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How to remove sweat stains in only four steps


Orange, white and grey t shirts drying outside on a washing line

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Doing sports, climbing stairs, stress, or summer temperatures: sweat is sometimes unavoidable. Unfortunately, we can't prevent you from sweating, but we can tell you how to remove sweat stains from clothing after they’ve happened.

Sweat stains – learn more about these annoying blotches

Before you declare war on sweat stains, get to know these pesky spots better! The most common area where sweat stains occur is under your arms, but other parts of the body are also affected, such as your back or neck.

But what do these stains actually consist of? The main components of sweat are water, salt, sugar, urea, and sebum. This mixture is water soluble and can therefore be removed relatively easily by washing. Do you normally use deodorant to prevent sweating or to cover up odours? Unfortunately, this can also come with a downside because deodorants containing aluminium react with sweat and form white or yellow stains on your clothes.

Remove deodorant and sweat stains step by step

With the right product and the following cleaning steps, removing deodorant and sweat stains from your clothes is easy. This way you won't have to sweat when removing sweat stains!

  1. Choose a washing powder and a stain remover suitable for the colour and fabric type of the clothes. For white garments try out Dylon Brilliant White Repair sachets to remove stains and whiten your clothes! Unfortunately, non-washable garments are not suitable for this type of cleaning.
  2. Pre-treat the area first and let the product soak in. You could also prewash the garment.
  3. Wash your clothes at the highest possible temperature such as a 60°C wash. Be aware that some clothes don't like it so hot and therefore need to be washed in cold water. Check the care label beforehand, which is where you will find all the important instructions. 
  4. Afterwards, take a look at the garment and check whether the sweat stains have been successfully removed.
  5. They're still there? Just be patient! Repeat steps 2 to 4 until the stains are gone.

Was that all a bit too fast for you? Don't worry, here's a more detailed explanation of how to remove sweat stains.

Step 1: Select the detergent and stain remover

Take a look at the care label and check whether the garment is washable. If so, you can choose between different washing powder, such as enzyme washing powder to remove sweat stains, but this depends on the colour of your clothes and the material they're made of. Whichever product you choose, follow the instructions for "heavily soiled" clothes so that dried sweat stains can be easily removed.

Step 2: Remove old and dried sweat stains

If the stain proves to be stubborn, use a special stain remover to remove sweat stains and deodorant stains. It's a good idea to check for colour fastness before you start using the stain remover to remove the sweat stains. To do this, apply a small amount of the product to an inconspicuous area of the garment. If the colour of the fabric remains unchanged, it has passed the test. Then apply the stain remover to the stain according to the product instructions. To remove old or dried sweat stains, soak the entire garment in a mixture of water and stain remover.

Step 3: Wash and rinse

Wash the clothes at the highest possible temperature they’ll tolerate - this is indicated on the care label. And it's best to do this as quickly as possible, because fresh stains are much easier to remove than old ones. You can also add stain removal salt to the machine as this could prove effective.

Step 4: Has the stain gone?

If the stain is not completely gone, repeat the previous steps or soak the garment in water and stain remover again. Do not be hasty and do not put the garment in the dryer because the heat may set the stain and make it even harder to remove.

Removing sweat stains from clothing: special treatment for special fabrics

While robust fabrics like cotton, polyester, linen, and denim are machine-washable, silk, viscose and wool are best washed by hand. But even robust materials like cotton and polyester and not invincible and do not withstand every treatment. Bleaching may cause yellowing and damage the fibres so avoid this method of removing sweat stains.

But don't worry, you don't need to be a laundry expert to make the right decision. You'll find all the instructions you need on the care label of your clothes. It can be quite confusing because clothes can be made of different materials. When it comes to hats, the cap, crown, or other parts are often made of delicate material that could shrink, unravel, or come loose in the washing machine, meaning you’ll have to give your washing machine a clean afterwards to make sure nothing gets stuck in there.

Remove sweat stains with homemade stain remover?

Homemade stain removers and natural stain removers often sound like a good and cheap alternative to remove stains or soiling from delicate fabrics. Nevertheless, using them is quite risky. Many sources online recommend homemade solutions like lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide, but these can discolour your coloured clothes. Salt and crushed aspirin is another alternative, but this method takes hours to remove sweat stains. Vinegar is often used not only to remove stains, but also as a natural fabric softener. This trick works on your clothes, but the downside is that the acid in the vinegar often attacks rubber and plastic parts in your washing machine, causing them to become porous over time.

The safe bet is to stick with professional cleaning agents. We wish you every success in removing sweat stains!