Use These 8 Household Ingredients To Banish Sweat Stains For Good

No matter how diligent you are with your hygiene and laundering, it seems like sweat stains are an unavoidable evil. These annoying yellow marks are notorious for bringing an unsightly tinge to our light-colored clothes, unmistakably concentrated in the areas we sweat the most like around the collar and the underarms. If you're worried that these marks are the result of a mistake on your part, however, you can rest assured that this is certainly not the case. Yellowed sweat stains are actually the result of a chemical reaction between sweat, antiperspirant, and detergent, and they can be affected by a wide range of other environmental contributors like the specific fabric of the shirt or what minerals are in your tap water.

However, though they're completely normal, that doesn't mean that we necessarily want them sticking around on our clothes. Regular washing certainly won't hurt when it comes to removing sweat stains, but it typically doesn't do much to help, either. Luckily, there are plenty of different ways you can bring your clothes back to their original color, all without having to look beyond the products you likely already have in your own house. With these eight substitutes for stain remover, your shirts should look like new in no time, with no specially-marketed or heavy chemical-laden formulas necessary.

1. White vinegar

White vinegar is one of the most versatile cleaning tools to have on hand, especially if you frequently find yourself creating your own natural cleaning solutions. This is thanks to its acidity and ability to kill some bacteria. A few spritzes can help to spruce up kitchen counters, cut through grime in the fridge, or refresh dingy floors, but it can also be incredibly beneficial in the laundry room. To remove old sweat stains, apply white vinegar to the affected areas. Allow it to sit for a few minutes or until you notice the stain lightening, then launder the clothing item as you normally would.

2. Baking soda

Baking soda is an undisputed pantry essential, but unless you frequently make delicious desserts, you'll likely find more uses for it when cleaning than when baking. The gritty texture of baking soda can help to scrub away gunk, and its basic formula provides some powerful stain-fighting benefits. In most cleaning recipes that include baking soda, it's made into a paste with water or another common cleaning ingredient like hydrogen peroxide. Treating sweat stains is no different. Mix up your paste in a bowl, then smooth it onto the stain you want to treat. Let it sit, launder as usual, and enjoy your stain-free clothing. 

3. Hydrogen peroxide

There are plenty of different surprising ways to use hydrogen peroxide in your home, and one of this common product's most helpful characteristics is that it's able to lift stains and even slightly bleach materials. This benefit can be used to revive dirty grout lines and even whiten teeth, but it really shines when it comes to restoring stained laundry. To use hydrogen peroxide as a stain treatment, simply apply it to the affected spots on the fabric and allow it to sit. However, because hydrogen peroxide can slightly bleach fabric, it's best to spot test first if you're removing sweat stains from colored clothing.

4. Lemon juice

When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade — remove the sweat stains from your shirts. Similar to white vinegar, the acidity from lemon juice can be a powerful tool in helping to fight stains. If removing stains from fabrics that are more delicate and could face damage from some of the harsher ingredients on this list, lemon juice will be your best friend. Squeeze some fruit for yourself or purchase some pre-squeezed juice at the store, then mix it with an equal amount of water. Apply it to your stain, massage it to work it into the fabric, and allow it to sit for about an hour before laundering.

5. Table salt

Many of the ingredients on this list aren't hard to find, but if you're looking for a stain fighter that nearly everyone has on hand, consider using table salt. Because of its gritty texture, salt can help to work stains out from fabrics without causing damage. While rubbing dry salt on your stains likely won't get you anywhere, this kitchen essential is incredibly useful when combined with other cleaning ingredients. If you want a formula that will attack the stain from all angles, mix a tablespoon of salt, a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, and a half cup of baking soda to create a stain remover paste.

6. Dish soap

Dish soap is something most of us use on a daily basis, but just because it's so common, that doesn't mean it can't pack a punch. These soaps are designed to cut through grease with ease and come in a highly-concentrated formula, so even a small amount can help to work out some of the most stubborn stains, especially when combined with other stain fighters. Coat your stain in baking soda, then mix one part dish soap with two parts hydrogen peroxide and apply with a brush. Allow the stain-fighting formula to sit for an hour and you should notice a significantly lighter stain after laundering.

7. Meat tenderizer powder

While this may not be the first item you think of when banishing sweat stains with kitchen ingredients, unseasoned meat tenderizer powder can actually be effective. This is because this item typically either contains bromelain or papain, two ingredients that break down proteins and so will work to remove the sweat and smells from your garment. To use this product in the laundry room, dampen the area with water, sprinkle on some of the powder, and let it sit for a few hours, then launder as normal. You may also need to apply baking soda before washing to fully remove the stain.

8. Borax

Borax might be a more old fashioned stain-removing ingredient, but sometimes, it's best to stick with the classics. To use borax to lighten sweat stains, fill a bathtub or a bin with water, then sprinkle in a half cup of borax, a half cup of laundry booster, and a cap full of laundry detergent. Add in your stained clothes, allow this mix to soak, then remove the items and give the stained spots a good scrub before laundering as normal. Once everything is dry, you should notice both that the stains have lifted and that you're left with whiter and brighter clothes overall.