How To Remove Sweat Stains

December 13, 2022

Sweat stains are the pits—no pun intended. Not only are they unsightly, but they can also be challenging to remove. If you’re looking for a simple solution that doesn’t involve spending a lot of money on detergents or stain removers, then read on for some easy steps that will help you get those pesky sweat stains out in no time!

How to Remove Sweat Stains

Before you sweat removing sweat stains, try one of these five simple solutions on how to remove sweat stains from clothes and get rid of sweat stains for good:

  • White vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Scrub the following paste formula into the stain in question and let it soak for at least 45 minutes. Combine one cup of white vinegar with ½ cup baking soda, one tablespoon hydrogen peroxide, and one tablespoon salt. Then wash your shirt as normal.
  • Crushed aspirin. Follow the steps above, but this time make a paste out of two dissolved white, uncoated aspirin tablets and allow your garment to soak for a few hours.
  • Dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Scrub one part dish soap with one part hydrogen peroxide into your stain. Allow to soak for a few hours, then wash.
  • Salt and hot water: Make a solution of four tablespoons of salt in one liter of hot water. Let sit for a few hours, then wash.
  • Lemon juice and warm water. Mix equal parts warm water with lemon juice. Scrub into the stain and let soak overnight. Wash as usual the next day.

Are Sweat Stains Permanent?

Sweat stains are not permanent but removing sweat stains can be particularly difficult. Some fabrics, like cotton and linen, are more prone to stains than others, such as synthetic fibers. If you don’t catch the stain early, it can be difficult to remove it completely.

Why Does Sweat Stain?

You might wonder why sweat stains clothes—specifically, why stains normally appear on armpits and hats. The apocrine sweat glands in your scalp, underarms, and other hairy parts produce a thick type of sweat notorious for staining since it’s full of fats and proteins. When it mixes with certain compounds like bacteria or aluminum chloride, the molecules react and alter the fibers, which is what causes sweat stains.

How to Get Sweat Stains Out of Hats

Before you start moving forward with one of the stain-removal options above to remove sweat stains from your hat, you’ll want to ensure that they won’t harm your hat first. First, check to see if your hat has any washing instructions, and stay within those limits as much as possible. Next, you’ll want to spot-test your detergent or stain-removal paste. Rub it into a part of your hat that’s not noticeable to others, then rinse with water. You’ll want to wash your hat with water alone if any color runs off.

If you’re cleaning a vintage cap, take extra caution. Older hats (typically made before 1983) are likely to feature cardboard bills instead of plastic ones. If your hat has cardboard, you’ll want to avoid soaking it. Spot-clean it instead to avoid damage.

In general, it’s recommended to handwash hats versus putting them in the washing machine. After applying your cleaning solution and soaking it, rinse it with warm or cool water, then carefully pat it dry with a towel.

Reshape the hat by placing it on top of an upside-down coffee can or an object that resembles the shape of your head. Let the hat dry completely.

How to Get Sweat Stains Out of Shirts 

Getting your pit stains out of shirts can be tricky—bleach can make pit stains on white shirts more prominent, and using certain ingredients on colored shirts can end up causing more harm than good.

How to remove armpit stains from white shirts: Use any of the DIY methods listed above. Always check your shirt’s washing instructions, but in general, washing whites in hot water can make them appear brighter. Consider washing your white shirt in hot water after applying a cleaning solution.

How to clean armpit stains on colored shirts: Avoid using hydrogen peroxide. Instead, stick to soaking in a white vinegar and water solution for at least 45 minutes, then rub the area to remove the stain and wash the shirt as usual.

How to clean armpit stains on silk and dry-clean-only shirts: For shirts with dry-clean-only instructions, you’ll want to avoid trying to remove sweat stains yourself—stick with the pros for these stains.

How to Prevent Sweat Stains

Since the main culprit of sweat stains is when sweat mixes with aluminum found in deodorant, waiting a few minutes after applying deodorant to put on your shirt can help prevent sweat stains. Switching to an aluminum-free deodorant also helps.

Other solutions for how to prevent armpit stains, sweat stains on shirts, and other unsightly yellow sweat stains include: 

  • Wearing an undershirt as an extra layer of protection.
  • Washing dirty clothes promptly. Sweat stains take time to develop, so washing clothes immediately really helps.
  • Trimming armpit hair to avoid excessive sweating.
  • Changing your diet. If you sweat excessively, eliminating sweat-inducing foods (like spicy foods and caffeine) and introducing sweat-reducing ones may help. Vitamins B, C, and E, and natural remedies like brewer’s yeast, eucalyptus, lecithin, and chamomile may help reduce excess sweating.

The best sweat stains are the ones you prevent in the first place, but when that’s not possible, a prompt response to washing them to remove the stain is the best course of action. The longer sweat stains sit, the harder they are to remove! The next time you’re dealing with a pesky sweat stain, remember that now you know how to clean sweat stains using solutions like the ones in this article before giving up on your clothes altogether. And if you don’t want to deal with removing sweat stains yourself, hiring a Tasker to help with your laundry couldn’t be easier.