Would you like a simple solution to get clean shirt collars every time? If the answer is yes, you are likely annoyed with those annoying rings around the collar. These are common stains usually caused by excess sebum, body oils, and hair care products.
Thankfully, a number of strong cleaning agents and easy-to-do DIY methods are here to help. Say goodbye to your stained collars as you browse through a few tips:
When choosing a degreaser make sure it is suitable for clothes. In doubt test the product on a small area of your shirt. Use stronger degreasers for white shirts and less stronger ones for colored shirts to preserve the fabric.
Once you have a suitable product at hand, apply on the stain and use a soft toothbrush to spread the product; be gentle to avoid damaging the fabric. Let it soak for five to ten minutes then launder your shirt as usual, repeat the process if needed.
Use a Solvent-Based Stain Remover
Solvent-based stain removers are used as laundry boosters as they are great to remove stains, and are found in powder or liquid form. The most common solvent-based stain remover available in the market is Shout, but Oxyclean, Resolve (formerly Spray ‘n Wash) and Zout are also good brands. Alternative dry cleaning solvents such as Rynex 3E is another recommended brand.
Choose the product that suits you best then apply with a clean brush until the stain diminishes. Allow it to soak for three to five minutes before laundering, repeat the process until the stain disappears.
Soak in Dish Detergent
Like degreasers, dish detergents contain oils that can quickly remove collar stains, especially grease-based ones. Popular dishwashing detergents include Dawn, Ajax, and Cascade. Detergents are also eco-friendly and free of harmful chemicals so it won’t damage your shirt.
Colorless detergents are the best ones, but don’t worry if you don’t have it, just dilute the one you have with lukewarm water before applying. With the product of your choosing at hand apply it directly to the stain and allow it to soak for ten to twenty minutes for colored shirts; for white shirts let it sit for at least an hour, then rinse the shirt before washing.
Pre-Treat With Bleach-Free Laundry Detergent
Bleach-free detergents are an excellent pre-treatment for removing pale yellow-colored sweat stains. It also removes food and lipstick smudges as products such as Tide, Ultimate Clean, and the eco-friendly Seventh Generation Natural Cleaning Formula claim to have oxygenated powers to treat protein-based stains.
Just make sure you choose bleach-free or chlorine-free detergent as products containing these chemicals may counteract with the proteins in sweat and darken the stain even further. Now that you know what product to use apply it on the shirt collar and using your fingers rub it gently. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before washing the shirt as normal and air dry.
Rub with Shampoo
You will be surprised with the properties a bottle of shampoo has, it cleans your hair and your clothes. Shampoos for oily hair can also remove collar stains (from white and colored shirts) as it breaks sweat, dirt, and body oils; and it is considered a low-budget alternative for degreasers.
Grab a bottle and dab small amounts of the product directly onto the collar, rub the collar together or use your fingers to work the shampoo into the fabric. Let it stay for 15-30 minutes then rinse thoroughly and wash as usual. Repeat the process if needed.
Treat with Lemon Juice and Salt Mixture
The acid in lemon is not just an asset in the kitchen; it also matches some of the most effective laundry detergents. Mix it with salt and you have a great stain remover. Just keep in mind that lemon juice has a bleaching effect, so use this method only on white shirts.
Start by squeezing a fresh lemon juice directly onto the collar until damp, add a spoonful of table salt and using your fingers rub the mixture around the collar until the stain lifts. For tough stains apply the mixture and leave your shirt directly under the sunlight for about an hour. The acidity of the lemon and the heat from the sun will enhance the mixture; once the stain disappears wash your shirt as usual.
Soak in Vinegar Solution
Vinegar is an effective cleaning agent when mixed with salt or baking soda; distilled white vinegar is effective in removing sweat stains and odor from clothes. Like lemon, vinegar has bleaching properties so use only on white shirts.
Start by soaking the stain in white vinegar for about 20-30 minutes then launder the shirt in cold water, and set at side. Once the shirt is half dry combine vinegar and baking soda in a bowl creating a thick paste and apply the paste onto the entire collar. Leave it for 15-20 minutes or until the stain disappears then wash in cold water and air dry.
Another method is combining vinegar and salt. Soak the stained garment with equal parts of vinegar and salt for at least an hour or overnight for best results, then launder as usual.
Baking Soda as Paste and Laundry Booster
Baking Soda has sodium bicarbonate what makes it an effective cleaner, deodorizer, and fabric softener. Just combine equal amounts of baking soda and water then rub the paste directly onto the affected area, let it dry for about two hours before washing.
Baking soda is also considered a laundry booster, add a cup of baking soda to a load of clothes in the washing machine and you will have softer and cleaners clothes.
Raid your Medicine Cabinet (Aspiring and Hydrogen Peroxide)
Aspirin is an effective sweat and grease remover. Crush three Aspirin pills and dissolve into a half cup of water. Soak the stain for two to three hours until it disappears and then wash it using your regular laundry detergent.
You can also mix three Aspirin pills with a tablespoon of cream tartar and water to remove collar stains. Rub the paste onto the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes before laundering.
Another useful item in your medicine cabinet is hydrogen peroxide. Blend equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water, then pour onto the stain. Soak the shirt for 15 minutes before washing.
Others DIY Home Remedies and Tips
You would be surprised at the amount of products you have at home that can be used as effective cleaning agents and stain removers, in fact, you can create your own laundry pre-treaters by using any of the following methods:
Ammonia, for example, loosens tough stains and breaks minerals that cause sweat to stick on your shirts; use it as a stain remover by mixing equal parts of ammonia and water then pour onto the stain. Leave the solution for about an hour before laundering.
You can also combine 25% ammonia, 25% liquid laundry detergent, and 50% water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly onto the stains and rub using your fingers. Leave for 10-15 minutes then wash as usual.
You can also make your own commercial stain remover like Oxyclean, just combine equal amounts of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Soak the stain in the solution and leave for 5-10 minutes before washing.
Warm water softens fabric and helps in the process of removing stains from any type clothing. Combined with a good cleaning solution and stain removal your collars will be sparkling after every wash.
Put at side hand scrubbing, you can increase the chances of removing stains a lot faster by using a good sponge. Choose a soft sponge as they do the job without damaging the fabric.
Older stains are hard to remove because the longer a stain stays in your shirt, more difficult it is to clear it up, so clean them as soon as you notice a stain and that will make your file a lot easier and your shirts a lot cleaner.
Some stains won’t come out in the first wash. If this is the case, repeat the procedure. You should, however, make sure the cleaner you are using does not cause any discoloration on the fabric. Alternatively, try a different method if the first one didn’t work.
Once the stains are gone you must dry clean the shirts; always check the label for instructions and note that this procedure might change from one shirt to another. You can finish the dry cleaning process by ironing the shirt.
One last thing, white shirts are easier to clean than colored shirts as you can bleach them without damaging the fabric. With colored shirts, always check the products’ label before applying. In doubt test it on a small area of your shirt to confirm it won’t change its color.
Overall, keeping your shirt collars clean are not that difficult, all you need is a suitable cleaning method (such as the ones we described above) and quality products, once you get the hang of it, your shirts will always be clean and free of stains.