How to Remove Sweat Stains from Clothing

There is nothing worse than sweating through your clothes. In the summertime heat and humidity and under pressure, sweat can cause some real damage and stains to your clothing. If you aren’t careful, they could become permanent. Chances are no one wants to walk around with yellow sweat marks under their arms, especially when wearing a clean shirt. But since sweat is a biological stain, you definitely need to know a little bit about stain removal and clothing care. The following tips are designed to help you remove sweat stains from clothing.

  • The first step is to use a liquid laundry detergent that is oxygenated. One common example is Oxi-Clean. Because it is oxygen based it will be able to break down the proteins in stains from sweat. (Note: Often shampoos are oxygenated and can be used as well)
  • Apply the detergent (full strength) directly to the sweat stains and rub gently. Make sure that you evenly distribute the detergent so it covers the entire stain. It will likely take around 30 minutes of soaking to ‘work’ the stain before it can be washed. You can then wash the garment as you normally would.
  • You can also use baking soda mixed with a small amount of water (into a paste) and follow the same steps as above. This is a great idea for clothes that seem stained with perspiration odor as well.
  • If you have a brightly covered garment that has sweat stains, you should use 2 cups of water mixed with four tablespoons of white vinegar. Allow the piece of clothing to soak for around 30 minutes, and then wash in cold water.
  • White clothing sweat stains (especially under the arm) are easily solved by using a half and half mixture of hydrogen peroxide that has been watered down. You should soak until you see the stain disappear.
  • Many people also have luck using their favorite laundry detergent and allowing the garment to stand out in the sun. The sun helps to bleach out the yellowish and dark sweat stains. The trick is making sure that you keep the fabric wet, by spraying it with water often!

If you have sweat stains on a coveted silk garment, you have to be even more careful. The best solution for removing sweat stains from silk is as follows:

  • Sponge with a damp sponge the area several times. You want to make sure to sponge from the inside out in even strokes so you don’t ‘distress’ the fabric.
  • Then use a wetter sponge with a few drop of ammonia on it.
  • Cover the moistened area with a dry cloth, cheesecloth works great, and press down firmly several times. You will see the stain coming out on the cloth.
  • You can also allow the absorbent pad to sit until it pulls up the stain. In a pinch, you can use paper towels.
  • Don’t allow the sweat stain to dry out altogether. Keep it damp by spraying it with water.

If you have to remove sweat from leather, follow these steps:

  • Make a warm solution of soapy water. Use a mild hand soap rather than laundry detergent. Mix till it is sudsy.
  • Use the foam from the top to the spots on the leather. (Only the foam)
  • Wipe clean with a dry cloth.
  • Repeat as necessary.
  • Once it dries completely use a leather reconditioner to finish removing the stain.

All in all, sweat DOES come out of clothes. You simply have to be diligent and to use a removal method as soon as possible. The longer it sits, the harder it will be to remove. Another word to the wise, NEVER wash an item and then try these solutions. Once a garment has been washed in warm water, the stain is essentially set and will not come out.