Sunday, November 15, 2009

Take that stains!

With all the working out that I do, it is inevitable that sweat and I go hand in hand (or should I say armpit in armpit). I normally like to wear dark colored shirts, but there are times when I wear a white shirt, and it never fails that I get perspiration stains under the arms. In the past I would just throw out the shirt, but that is such a waste of money. I've researched ways to remove the stains with some at home treatments and in doing so, I came across this amazing website.

What are some of your stain removal tips and tricks? I'm always looking for great cleaning advice.

Also, click here to find a ton of other cleaning and organizing tips.

Is it a Perspiration Stain or Deodorant/Antiperspirant Stains?

It can sometimes be confusing as to whether that underarm or armpit stain is from perspiration or deodorant/antiperspirant. If the stain is yellow or green in color and has a crunchy or crispy texture, it’s due to perspiration. If the stain, however, is white or clear with a greasy texture, it’s due to the antiperspirant and should be treated as a grease stain with the appropriate solvent.

Step Away from the Bleach!

Although it’s counterintuitive, chlorine bleach is one of the worst things you can use to treat perspiration stains, even on white cotton fabric. The chlorine in household bleach will react with the proteins in the perspiration and cause the remaining stain to darken even further. You thought the pale yellow stains gave you pause – just wait until your collar and underarms are almost mustard in color!

Stain Removal Option #1 – Start Simple with Detergent

There are so many great liquid laundry detergents on the market today that specialize in treating tough protein stains; the simplest first step in removing perspiration stains is to use liquid laundry detergent. We recommend using one that’s labeled as having oxygenated powers or concentrating in protein-based stains such as food and grass stains. Treat the affected area with full-strength liquid laundry detergent and let sit for 30 minutes. Launder as usual and air dry.

Stain Removal Option #2 – Solar-Powered Stain Removal

If liquid laundry detergent alone doesn’t remove those nasty perspiration stains, try it combined with the ultimate natural treatment option, the sun. Dampen the affected area and treat it thoroughly with full-strength detergent. Then lay the item out in the sun. Be sure to check on the garment regularly and keep it damp with a misting bottle. After a full afternoon in the sun, launder on cool and air dry.

Stain Removal Option #3 - Hydrogen Peroxide to the Rescue

With white fabrics, hydrogen peroxide is one of the best possible solutions for perspiration stain removal. The hydrogen peroxide will react with the proteins in the perspiration and break them apart, helping to prevent the gradual darkening of the area over time. Hydrogen peroxide is, however, like chlorine bleach in its whitening properties. It’s therefore to be approached with extreme caution around colored fabrics.

You can use the hydrogen peroxide either full-strength or diluted to half-strength (half water, half hydrogen peroxide). Since less is more, we recommend always starting with half-strength and adding more if necessary. Pour your hydrogen peroxide solution onto the stain and allow it to soak for 30 minutes. Launder on cool and air dry. If the stain remains, soak it for another 30 minutes in a stronger solution (more hydrogen peroxide).

Stain Removal Option #4 – Vinegar and Water

If hydrogen peroxide is too harsh for your colored fabric, another option that is usually safer for colors is a solution of vinegar and water. Use 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar and a half-cup of water to clean out stubborn perspiration stains. Allow the affected area to soak for 20-30 minutes, and then launder on cool.

Stain Removal Option #5 – Cream of Tartar and Aspirin

If you just can’t get the stains out with detergent, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar, make a paste to scrub in with your old toothbrush. The paste is formed with 1 Tablespoon of Cream of Tartar, 3 crushed aspirins (full-strength, ensure that they’re white and have no colored coating), and a cup of warm water. Use the old toothbrush to work the paste into the fabric, and then leave for 20 minutes. Rinse the affected area in warm water until the paste is removed. This treatment and rinse cycle can be repeated as necessary.

Perspiration stains can turn your favorite shirt into the one you reach for only when everything else is dirty. But this doesn’t have to happen. Reclaim your favorite shirts by removing perspiration stains without sweating much at all!

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