How to remove sweat stains from clothes

Unsightly sweat stains on your clothes? Never fear – this simple guide explains how to get your favourite garments looking fresh in no time.


sweat stained vest top

Key Steps:

  1. Don’t let sweat stains build up from repeated wear; treat sweat stains as soon as they start to appear. Try our more detailed advice on cleaning sweaty clothes for stubborn stains.
  2. Pre-treat the stain with a biological laundry detergent like Surf. Fragrant detergents can help tackle sweat smells too!
  3. If your garment is white then you can use hydrogen peroxide. See below for a step-by-step guide.
  4. Dry your garment naturally, preferably in direct sunlight.
  5. Remember to follow the instructions on any cleaning product you use and to test the solution on an inconspicuous area of the clothing first.

We all hate sweat stains on our clothes. It’s easy to feel unhygienic and unattractive with unsightly marks around the edges and seams of our garments. If you’ve had a tough time removing these marks, and would like to know exactly how to get sweat stains out of clothes for good, never fear –with the right products and treatment it is much easier to get rid of the sight and smell of sweat.

Getting rid of sweat stains may be your priority, but knowing how to remove sweat smell from clothes is also essential. Adding a fragrant detergent like Surf Tropical Lily or a scented dryer sheet to your wash can help to make sure your clothes smell fresh and clean. To keep your clothes free of a damp smell, dry your clothes naturally outdoors, and ensure that they dry properly before storing them.

Before you Remove Sweat Stains

Whatever product you choose to remove sweat stains, it’s important to check the label to ensure you are using it safely and effectively. Do a test run on a small, unnoticeable area of clothing first to be certain. Similarly, always check the labels on your clothing, paying particular attention to the suggested wash temperature limit and the material the item is made of.

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

How to Get Rid of Sweat Stains

The right laundry detergent is an essential factor in successful sweat stain removal. The proteins in sweat – and their interaction with deodorant chemicals – are one of the reasons sweat stains can be so persistent. However, there is a way to fight these stubborn stains: biological laundry detergents contain enzymes, which are designed to break down protein stains. Here’s how to use laundry detergent to help remove sweat stains:

  1. Use a quality biological liquid laundry detergent as a pre-treatment – try something like Persil small & mighty bio, which is specifically designed to be used in this way.
  2. Dab the detergent directly onto the affected area and leave it to soak into the fibres for 5-10 minutes
  3. Then wash and rinse as normal.

If traces of the stain remain, leave the garment in direct sunlight, spraying with water occasionally so that the sweat ‘tide line’ and scent evaporate.

Tip: Add a cup of vinegar to your wash, along with laundry detergent, to help remove any lingering sweat smells.

How to Remove Sweat Stains on White Clothes

If your clothes are white, sweat stains can be removed using a little hydrogen peroxide. Remember to wear gloves and protect your clothing and eyes from splashes when using powerful cleaning chemicals. Follow the directions on the packet and test the product on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first.

  1. To remove sweat stains with hydrogen peroxide, soak the stain in approximately 50% solution of water and hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes – adjust the quantity according to the instructions on the product label.
  2. Rinse with cool water, and let it dry naturally.
  3. If the stain is still visible, repeat the treatment.

Sweat stain removal is easy when you know how! You can find hints and tips on removing other kinds of stain, like sunscreen stains, in this video:

For more fabric specific advice, have a look at this handy stain removal guide; your clothes will look smart and fresh as ever in no time.

Originally published