How to Remove Sweat Stains

white t-shirt on clothesline

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Everyone sweats, but no one likes to put on their favorite shirt to find those yellowing armpit spots. Sweat marks build up not only because you work hard (well done!), But also the antiperspirant you use can contribute to the buildup as well – not fair, we know.

To help you save your sweat-soaked clothes from the trash, Carolyn Forte, director of the Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, shared her gold standard methods on how to remove sweat stains. on white and colorful shirts, as well as your most worn hats.

How to remove sweat stains: colors

Start by checking the label on your garment. Only dry-cleaned products should be left to professionals. If it is safe to tackle the house, blot the area with white vinegar first, especially if you see white salt lines or the fabric is stiff. Then pretreat with an enzymatic prewash stain remover such as Carbona’s Spot Devils or rub an enzymatic liquid detergent such as GH Seal Star Tide in the stain. Wash it right away using the hottest water safe for the fabric.

After the cycle, air dry the shirts to make sure the marks are gone. Putting them in the dryer before completely removing the stain can set it in for good.

For more stubborn marks, you can also add Clorox 2 stain remover and color booster during the wash cycle. It is specially designed for colorful clothes and other items that cannot be bleached with chlorine.

For extra stain-proofing power, you can also soak clothes in a solution of detergent and water, as shown below:

  1. Fill a small tub with about 1 gallon of the water.
  2. Add 2-3 tablespoons of liquid detergent and mix.
  3. Leave to soak for 30 minutes to an hour before washing.

    1. How to remove sweat stains: Whites

      You will want to follow a similar method to make your white shirts white again. Blot sweat stains with white vinegar before pretreating with an enzymatic prewash stain remover like Carbona or an enzymatic liquid detergent like Tide. Then wash on the hottest cycle that’s safe for the fabric, adding regular Clorox bleach for particularly stubborn marks. Soaking the tees in a solution of detergent and water before washing can also help remove areas of yellowing. Air dry until you’re sure they’re gone, as the heat from the dryer can make these stains permanent.


      How to remove sweat stains: hats

      If your favorite baseball cap is starting to look a little less durable, don’t toss it in the washing machine just yet. It’s best to hand wash (if it’s safe, according to the label), then scrub the stained area with a soft brush (like an old toothbrush or dish brush) before rinsing. Once the stain is gone, wipe off the hat with a towel, reshape it, and air dry.

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