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How to get sweat stains out of white and colored shirts

Whether you’re just finishing an intense workout or returning from a day of fun with your family, sweat stains can happen. The good news is they don’t have to ruin your family’s clothes. Follow these steps to help easily and gently get rid of sweat stains from your clothes.

What causes yellow armpit stains?

Sweat naturally contains a mixture of water, proteins, salt and fats. When these interact with body oils and typical deodorant ingredients on your shirts, the buildup can create the yellow discoloration we call sweat stains. Learn more about whitening yellowed clothes. Get more information about getting rid of deodorant stains.

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Can you remove sweat stains from a shirt?

You may be able to get sweat stains out of shirts with a soaking solution, stain removal paste and a machine wash. If sweat stains go untreated and get sent through a heated dryer cycle, they can really settle in, making them even trickier to remove. So, it might be safest to air dry your stained clothing until you remove the stain to your satisfaction. Read on to learn more about each step of the process.

If the stain removal process doesn’t get you the results you’re looking for, you can repeat the stain-removal cycle until you’re satisfied. Once the garment is free of stains, you can run it through a heated dry cycle. In addition, avoid chlorine bleach, which can actually darken the appearance of sweat stains. If you do choose to bleach out your sweat stains, you’ll likely get better results with an oxygenated bleach.

How to get rid of sweat stains

Sweat stains can be treated with a simple six-step process. First, soak the garment in a solution of white vinegar and water. Then, scrub the stains with a stain removal paste, machine wash and air dry. Be sure to consult each clothing item’s care label for specific instructions. You can repeat this process as many times as needed to remove the sweat stain.

One alternative method of stain removal includes applying lemon juice to the stain. However, this method should only be used on white clothes as it can cause colored clothing to fade. Learn more ways to remove stains from white clothing.

  • Water

  • White Vinegar

  • Baking Soda 

  • Salt

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Toothbrush

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Step 1: Mix soaking solution

Mix together 2 cups of water and 1 cup of white vinegar in a container. Place the stained shirt in this solution and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.

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Step 2: Remove excess water

After your shirt has soaked in the solution for 30 minutes, gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the shirt and lay it flat on a clean surface. Avoid wringing or twisting your garment.

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Step 3: Prepare stain removal paste

Add ½ cup of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to a bowl and mix thoroughly to form a paste.

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Step 4: Scrub the stain

Apply the paste with a spoon or an old toothbrush to the sweat stains and let the mixture sit on the shirt for at least 20 minutes. Then use your fingers to rub the mixture into the stained areas.

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Step 5: Machine wash

Wash your shirt on the hottest temperature setting recommended on the care tag.

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Step 6: Air dry

Until you are sure the sweat stains are completely removed, it’s best to air dry your shirt. The heat from the dryer can set any stain residue—even stains that may not be visible while the clothing is still wet.

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Step 7: Repeat (optional)

If your clothing is still stained after finishing this process, you can repeat it as many times as necessary until you are satisfied.

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How do you get rid of a fresh sweat stain on shirts?

Although you don’t have to treat a sweat stain right away, it’s best to remove the stain as soon as you notice it to avoid further embedding the stain into the fabric. You can help remove a fresh sweat stain by pre-treating it with an enzymatic stain remover. Rub the stain remover into the shirt and wash as usual. Feel free to add a laundry booster to provide further stain elimination.

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Can you remove sweat stains from white shirts with baking soda?

Baking soda can be used to remove stains from your clothing without damaging them. When mixed with enough water to form a paste, it can help remove sweat stains and odors from clothing fibers. Brush the paste on with a toothbrush or your hands and let it dry before machine washing as the item’s care label prescribes.

How do you prevent sweat stains on white shirts?

Sweat stains are made from the combination of perspiration and ingredients like aluminum and zirconium in your deodorant. Using an aluminum-free antiperspirant can potentially reduce the likelihood of getting sweat stains, but it’s not a foolproof method. The sweat itself, as well as other common ingredients in your deodorant, can also contribute to the buildup of sweat stains.However, there are a few tips that can help you and your family prevent sweat stains: 

  • Wear an undershirt: Wearing a sweat-proof undershirt can help protect your clothes from sweat stains.

  • Change deodorant: Changing to an all-natural deodorant without aluminum can help to prevent sweat stains. 

  • Trim or shave armpit hair: Since hair retains more moisture than skin, grooming your underarm hair can help prevent dirt and bacteria from mixing with your deodorant.

  • Avoid tight fitting shirts: Choosing a more breathable or loose fitting shirt can help reduce sweat stains since the fabric is further from your body and the deodorant you wear. 

  • Wear clothing with natural fibers: Natural fabrics like cotton, wool and silk respond to the body’s temperature and can reduce sweating when compared to synthetic fabrics like polyester and elastane.

Explore Whirlpool® washing machines

Whirlpool® washers can help you keep your family’s laundry clean and fresh. Select models include pretreat stations to conveniently treat stains before washing. Browse the collection of front and top load washers to find the best option for your laundry room to help you stay on top

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