How to care for white dress shirt (against yellow sweat stain)
A crisp tailored white dress shirt is a staple in a man’s wardrobe.
Be it the formal blacktie tuxedo event or a casual nightout on a Friday, a tailored white dress shirt never fail to impress!
However, one issue that most men face is having the unsightly yellow sweat stains on their tailored white dress shirts (gasp!).
Let us teach you how to extend the lifespan of your tailored white dress shirts by understanding what causes the yellow stains, how to remove them and prevention methods.
What causes the yellow sweat stains on dress shirts?
The yellow sweat stains on your shirts are caused by a mixture of minerals in sweat and the contents in the deodorant or antiperspirant which you use.
The combination of salt (mineral from sweat) and aluminium (content in deodorant or antiperspirant) is what causes the yellow stains on your white shirts and discolourations (especially on the armpit areas) on coloured shirts.
These yellow sweat stains can be stubborn and may require multiple treatments to effectively remove them.
The good news is, you may use simple household solutions and ordinary laundry products to get rid of them!
Overusing chlorine bleach can also cause white shirts to yellow during drying under the sun as the sun adds another layer of bleaching via UV rays.
Hence, white fabrics made from natural fibres like cotton and linen are not spared from yellowing if they are exposed to too much chlorine bleach.
How to remove yellow sweat stains on dress shirts?
Before You Begin
If you are using off-the-shelve stain removers, do test them on an old coloured shirt or fabric before using them on sweat-stained shirts no matter how inncocent they look.
The effectiveness of homadmade stain removers are often the same than their off-the-shelve counterparts. However, it is easier to cause permanent damage to your dress shirts as homemade products are less controlled. Hence, always test any homemade product on an inconspicuous area before applying directly on the yellow sweat stains.
If you are using a hydrogen peroxide solution (mild bleaching agent) for coloured shirts, always dampen a white cloth or cotton swab with it and dab onto an inconspicuous area first to ensure no colour comes off as hydrogen perocide can lighten coloured fabric that is not colourfast.
If there’s some sort of discolouration which rubs off on to your cloth or swab, use white vinegar or off-the-shelve stain remover which are safe for colours instead.
Homemade ways to remove yellow sweat stains from dress shirts
– Baking Soda, Peroxide, and Water solution
You may remove the yellow sweat stain by simply applying a mixture of baking soda, peroxide and water directly on the affected areas.
Firstly, mix the baking soda, peroxide and water in equal parts, and apply the mixture directly on to the stain. Subsequently, use a toothbrush to rub the mixture into the fabric.
Let sit for approximately 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of the stain, and wash as per normal.
You may apply tpothpaste directly to a yellow stain to lighten it. Simply rub the toothpaste over the affected areas with a toothbrush until the yellow stains are lifted. Afterwhich, wash your dress shirts as per usual to remove the toothpaste.
– Lemon Juice
Lemon juice can lighten the yellow sweat stains on white and light-coloured dress shirts.
You need to only apply pure lemon juice on to the affected areas and dry the dress shirts under the sun for an entire day.
Wash your dress shirts as per usual by hand or washing machine to remove the lemon juice right after you bring them in.
How to prevent the sweat stains?
Tips to prevent sweat stains
- Wear an undershirt to avoid getting sweat stains on your dress shirts
This will provide a layer of protection for your dress shirts against sweat and/or deodorant/antiperspirant.
- Use a clinical-strength deodorant/antiperspirant
A strong deodorant/antiperspirant can prevent bacteria-prone sweat from staining your dress shirts.
Always allow time for your deodorant/antiperspirant to dry completely before doning your dress shirts as deodrant/antiperspirant which are not completely dry can lead to yellow stains under your armpits.
Also, try to apply a light layer to prevent getting the deodorant/antiperspirant to come in contact with your dress shirts.
- Trim your armpit hair
As your armpit hair can collect excess sweat, dirt, and bacteria, trimming them can prevent lingering sweat and odour-causing bacteria.
- Wash sweaty dress shirts as soon as possible
Try to wash your sweaty dress shirts as soon as possible even if it means handwashing with a little bit of laundry detergent under cold water. As the longer you leave a sweaty dress shirt to dry, the stronger the sweat stains set in.
- Reduce the use of bleach
As mentioned earlier, white fabrics made from natural fibres like cotton and linen are not spared from yellowing if they are exposed to too much chlorine bleach.
So, if you can, try to hold back on using chlorine bleach!
With just a little work, you may extend the lifespan of your tailored white dress shirts; keeping them crisp and (needless to say) white!