How to Get Rid of Sweat Stains?

Don’t throw away sweat-stained items! Save your wardrobe by removing yellow armpit stains and accompanying odors.

What causes sweat stains?

Sweat contains water, salt, fats, and proteins, so when you perspire, all of these things go into your clothes. According to Mary Johnson, principal scientist at Tide, if you don’t wash your clothes after every wear with a high-quality detergent, they will build up over time and become deeply embedded between the fabric fibers. As these soils break down into smaller, airborne molecules, they become very stinky as they bind to fabric fibers to cause yellowing.

The perspiration on your body can also combine with certain ingredients in your deodorant or antiperspirant, such as aluminum and zirconium. Because the product is concentrated in one spot and gets ground into the fabric, it can cause yellowing on your clothes over time. You can prevent this problem by using an aluminum-free deodorant and making sure your deodorant or antiperspirant is completely dry before putting on your shirt.

The oils in our bodies also contribute to staining. Johnson explains that sweat alone won’t stain clothes, but sweat with body oils turns them yellow over time. That’s why it’s so important to wash your clothes regularly, thoroughly, and know how to remove stains before they set in.

How to get sweat stains out of white shirts

The most likely clothing item to develop yellow, sometimes stinky sweat stains is white shirts. Here are the steps you need to follow to get them out.

  1. Johnson recommends rinsing the garment in warm water to dilute the stain.

  2. You can pre-treat the soiled spots with a mixture of your regular detergent and white vinegar, or baking soda and either water or hydrogen peroxide. The maker recommends mixing one part baking soda with two parts water or hydrogen peroxide.

  3. Depending on the severity of the stain, let the garment sit for as little as 20 minutes or as long as overnight.

  4. Throw the garment into the laundry with other items and wash it with regular detergent without washing off the pre-treatment. Warm water should be used if the care label allows. Otherwise, use cold water to wash.

  5. Before drying the garment, repeat these steps if the stain persists.

How to get sweat stains out of colored shirts

If you want to remove sweat stains and stink from colored shirts, you’ll largely follow the same steps as for white shirts. To protect the color, use water instead of hydrogen peroxide if you choose baking soda paste, suggests Maker. She recommends testing a small, hidden area before you complete the entire garment if you’re nervous.

  1. To dilute the stain, rinse your colored shirt in warm water.
  2. Johnson suggests treating affected areas with a paste of baking soda and water or a mixture of detergent and white vinegar. Maker recommends mixing one part baking soda with two parts water.
  3. Depending on the severity of the stain, let the garment sit for as little as 20 minutes or as long as overnight.
  4. Throw the garment into the laundry with other items and wash it with regular detergent without washing off the pre-treatment. Wash in warm water if the care label permits. In any case, wash in cold water.
  5. Before putting the shirt in the dryer, repeat the steps above if the stain remains.

How to remove ring-around-the-collar stains

There are many things that can cause stains on your collar, including sweat and makeup, aftershave, face cream, lotion, or anything else you use on that part of your body. “Treat the stain first, and then worry about the ring around the collar later,” Maker advises. The stain can be treated with a spot treatment. Even laundry detergent can be used as a pretreatment, says Maker.

  1. The stain can be diluted by rinsing the garment with warm water.
  2. Treat the stain with a spot treatment, such as laundry detergent or a stain-removing spray. (OxiClean Laundry Stain Remover is a good choice.)
  3. Depending on the stain’s severity, let the stain remover sit on the fabric for as little as 20 minutes or as long as overnight.
  4. Throw the shirt into the laundry and wash it with regular detergent without washing off the pre-treatment. Warm water should be used if the care label allows. If not, wash in cold water.
  5. Before drying the shirt, repeat the above steps if the stain remains.

How to get the sweat smell out of clothes

Skin’s eccrine glands produce sweat on a daily basis or when you are physically active. Johnson explains that it’s 99 percent water and doesn’t smell that bad. Unlike stress sweat, which comes from the apocrine gland in your skin and contains 20 percent fats and proteins, stress sweat smells awful because the fats and proteins can break down into small, very stinky molecules to produce body odor.

Even though you can’t always see body soils on clothes, they need to be thoroughly cleaned with a high-quality detergent or you will experience odors that return. One of the laundry mistakes you probably didn’t know you were making is that. Those stubborn smells can be removed once they’ve been established.

  1. Add a half-dose of laundry detergent per gallon of warm water to a plastic bucket to create a soak solution.
  2. Soak the garment for up to 30 minutes. Add a white towel to the bucket on top of the stained garment to help keep it submerged.
  3. In the next step, wash the garment in warm water with one dose of detergent based on the load size. Include an odor remover, such as Tide Odor Rescue, for tough odors.
  4. Before drying, repeat these steps if the odor persists.

How to get sweat stains out of hats

In this process, too, you don’t want to use hydrogen peroxide, since that can damage the colors in the hat.

  1. Warm water should be used to rinse the hat.
  2. Treat with a mixture of detergent and white vinegar, or with a paste of baking soda and water (1 part baking soda, 2 parts water).
  3. Depending on the severity of the stains, let it sit for at least 20 minutes or overnight.
  4. Throw the hat into the laundry with other items without washing off the pre-treatment. Depending on the care label, you can wash in warm water. If not, use cold water to wash.
  5. Repeat the above steps before drying if the stain persists.

A baseball hat is one type of hat that can be difficult to clean. You can keep its shape by washing it the right way.

How to get rid of sweat stains with unexpected household items

Think of these solutions as MacGyvers for sweat stains. These are surprising, yes, but they can work-and you probably already have them in your pantry.

Make sure that you follow the instructions on the stain-removing product that you choose before throwing the clothing in the laundry (and don’t forget to bookmark this guide on how to get ink out of clothing as well!)

Meat tenderizer

It’s unlikely you’d think of using a meat tenderizer to remove sweat stains, but you can use it to remove hard-to-remove stains. Sprinkle some meat tenderizer on the armpit stain before washing that damaged sweatshirt. After that, you can wash as usual. The 16 things you never knew you could wash in the washing machine.


Yellow sweat stains can certainly give you a headache, and aspirin can help in an unexpected way. The powder from two aspirin tablets should be mixed with half a cup of warm water after they have been crushed. Wash the stained part of the garment as usual after soaking it in the solution for two to three hours.

Dish soap

Let the stain sit for an hour after mixing one part dish soap with two parts hydrogen peroxide. Since dish soap is created to cut through grease and oil, it works well on oil stains as well.


Getting rid of yellow pit stains with salt is another secret ingredient. One quart (one liter) of hot water should be dissolved in four tablespoons of salt. To remove the stain, sponge the garment with the solution until it disappears. The following 60 clever uses for salt don’t involve cooking.


Save money by avoiding dry-cleaning fees! You can remove unsightly underarm stains from blouses by scrubbing them with a mixture of lemon juice and water. Your more delicate garments will not be damaged by the citrus stain fighter.


Place a bit of vinegar directly on the stain and rub it into the fabric before washing. Undiluted vinegar can also be used to remove deodorant stains from washable shirts and blouses.

Baking soda

It is possible to address a variety of stains, including perspiration stains, by pre-treating clothes with a paste made from four tablespoons baking soda and one-fourth cup warm water.

It is best to let the paste dry for about two hours before washing if you have really awful stains. Put the shirt in the wash after applying the paste and adding a bit of vinegar to help remove collar stains. You can also use baking soda in these other brilliant ways.


Before laundering, rub perspiration and even blood stains with a half-strength solution of ammonia and water. It is possible to remove sweat stains with ammonia, but you should never mix it with bleach, since the combination can cause toxic fumes.


Cheers to sweat-stain removal that’s creative! Because vodka contains alcohol, mixing equal parts with warm water could help remove sweat stains. Before machine washing, spray the mixture on the odor or stain.


Borax is an effective product for removing sweat stains, even though it shouldn’t be used on delicate fabrics. Mix one tablespoon of this powder with a little water to make a paste. Leave it on for 30 minutes before scrubbing it off and washing the clothing as usual.

The keys to keeping your clothes fresh and clean

Follow these tips from Johnson to prevent your clothes from becoming super stinky and sweat stained in the first place.

  • You should always rinse off gear after heavy workouts or particularly stressful days under warm running water and let it air-dry before putting it in your hamper.
  • Wet or damp workout clothes or towels should never be stored in a gym bag or laundry hamper that is warm and dark. In as little as six hours, they can begin to smell like mildew or mold.
  • To prevent mildew/mold odors, always take your workout clothes or towels out of your gym bag and allow them to fully air-dry before putting them in your laundry hamper.

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