How to Remove Collar Stains

How to Remove Collar Stains

Learn the most effective ways to clean collar stains, as well as ways to prevent them in the first place.

The 30 Days of Cleaning with Puracy

If you've ever had to retire or toss a collared shirt because of a stain on the collar, we've got you covered. Learn the most effective way to clean those pesky rings around the collar, as well as ways to prevent them in the first place.

  1. Lay the shirt flat, collar-up
  2. Apply laundry detergent directly on the affected area.
  3. Allow the detergent to sit for up to 30 minutes.
  4. Wash the shirt according to fabric care instructions.

Step-By-Step Guide to Removing Collar Stains

Follow these steps for tackling even the toughest ring around your collar.

Ring Around the Collar Stains

  1. Lay the shirt flat so that the collar faces up.
  2. Pour liquid detergent onto the affected area.
  3. Let the detergent sit for up to 30 minutes.
  4. Wash the shirt according to fabric care instructions.

Pro tip: Never use chlorine bleach on sweat stains (or protein stains in general) as this will only cause the stain to yellow.

Older Collar Stains

  1. Soak the shirt in white vinegar for up to an hour.
  2. Rinse the shirt thoroughly in cold water.
  3. Wash the shirt according to fabric care instructions.

Pro tip: You can also use aspirin to break up older stains. Dissolve aspirin in lukewarm water and submerge the shirt for up to an hour.

Sweat Stains on White Shirts

  1. Mix 1 part Dish Soap and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. Apply to the affected area.
  2. For deep set stains, sprinkle on baking soda.
  3. Use a soft brush or old toothbrush to gently scrub in the mixture.
  4. Allow the mixture to sit for up to an hour.
  5. Wash the shirt according to fabric care instructions.

Pro tip: For dark stains, you can apply lemon juice directly on the stain and then let the shirt dry in direct sunlight. The lemon juice's acid and sunlight will bleach the stain.

Sweat Stains on Dark Shirts

  1. Run the affected area under warm water until it is thoroughly wet.
  2. Create a paste from 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1/4 cup warm water. Apply it to the stain.
  3. Gently rub the shirt together to set the paste into the fibers.
  4. Allow the mixture to sit for up to 45 minutes.
  5. Wash the shirt according to fabric care instructions.

Pro tip: Hydrogen peroxide can bleach certain fabrics, so don’t use it on darker hues.

Blood Stains

  1. Completely saturate the blemish using an enzyme-based Stain Remover.
  2. Gently rub formula into the fabric with an old toothbrush.
  3. Let the solution sit for up to 15 minutes.
  4. Wash the shirt according to fabric care instructions.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 as necessary.

Oil-Based Stains

  1. Heavily sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and let it sit for up to 45 minutes.
  2. Brush away the baking soda.
  3. Pour Dish Soap directly on the stain and let it sit for up to 10 minutes.
  4. Wash the shirt according to fabric care instructions.

Mustard or Grass Stains

  1. Remove as much of the stain material as possible with a spoon.
  2. Apply a small amount of alcohol or lighter fluid.
  3. Soak the affected area with a solution of white vinegar, water, and dish soap.
  4. Gently scrub the stain with a soft brush.
  5. Thoroughly flush the area with water.
  6. Apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the affected area.
  7. Apply a few drops of ammonia to the affected area.
  8. Rinse the stain with cool water and apply a few drops of vinegar, followed again with cool water.
  9. Wash the shirt according to fabric care instructions.

What Causes Collar Stains?

Learn about the different components that result in that unsightly ring around your collar.

  • Sweat

The main culprit behind collar stains is sweat. As you go about your day, your neck, back, and jaw rub against your shirt, spreading sweat and grease across your shirt, resulting in a stain.

  • Dead Skin and Natural Oil

Along with sweat, your body produces natural oil and sheds dead skin throughout the day. This results in yellow and brown stains that end up on your collar, particularly after a long, hot day.

  • Skin and Hair Products

Products such as lotion, hairspray, and balms can also cause discoloration or yellow and brown stains on your collar.

  • Jewelry

Some metals and materials found in jewelry can oxidize and rub off on clothing. Materials such as brass, sterling silver, and gold can tarnish clothing.

How to Prevent Collar Stains

Follow these tips to keep your collars fresh and stain-free.

  • Wear an Undershirt

A plain white shirt can keep sweat from staining the collar of your dress shirt, plus they’re easier to launder.

  • Choose Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Deodorant without aluminum in its formula allows you to perspire naturally, limiting collar stains, as well as residue on your shirt’s underarms.

  • Frequent Washing and Regular Exfoliation

Your neck and jaw area cause the majority of collar stains, so regularly keeping these areas clean can further prevent stains. One way to keep dead skin from staining shirt collars is to exfoliate regularly, especially around your neck and shoulders.

  • Collar Protectors

If you don't want to wear an undershirt, you can opt for a collar protector, an adhesive pad that protects your shirt from sweat and other stains.