s the trick – stick to cold water. Hot water can actually set the stain further, making it even harder to remove.


Check to see if the stain has gone

After laundering, air-dry the garment to avoid any potential heat setting of residual stains. Once dry, inspect the stained area to see if the stain is completely gone.

If it’s still visible, don’t fret – you can repeat the process until the stain bids its final farewell.

By following these steps and arming yourself with a bicarbonate of soda paste, you’re armed and ready to take on even the most stubborn of set-in sweat stains.


Drying Your Garment

hanging purple shirt

Before you start celebrating having conquered the sweat stains on your garment, there’s one crucial step left – drying and inspecting the treated area.

This step ensures that your efforts pay off in the form of spotless, fresh-looking clothes.

After laundering your garment, resist the urge to throw it in the dryer.

Heat can set any remaining stains, undoing all your hard work. Instead, opt for air-drying. Lay the garment flat on a clean towel or hang it up to dry naturally.

Once your garment is dry, it’s time for the moment of truth – the inspection.

Examine the treated area under good lighting to ensure that the stain is completely gone. If there’s even a hint of a stain remaining, don’t despair.

You can repeat the treatment process to achieve your desired results.

Drying and inspecting might seem like the final touches, but they’re crucial in ensuring that your stain removal efforts are truly successful.


Dealing with Deodorant Stains

shirt with deodorant stain

While it keeps you smelling fresh, it can sometimes leave its mark on your clothes in the form of those chalky white stains.

But don’t worry, removing deodorant stains is easier than you might think. Here’s your guide to showing those stains the exit door.

Spot the culprit

Deodorant stains are distinguishable by their telltale white or chalky appearance.

They often occur when the ingredients in your deodorant mix with sweat and skin oils, creating a stubborn residue that clings to your clothes.


The bicarbonate of soda paste method

Just as bicarbonate of soda is a trusty companion for sweat stains, it’s equally effective against deodorant stains.

Create a paste by mixing bicarbonate of soda with water. Gently rub the paste onto the stained area and let it sit for about 15 minutes. The abrasiveness of the bicarbonate of soda helps break down the stain.


Rinse and repeat

After the paste has done its work, rinse the stained area thoroughly with cold water. You’ll want to make sure all the bicarbonate of soda residue is gone.

Once the stain is gone, proceed with laundering the garment using cold water and an enzyme-based detergent.


Patience is key

Removing deodorant stains might require a little patience, especially if they’ve been around for a while.

If the stain persists after the first attempt, don’t lose heart. You can repeat the process until you’ve achieved the desired results.


Avoid heat

Similar to sweat stains, avoid exposing the treated area to heat until you’re sure the stain is completely gone. This means holding off on ironing until you’ve done the necessary inspections.

blouse with sweat underarm stain



You’re now equipped to tackle sweat stains head-on.

Understand that sweat stains result from a mix of bodily fluids and substances on fabrics, particularly porous ones like cotton and silk.

Prevent these stains by opting for breathable fabrics, using undershirts or garment shields, applying antiperspirant, and maintaining regular clothing hygiene.

Address fresh sweat stains promptly by dabbing the area with a vinegar solution and rinsing with cold water.

For set-in sweat stains, create a bicarbonate of soda paste, gently rub it on, then launder the garment with cold water. After treatments, ensure proper air-drying and inspection before ironing.

With these strategies, you’re well-equipped to keep your clothing free from unsightly stains and ready for any occasion.