Below are tips and techniques for perspiration stain removal, so you can remove these stains from clothing and other washable fabrics, as well as from upholstery and carpet, with step by step instructions.
When we exercise, garden, or get out in the hot sun we perspire as a way to keep our body cool.
You can generally prevent perspiration stains from forming on your clothing if you treat excessive perspiration areas, such as the underarms of your shirts, with some liquid laundry detergent that contains enzymes before laundering, and then wash in the hottest water allowed for the garment.
However, if stains caused by perspiration do occur you can get them out, if you act quickly.
The quicker you treat the spots the more success you will have in removing them, and the less likely the perspiration will begin to permanently change the color of your garments.
Step 1: Assess whether the perspiration stain is old or new. If it is old it may have started to change the color of the fabric because of the acidity which is contained in the sweat.
Step 2a: When removing an old stain you should apply white vinegar to the stain, and let it sit for approximately 30 minutes.
Please note that recently there's been some debate here on the site about whether vinegar actually works for these spots or not (click the link to read the discussion if you're interested). I will say it has worked for me.
Step 2b: If it is a new stain, then you should apply ammonia to the stain, and let it sit for approximately 30 minutes. (Be sure to test the ammonia in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it will not damage the fabric.)
Hint: Do not apply both ammonia and vinegar to the stain at the same time, because it will just neutralize the effects of both chemicals.
Vinegar is a mild acid and ammonia is a base when you put them together it brings the pH level back to approximately 7, the pH of water.
Step 3: Rinse either the vinegar or ammonia from the fabric.
Step 4: Apply a laundry prewash stain remover containing enzymes, or blot liquid laundry detergent containing enzymes onto the stained area and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Step 5: Launder in the hottest water the fabric will allow to get out the stain.
Hint: Make sure the spot is gone after washing, but before you place in the dryer or you may set it. Repeat if necessary.
Step 6: For really stubborn stains you can also try re-laundering with either chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric, or color safe bleach if not, in the hottest water safe for the fabric.
I've also gathered several home remedies and tips for removing these stains from clothing together, which you may find helpful (including several product recommendations from readers).
In addition, if you've got yellowing or sweat stains on the underarms of your bras, here are tips for removing that discoloration.
Step 1: Mix a solution of two cups cool water, one tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and one teaspoon of either vinegar or ammonia.
Hint: Do not use both ammonia and vinegar, just choose one, because if you combine them they will neutralize each other's stain fighting characteristics, as explained above.
Make sure if you choose ammonia that you test, in an inconspicuous location, for color fastness on your upholstery. (Click here for more information on how to clean upholstery.)
Step 2: Using this solution, sponge the stains caused by the perspiration with a clean white cloth.
Step 3: Next, blot at the stain until the liquid is absorbed.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2-3 until the perspiration stain is removed from the upholstery.
Step 5: Now that the stain is removed you should get plain cold water and a new white cloth and sponge the area to remove the cleaning solution, and then blot dry.
Hint: Be sure to get the upholstery only as wet as necessary.
Step 6: If the stain still remains blot at it with rubbing alcohol.
Although you may lean back on a seat and get perspiration stains on upholstery it is much more difficult to get them on carpet.
However, if you do somehow get stains caused by perspiration on your carpet the instructions for carpet are the same as for upholstery.
Do you have your own sweat stain removal tip? If so, submit your tip here, or read other tips that have already been submitted.
Are you a stain magnet like me? If so, check out the A to Z Stain Removal Guide which gives directions for how to remove over 100 types of stains from all kinds of surfaces.
Third photo courtesy of lululemon athletica, Flickr CC
Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.
I update the website all the time with tips, tutorials, cleaning recipes, reviews of products from readers like you, and tests I've done on various cleaners, removers and laundry supplies.
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A-Z Guide: Instructions For Removing Over 100 Types Of Stains
Removing Antiperspirant Stains
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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.
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