Don Goldstein

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
United States
Los Angeles
A while ago, the owner of a dry cleaners told me how to remove sweat stains from white dress shirt collars. I don't remember exactly what he said. I think he said to dip the collar in a mixture of a very small amount of vinegar diluted in a large amount of water soon after wearing the shirt. Does anyone know anything about this?


Active Member with Corp. Privileges
United States
I don't know anthing about vinegar but I've always used a (Shout) stain stick on my collars and cuffs before I bring them into the dry cleaners to be laundered. If you dry clean your white dress shirts I have no idea what you could (or should) put on them. Also a spray product called Zout works great. I find that Zout works a bit better on stains generally speaking. Just spray on the collar and/or cuffs and launder.


Super Member
Albania State
Albania City
The stains on your collar are not from sweat, but from dead skin cells rubbed off the back of your neck. To remove them from the collar, (1) spray the collar with a stain remover like Shout, and wait a few minutes, than (2) scrub the stained area with a tooth brush lathered with laundry soap until the stain diminishes, then (3) wash the shirt with normal detergent in a machine or handwash with Woolite.

Always works for me--if the stains aren't particularly bad you might be able to skip the first step.


Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member
United States
Palm Desert

From The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes, Stain Removal chapter:


Perspiration, if allowed to stay in fabric, will eventually permanently stain and weaken the fabric. Aluminum chlorides in antiperspirants can also stain and weaken fabric. Controlled use of antiperspirants and laundering shirts immediately after wear can minimize the damage.

1. If the stains are fresh, soak the shirt in ammonia for 30 minutes then wash.

2. If they are older stains, try soaking in vinegar first. If that doesn’t do it, try heated white vinegar and borax or non-chlorine bleach. Old stains are more difficult to treat because they have been set, particularly from being heated in the dryer.

You can also put liquid laundry detergent right on the stain, leave it for five to ten minutes, then wash. Launder shirts in the hottest water safe for the fabric, using an enzyme detergent or a detergent with bleach alternative (check care labels to be sure this is okay).


Let deodorant dry before you put on your shirt.

And don't let stains sit! Apply pre-wash spray or liquid detergent ASAP, and then launder. Use the hottest water safe for the garment.

Wearing an undershirt can also help keep stains off your shirts. Wear a T-shirt or V-neck, any undershirt that covers the underarms, not a tank top.

They’re comfortable and present a better appearance under a sheer dress shirt.


Use hair shampoo to pre-treat stains from body oil ("ring around the collar").

The “dirt†on your shirt collar after a long day isn’t really dirt! It’s not that you don’t have a clean neck! On your collar is a collection of melanin pigment from shed skin cells, since the shirt collar is the area that has rubbed off the most skin cells.


Use denture cleaning tablets! Fill a basin with water and add one or two tablets. Let the tablets dissolve and then soak the garment until the yellow is gone.

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