How to remove sweat stains and smell from clothes

Do you wonder how to get rid of sweat stains and smell from your shirts? Don't worry, our handy tips will make it easy!


hanging shirts for sweat stain removing

After a busy day or a vigorous workout, there’s nothing like a sweat stain to remind you how active you’ve been. Washing these sweaty clothes with the rest of your laundry may not be enough to remove the stain and smell of a workout – but just a few extra steps will do the job. This article provides tips on both how to deal with sweat marks on shirts and how to remove the smell of a sweat from your most active clothes.

The best way to get sweat stains out of shirts is to deal with them as soon as possible. You can pre-treat the stains by applying a stain remover or a small amount of detergent such as Surf, and then wash as usual.

How to Get Sweat Stains Out of White Shirts

Those yellow stains in the collar and underarm area may be unsightly, but they can usually be easily removed with a little extra work. Many sweat stains on shirts in the underarm are caused by aluminium compounds in antiperspirant, which react with the salts in your sweat. Gradually, the yellowing builds up on fabrics. Here’s what you can do to tackle this problem:

  • Detergent or Specialist Stain Removers: The easiest way to treat sweat stains is to pre-treat the stains with a small amount of neat liquid detergent such as Surf or with a specialist stain remover. Follow the instructions for pre-treating stains, and you should be able to use these products for both white and coloured shirts. Apply the product directly to the stain, and gently rub it in. Then, wash as normal.
  • Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Water: You could also try using materials like baking soda and hydrogen peroxide – but make sure to test this solution on a small, inconspicuous area of your garment first. Mix together a solution with 1/4 of each of these ingredients. With a thick towel or sponge, rub this solution into the stains and let it soak for a minimum of 30 minutes. Then with an old clean toothbrush or bristle brush, scrub away at the stain to remove it. Wash the clothes as usual in your machine.

Do you use powder, capsules or liquid to wash your clothes?

How to Get Sweat Stains Out of Dark or Coloured Clothes

With darker shirts, you might not find the unsightly yellow stains, but sweat will still leave a stiffness or residue. You can use laundry detergent or a specialist stain remover as before – just follow the directions on the label, and it’s easy to treat sweat patches or stains. There are also a few other products you can try if you want to find out how to treat sweat patches on shirts, but always remember to test them on a small area first.

  • White distilled vinegar: Combine 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with 1 cup of water and apply this to the stain. Let this soak for 30 minutes before laundering the shirt in the washing machine. For a heavier stain, mix a 1:1 solution vinegar and water, and scrub away at the stain with an old, clean toothbrush first.
  • Salt: Dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt in 1 cup of water, and use this to sponge away at the stain. After removing the stain, wash the clothes as normal.

Removing Sweat Smell from Clothes

Sweat stains are one thing, but what do you do with clothes that stink of sweat after a workout? White distilled vinegar does a great job of removing smells.

Pre-soak in vinegar and water: Mix together one part white distilled vinegar and 4 parts water. Soak the clothes in this for 30 minutes before tossing into the washing machine.

Add vinegar and baking soda to your washing cycle: Follow this tip only if you are using bleach-free detergent. Add 1 cup of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) along with the detergent. Add 1 cup of white vinegar directly to the drum of the washing machine. Run the wash as normal, and any smells should be gone.

Now you have several popular tips on how to clean sweaty clothes. Even the sweatiest, most active clothes are nothing to fear now — you know how to keep these clothes both looking and smelling fresh.

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Originally published