Sustainability made simple

How to Remove Sweat Stains From Shirts Naturally: The Ultimate Guide

How to remove sweat stains from shirts natural sustainable methods
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Shashank Shekhar (L); Avi Richards (R)

Remove sweat stains quickly and easily with just a couple all-natural household hacks. These common household products work just as well as any chemical cleaner. Here’s how to get sweat stains out of shirts like a pro.

Whether we’re densely packed in public transit at the peak of summer, out for a morning jog or simply a bit nervous on the first date – our body reacts to certain situations with increased sweat production. Although sometimes untimely, this is a completely natural reaction.

Why Do We Sweat?

In the case of thermoregulatory sweating, sweat serves to cool the body. However, hormones such as adrenaline are responsible for so-called “stress sweat” – a process which occurs regardless of ambient temperature.

No matter the cause of sweat, we’re all too familiar with its unfortunate side effects. The results can be unpleasant odors and sweat stains that are hard to remove. In this how-to guide, we’ll show you how to remove sweat stains from your clothes the natural and sustainable way – that is, without commercial (chemical) stain removers. Here’s how.

How to Remove Sweat Stains: Get Rid of Yellow Spots

How to remove sweat stains sustainable without chemical stain removers
Utopia will show you how to get even the trickiest of sweat stains out of shirts and other clothing items. (Photo: © Utopia)

You should usually be able to get sweat stains out of shirts and tops quite easily with a single wash cycle. However, sometimes light colored clothing can pose quite the cleaning challenge. Some persistent cases – especially whites – can become increasingly discolored over time. If you don’t try and get rid of these sweat stains in a timely manner, they can grow into obvious and unsightly yellow blotches in the armpit area. This discoloration is caused by the chemical reaction between sweat and body fat in combination with the active ingredients in deodorants.

However unsightly, you can still remove sweat stains without using chemical cleaners known to pollute the environment. We’ll show you a number of natural alternatives to classic stain removers from the supermarket that aren’t only kind to the environment, but also your wallet.

Need to cool off? Utopia’s tip: Escaping The Heat: How to Cool a Room Without AC

How to Get Rid of Sweat Stains the Natural Way

When it comes to getting rid of sweat stains, there are a few simple yet effective household remedies out there that will outperform almost all cleaning products in your arsenal. Most of the ingredients you probably already have in your pantry: Vinegar, citric acid and soda are true miracle weapons in the fight against lime, fungi, bacteria and stains of all kinds. Here are some of the most effective household methods that help to remove sweat stains:

1. Remove Sweat Stains with Vinegar

Vinegar not only helps remove sweat stains from lighter colored textiles, but also gets rid of white sweat stains on dark fabrics. In addition to removing stains, vinegar also eliminates unpleasant odors caused by lingering bacteria.

Simply soak your sweat stained article of clothing in ordinary household vinegar (5% acid) or diluted vinegar essence (one part essence + four parts water) for several hours and then wash it along with the rest of your clothes as you would normally. This natural household remedy is also a suitable method for removing sweat stains from more delicate and colorful textiles.

Utopia’s tip: Washing Clothes with Vinegar: Benefits of Adding Vinegar to Laundry

2. Get Sweat Stains out of Shirts with Baking Soda

Get rid of sweat stains remove yellow sweat stains baking soda method
Baking soda will help get sweat stains out of lightly colored shirts and tops in no time. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - evitaochel)

Baking powder or baking soda works wonders at getting rid of sweat stains. First, dampen the sweat stain with some warm water. Then, simply sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda onto the stain and rub it into the fabric with your fingertips. Let the mixture soak in briefly and rinse thoroughly. Machine wash as normal with the rest of the laundry.

Note: Baking powder should only be used on non-delicate, white textiles. Trying to remove sweat stains from other garment types with baking soda may cause further discoloration!

3. Natural Alternative to Chemical Stain Remover: Lemon Juice

Lemon juice method to getting rid of sweat stains
Instead of chemical cleaning agents, why not use lemon juice to get rid of sweat stains? (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Nicepear Jakarta)

Lemon juice is a natural bleach and is an incredibly easy way to get sweat stains out of shirts and other garments.

For this natural sweat stain remover, simply mix equal parts lemon juice with warm water and scrub into the stained area. Let the mixture soak until the sweat stain has vanished. If you want to be sure you remove sweat stains thoroughly, try leaving your stained shirt or top out in the sun to really lift the stain. Just be careful with colourful or delicate laundry.

4. Get Rid of Sweat Stains with Bile Soap

Bile soap (also known as gall soap) consists of curd soap and bovine gall. It is commonly available in both solid and liquid form as well as a vegan alternative.

Remove sweat stains from your shirts by rubbing the bile soap directly into the stain with a little water. Then leave it to soak for around half an hour and rinse thoroughly. Now you can wash the garment in the machine along with the rest of the laundry. Simply repeat the process as needed if you weren’t able to get rid of all the sweat stains the first time around.

Utopia’s tip: 3 Soap Recipes: How to Make Homemade Soap

No Luck? Think Twice Before Tossing

Whether or not you’ll be able to successfully get rid of sweat stains using these natural methods depends on the severity and age of the sweat stain as well as the type of shirt or garment. Sometimes you may not be able to get sweat stains out of your favorite shirt or top completely, and the question thus remains: What next?

Instead of sending your used clothes straight for the trash, why not put them back to use? For example, you could cut up an old sweat-stained shirt and turn it into a new dust rag. Or you can get creative and sew and snip an old garment into a produce bag. Or maybe – during the Covid-19 pandemic – even a DIY cloth face mask? There are endless upcycling methods out there – a quick online search should find just the one for you.

This article was translated from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Schweißflecken entfernen: Mit diesen Hausmitteln klappt’s

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