Extend the life of your apparel by removing sweat stains when they occur. If shirts in your household are marred by perspiration marks, you don’t have to toss them. Instead, remove the stains using one or more of these time-tested strategies.
If you’re wondering if sweat stains can be removed, the answer is yes. Whether you’re dealing with comfy sweats or dressy apparel, there are some easy ways to remove these stains. If you spill something on your clothes, these tips may also come in handy—whether you’re wearing skinny jeans and a turtleneck or a mid-length skirt and a women’s dress shirt.
Yellow armpit stains on your favorite tee are unsightly, but you can get rid of them. Below, you’ll find tips for cleaning and refreshing your sweat-stained apparel. These tips also work for other types of stains and spills. You can even use them to clean white deodorant marks, which tend to stand out against dark fabrics. Our first tip uses something you’ve probably already got in your pantry—vinegar.
Vinegar is an effective stain remover—especially when it comes to acidic stains caused by perspiration. The acid in vinegar reacts with the weaker acid in the stain, causing it to break up and dissolve. You’ll want to use distilled white vinegar, which is affordable and easy to obtain.
All you need is two tablespoons of white vinegar in one cup of water. Apply to the stain and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Next, wash the item in cold water. Check to make sure the stain is completely gone before drying—if it’s not, repeat the vinegar treatment and rewash. When the stain is gone, you can dry the piece as you normally would.
Another way to get rid of sweat stains is with a mixture of baking soda and peroxide. You can use the same type of hydrogen peroxide that you’d use as a first-aid antiseptic, which is sold at most stores. Combine one part baking soda with one part peroxide and one part water. When the baking soda touches the peroxide, the mixture will bubble and fizz. Work the mixture into the stain and leave it on for an hour. As with the vinegar treatment, you’ll want to wash the item in cold water and ensure the stain has been removed before drying.
If you’ve got fresh lemons or bottled lemon juice, then you’ve got an effective stain remover right in your kitchen. Lemon juice is acidic like vinegar, so it works the same way. The acid in the citrus attacks and dissolves the acid in the stain. Apply an equal mixture of lemon juice and water to the stain, and give it 30 minutes to an hour to work. You can also add cleaning power by scrubbing the area with salt while the lemon juice treatment is soaking in. Wash the clothing item in cold water, and check to see if the stain is gone. Repeat the stain treatment and cold-water wash if needed, then dry the item as usual.
A lengthy soak in a stain-busting solution is another way to reduce or eliminate perspiration stains on clothing. You can use your washing machine or a large tub to do the soaking. Fill the machine or tub, then add your preferred stain solution. You can use a commercial stain soak such as OxyClean, or add a cup of Borax to the water to achieve the same results. White vinegar also works as a stain soak—use a half-cup to a cup depending on how much water you’re using. Allow for at least 30 minutes of soaking time, or longer for tough stains. When soaking time is up, drain and rinse the items, then wash in cold water.
For a stubborn stain, you can create a soapy solution to scrub it prior to using the above methods. Before applying any kind of detergent to fabric, check the care instructions to make sure you won’t accidentally damage the fabric. For durable, easy-care fabrics, you can use a mixture of laundry detergent and water or even gentle dish soap and water. Agitate the mixture until bubbles form, then use a scrub brush to work it into the stain and break up the perspiration molecules. Once you’ve given the apparel a thorough scrubbing, you can rinse with cold water and follow up with one of the other stain-removing strategies if needed.
You should tailor your stain-removing strategy to the color of your clothes. Here are some quick tips for removing sweat stains from white clothes and colored clothes.
If you’re trying to remove sweat stains from a women’s white blouse or white T-shirt, soak the item in warm water and a splash of bleach for 30 minutes before washing. Only put white apparel in the bleach mixture, and rinse the items thoroughly with cold water before washing in your machine.
Don’t use bleach to remove sweat stains from colored fabrics. You can use an oxygenated product or color-safe bleach—carefully read the product label to make sure it’s safe for colored clothes. Any of these tips can be used to clean colored clothing, whether you’re washing women’s jeans, loungewear, or office apparel.
Shop Lands’ End to find stain-resistant apparel such as women’s polo shirts and sweaters. These pieces are made from easy-care, high-performance fabrics, so keeping them in like-new condition is a breeze.