How to get sweat stains out of shirts? | Social Citizen

How to Get Sweat Stains Out of Shirts

You don't have to live with armpit stains, neck stains or lower back stains. Relieve the stress and look your best!
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Whether you’re a fashion lover or somebody who dresses for comfort and convenience, everyone knows the stress of sweat stains. It can make you feel sloppy, unprofessional, and dirty in your favorite clothes, things that are socially uncomfortable no matter how much we do or don’t care about fashion.

Yet somehow, no matter how careful you are to wear deodorant and keep your clothes clean with regular wash cycles, they always end up staining after just a few wears. What gives? Are you just doomed to an endless cycle of buying clothes and having to get rid of them when they get stained? Should you just give up on having unstained clothes?

The answer is no. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent sweat stains in your clothing so you can enjoy them for years and years. You can read all about these strategies below.


What Are Sweat Stains?

Sweat stains are those pesky marks that tend to appear on clothing in places where you sweat the most, such as your underarms and lower back. They’re usually pretty stubborn and difficult to wash out of your clothes, making them much more frustrating than your typical pen ink or food stain.

Sweat stains usually show up most prominently on lighter-colored clothing, but they can also appear as discoloration in darker clothes, meaning that no item is entirely safe from sweat stains.

Learn how to get sweat stains out of white shirts. | Social Citizen
Looking for a guaranteed way to avoid sweat stains? Check out Social Citizen’s sweat-proof Social Tee.

Types of Sweat Stains

There are three common types of sweat stains that you’re most likely to see on your clothes.

Wet Rings

Wet rings are the marks that you see on your clothes when your sweat gets your shirt wet enough that it’s visible from the outside. You see this a lot when people exercise, but it can also happen in stressful situations such as work meetings and first dates or, sometimes, seemingly without any reason at all. These are most visible on light-colored clothing, but exactly how easy it is to see wet rings will depend on the fabric you’re wearing.

Yellow Stains

One of the most common types of sweat stains is the yellow stain, which is a yellowish stain that shows up on the underarm of usually white clothing. There is actually a very common misunderstanding about how yellow stains are created. The truth is that they’re not just caused by sweat, but also related to antiperspirant. The active ingredient in antiperspirant, aluminum, stops your perspiration by blocking your pores. It can also react with the proteins in your sweat to create a chemical reaction that shows up as yellow stains on your underarms. If this is the case, your yellow stains are probably limited to the armpit areas of your shirts even though you’re also sweating from other parts of your body.

Deodorant Stains

Deodorant stains are white marks that get on your clothing caused by residue from the deodorant that you apply. These are incredibly stubborn, and you usually can’t get them off with just water. Sometimes they even cling after you wash and dry your clothes. Just like yellow stains, deodorant stains are especially frustrating because they represent the products that you use to try to manage your sweat - deodorant and antiperspirant - turning against you and creating stains on your clothing.

Effects of Sweat Stains

Sweat stains are a real bummer, affecting your life in more ways than one. Among the negative impacts of sweat stains are the following.

Your Freedom

While not everybody is interested in fashion, everybody expresses themselves through clothing and wants to feel as comfortable and attractive as possible in the clothes they wear. But sweat stains can really limit your clothing choices, stopping you from buying nice clothes because you’re worried you’ll just stain them or causing you to stick to exclusively dark, baggy clothes so that your sweat stains don’t show as much. This can lead to you walking around feeling less like yourself in your own clothes.

Financial Impact

With more sweat stains on your clothes, the more money you’ll spend on doing laundry and replacing your stained clothing with new clothes. All of this can seriously add up, especially if you stain something a bit more pricey like a nice work shirt, or decide to try out dry cleaning as a solution for your sweat stains.

Emotional Impact

Sweat stains can cause a lot of negative emotions, from the self-consciousness of worrying everybody is seeing and judging your sweat stains to the insecurity in social and professional situations to the embarrassment and shame of thinking you’re the only one dealing with this. You’re not, but that doesn’t always make it easier.

Mental Impact

Beyond that, sweat stains can be a major stressor, causing you to worry about the possibility of having visible signs of sweat in important situations. This matters and can lead to all of the negative consequences of stress including headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. Yikes.

You don't have fight sweat stains - instead, prevent them! | Social Citizen

Looking for a way to boost your confidence, save money and avoid armpit stains? Try a sweat-proof Social Citizen Social Tee today. 

How To Get Sweat Stains Out Of Clothes: 4 Directions

So what can you do to remove the pesky sweat stains from your clothing? There are a few methods that could be worth trying out.

1. Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Salt

Both baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are known to have powerful stain-lifting abilities which is why they’re a favorite hack for getting rid of sweat stains. ​​The hydrogen peroxide can lift the stain while the salt and baking soda work as an abrasive agent to scrub out the tough stain and absorb grease and oil.

Directions: To use this hack, just combine 1.5 cups of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide and 1.5 teaspoons of salt. Wet your shirt with cold water and apply the mixture to your yellow stains. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then scrub with an old toothbrush. Rinse and then machine wash in your laundry with your usual detergent on cold. Dry as usual.

2. Dish Soap and Hydrogen Peroxide

You already know that hydrogen peroxide is a good option to fight sweat stains, but adding dish soap into the mix can help add extra stain-fighting power.

Directions: Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap. You can optionally add baking soda for better abrasion. Let the combination sit on your sweat stains for up to an hour, then scrub with a toothbrush and wash and dry as usual.

3. Vinegar

Vinegar may not smell great but it is amazing at cutting through grease and killing bacteria. You can use it on its own or as part of a combination of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and salt.

Directions: We recommend using white distilled vinegar as it is the type that contains no coloring agents. Just put it (plus any mix-ins that you choose) on your sweat stains for at least 30 minutes and then wash on a cold setting.

4. OxiClean

If you want to use a product that’s actually made for getting clothes clean, there’s no better way to go than OxiClean, considered by many to be a miracle cleaner.

Directions: Just mix one scoop of OxiClean into a gallon of warm water. Submerge your stained shirt for an hour, remove it, and wash and dry as usual. Some people swear by this is as the best possible way to get rid of sweat stains.

How to Prevent Sweat Stains from Forming in Your Clothes

While it’s great that there are ways that you can remove sweat stains that have already formed in your clothes, you’ll probably agree that it’s even better if you can prevent them from forming in the first place. Below, we offer some strategies for preventing sweat stains from showing up in your clothes.

Wash Your Clothes Immediately

The first and most important tip is to always wash your shirts immediately after wearing them, especially if you perspired a lot that day. The longer you let your dirty shirts sit without cleaning, the more stubborn the sweat stains will become and the more difficult they will be to remove. Waiting to wash your clothes when they are wet with sweat is among the top ways sweat smells linger in clothing.

Pretreat Your Clothes Before Washing Them

Another thing you can do to increase the chances that your sweat stains will successfully wash out of your clothing is to pretreat your stains before you run your wash cycle. There are a number of things you can pretreat stains with ranging from commercial products made for this purpose to using products you can find in your pantry such as white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and lavender.

Track Your Laundry Outcomes

It’s also a good idea to try out different detergents and track which ones work best for you. If you find that the one you’re using doesn’t do anything to help with your sweat stains, making a switch might be the best solution.

Try to Sweat Less

This may sound a little silly and obvious, but if you sweat so much that you get sweat stains on all of your clothes, it might be worth trying to see if there’s anything you can do to reduce the amount you sweat. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to accomplish this. Nervous sweating is a common problem for those who experience general anxiety. There are a few tricks that can help decrease your perspiration, including:

  • Stress management techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation that will prevent stress sweating
  • Seeing a doctor to find out if you may suffer from excessive sweating conditions
  • Avoiding food and drinks that can trigger sweat such as spicy foods and alcohol
  • Taking sweat-reducing supplements such as vitamins C, B, and E. sage, witch hazel, brewers yeast, lecithin, and eucalyptus

Stop Using Antiperspirant

While antiperspirant can be a sweaty person’s first defense against perspiration, it can also make things even worse by creating yellow sweat stains. So if your sweat stains bother you more than your sweating does, you may want to consider discontinuing your use of antiperspirant and sticking to only deodorant instead.

Stop Using Deodorant

Alternatively, if the main type of sweat stain you battle with is the deodorant stain, you might want to stop using deodorant - or at least the type of deodorant you’ve been using. Switching to an invisible solid deodorant, a clear deodorant, or a spray deodorant might be able to eliminate white deodorant stains.

Change How You Use Deodorant

Another thing you can try is to change how you apply deodorant. First of all, make sure you use no more than one or two light swipes. Packing on layer after layer of deodorant can mean that there is a lot of excess product in your underarms that can easily transfer to your clothing. Additionally, try waiting a few minutes after you put your deodorant on to put on your shirt or, alternatively, put your deodorant on once you’re already wearing your shirt.

Try Sweat Proof Clothing

A viable solution to both yellow underarm stains and wet rings is wearing an underarm pad that can absorb excess sweat and work as a barrier between your antiperspirant and the outside of your clothing. There are underarm pads you can get that you secure to your body or clothing, but an easier and more convenient solution is to buy sweat-proof clothing, like the Social Citizen Social Tee, that comes with an underarm pad already built in.

Shave Your Underarms

While it may not be the norm for men to shave their underarms, or you may want to keep your underarm hair for personal reasons, the truth is that the longer your armpit hair is, the more your sweat will be trapped in it, potentially leading to sweat stains. If sweat stains are a serious problem that you deal with often, trimming or shaving your underarms can be worth considering as a solution.

How Social Citizen Sweat Proof T-Shirts Can Help You

Regular white shirts are highly susceptible to yellowing and sweat stains. But that doesn’t mean that you have to stop wearing them. Instead, try Social Citizen’s sweat-proof Social Tee. It’s designed specifically to stop sweat stains - in fact, it’s guaranteed to stay 100% stain-free.

Made with a comfortable, hidden underarm pad that absorbs sweat and stops it from showing on the outside of the shirt, the Social Tee is the only white t-shirt that you can wear without having to worry about unsightly pit stains or awkward seams. Plus, the underarm pad is made with antibacterial bamboo to help fight odor as it’s fighting stains. Check it out in men’s and women’s cuts!

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