How to remove sweat stains from colored shirts

It can be really frustrating when your favorite shirt gets ruined by sweat stains. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Check out our guide on how to remove sweat stains from colored shirts.

To remove sweat stains from colored shirts, first try soaking the stain in a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar for at least an hour. After soaking, scrub the stain gently with a toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush. Rinse the shirt thoroughly and repeat the process if necessary. Another option is to apply a pre-treatment stain remover to the stain and then launder the shirt according to the care instructions.

If the stain persists, you can also try using a baking soda paste made by mixing baking soda and water, then applying it to the stain and allowing it to sit for at least an hour before laundering. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals on colored shirts, as they can cause fading or discoloration.

remove sweat stains from colored shirts

What causes sweat stains?

Sweat stains are caused by the accumulation of sweat on clothing. When sweat comes into contact with the proteins in certain fabrics, such as cotton or nylon, it can cause a yellow or brown discoloration. This is especially common in areas of the clothing that are in close proximity to areas of the body that produce the most sweat, such as the armpits, neck, and back. Factors that can contribute to excessive sweating and the formation of sweat stains include heat, humidity, physical activity, and certain medical conditions.

Soaking in Cold Water and White Vinegar

One of the easiest and most effective ways to remove sweat stains from colored shirts is by soaking them in a mixture of cold water and white vinegar. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with cold water.
  2. Add half a cup of white vinegar to the water.
  3. Place the stained shirt in the solution and let it soak for 20-30 minutes.
  4. After soaking, run cold water over the soiled area and gently rub it with your fingers to loosen the stain.
  5. Finally, wash the clothing as you normally would in a load with like colors.

Using an Oxygen Bleach Solution

Another effective method to combat sweat stains is by creating a stain-removing solution with oxygen bleach. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Dissolve oxygen bleach in hot water according to the package directions.
  2. Add a tablespoon of liquid or powder detergent to the solution.
  3. Submerge the colored shirt in the mixture and let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. After soaking, wash the shirt in cold water.

Pre-Treating with Detergent and White Vinegar or Baking Soda Paste

If you prefer a pre-treatment method, you can use a combination of detergent and white vinegar or a baking soda paste to tackle sweat stains. Follow these steps:

  1. Create a mixture of detergent and white vinegar or a paste of baking soda and water.
  2. Pre-treat the affected areas by applying the mixture or paste directly to the soiled spots.
  3. For the mixture, rinse the garment in warm water to dilute the stain, then apply the solution.
  4. For the paste, rinse the shirt in warm water to dilute the stain, then apply the paste to the affected areas.
  5. Let the mixture or paste sit for at least an hour before washing the shirt in cold water.

It’s important to note that when using a baking soda paste, opt for water instead of hydrogen peroxide to protect the color of the shirt. To ensure compatibility with your garment, test a small, hidden area before treating the entire shirt.

Protecting the Color of Your Shirt

When dealing with sweat stains on colored shirts, preserving the vibrant hues of your garments is essential. Here are a few tips to help you maintain the color integrity:

  1. Sort your laundry properly: Separate colored shirts from whites and other light-colored garments to prevent color bleeding and staining.
  2. Follow care instructions: Always check the label on your shirt for specific washing instructions and temperature recommendations.
  3. Wash in cold water: Cold water helps preserve colors and prevents further staining.
  4. Avoid heat: High temperatures, such as hot water or a hot dryer, can set stains and fade colors. Opt for air-drying or using the low heat setting on your dryer.

By taking these precautions, you can keep your colored shirts looking vibrant and free from sweat stains for longer.


Sweat stains on colored shirts can be frustrating, but they don’t have to be permanent. With the right techniques and a little patience, you can successfully remove these stains and restore your favorite shirts to their former glory. Remember to choose the method that works best for your specific garment and always test on a small, hidden area before treating the entire shirt. By following the steps outlined in this article and implementing preventive measures, you can bid farewell to sweat stains and enjoy fresh, stain-free clothing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q: Can I use bleach to remove sweat stains from colored shirts? A: It’s best to avoid using chlorine bleach on colored shirts, as it may cause further discoloration. Opt for oxygen bleach instead, following the instructions provided.
  2. Q: How long should I soak the shirt in the vinegar solution? A: Allowing the shirt to soak for 20-30 minutes in the vinegar solution should be sufficient to help remove sweat stains effectively.
  3. Q: Is it necessary to use cold water for washing colored shirts? A: Yes, washing colored shirts in cold water helps preserve the colors and prevent further staining. Hot water can set stains and cause colors to fade.
  4. Q: Can I use hydrogen peroxide instead of water for the baking soda paste? A: It’s recommended to use water instead of hydrogen peroxide when creating a baking soda paste to protect the color of the shirt. Hydrogen peroxide may cause discoloration.
  5. Q: What should I do if the sweat stains persist after trying these methods? A: If the sweat stains are stubborn and don’t come out with these methods, it may be best to seek professional help from a reputable dry cleaner.

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Camilo Kawas is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in the field of commercial cleaning, with a specific focus on clothes, carpet cleaning and floor care. With a profound understanding of the importance of selecting the right products for effective stain removal from clothes, Camilo has established himself as a trusted authority in the industry.