The Secret To Getting Rid Of Sweat Stains Is Already In Your Kitchen Pantry

Finding sweat stains on your favorite shirt is always disappointing, but removing that stain doesn't have to be difficult. Sweat stains are caused by the salt and proteins in your perspiration, natural body oils, and the aluminum in most deodorants. Thankfully, a bit of vinegar from the pantry can help get those discolored splotches out of the armpits of your shirts. With only this common household item and some cold water, your clothes will be as good as new.

To address a fresher sweat stain, you can try combining 1 part vinegar with 4 parts water, pouring the mixture over the stain(s) and allowing it to sit for a few minutes, then washing it afterward. Be sure not to put the stained clothes into the dryer until you're certain the stain is out, however, since drying clothes with heat can set stains. If pouring the vinegar solution directly onto your laundry seems too messy, mix a larger solution and soak your items directly in it for up to 30 minutes.

How to remove sweat stains from shirts

If you're dealing with more difficult sweat stains, you may need to take a few extra steps to get your clothes looking perfect again. After your shirts are done soaking, squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Combine 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of both salt and hydrogen peroxide and rub the paste into the stains, allowing it to set for 20 minutes. You can also try scrubbing the mixture onto the stains with a toothbrush. After wiping off the paste, wash your clothes and check to see if the stains are gone. If not, allow them to air dry and repeat the process.

For set-in stains on white shirts, you may want to use bleach. If you choose this stain-removal method, make sure to use oxygenated bleach rather than chlorine bleach. While chlorine bleach can make sweat stains worse, oxygenated bleach is better for getting out protein-based stains. For this method, you'll need to combine the bleach with hot water and 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent. While lightly stained clothes may only need to soak for an hour, you can leave your shirts in the solution overnight, if needed. Once they're done soaking, ring out the clothes and wash them.

It is important to note that you should never mix bleach and vinegar together in any manner. According to the Washington State Department of Health, mixing these two together will cause chlorine gas, which could lead to respiratory distress or worse.

Other methods for removing sweat stains

Another way to remove sweat stains is with dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Try combining 1 part dish soap with 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, applying the mixture to the stains, and scrubbing. After letting it sit for about an hour, you can wash the clothes as usual. If nothing seems to work, you might want to consider using lemons. Like vinegar, lemons are acidic, which helps to draw a stain out. Combine equal amounts of lemon juice with water and soak the stain for 30 minutes. Adding salt to the mixture and rubbing it against the clothes can also help get the stains out. Allow the clothes to dry in the sun for at least an hour before washing.

If the sweat stains are on a more difficult item to clean, like a hat, you can skip the soaking and go straight to the paste method. Mix 1/4 of water with 4 tablespoons of baking soda and gently scrub it into the rim of the hat. Let it sit for no longer than an hour, spritz the hat with white vinegar, scrub it once more, and rinse it with cold water. No matter how bad the sweat stains in your clothes seem, these tricks should help you get them out in no time.