With the right tools and techniques, removing those oily “ring around the collar” stains from white shirts can be relatively simple and painless. In this post, you’ll learn how to remove collar stains with a few different stain removers, as well as how to prevent ring around the collar from coming back in the future.
Ring around the collar may be something of a universal laundry problem, but getting stains out of clothing is one of my specialities! In order to give you the best understanding of how to fight this stubborn variety of stain, we’ll start by exploring what causes ring around the collar and which stain fighters are best suited to remove it.
The Best Stain Removers For Ring Around The Collar
Ring around the collar stains are typically caused by sweat, body oil, hair products, body lotion, or some combination of these substances. Due to the unique nature of these stains, you may need to try a couple of different stain fighters in order to figure out which one works best.
In my experience, the most effective stain removers for ring around the collar include:
- My Ultimate Stain Remover Spray – My favorite homemade stain remover spray can lift out even the most stubborn of oily stains!
- Powdered dishwasher detergent paste – Put a spoonful or two of dishwasher detergent (homemade or store-bought) in a small bowl and add just enough water to form a paste.
- Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar – Wet a corner of a bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap and rub it onto the stain.
- Dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda – My go-to stain fighting trio for yellow armpit stains works well on oily collars too.
What about OxiClean and other oxygen bleaches? In order to remove oily stains like ring around the collar, you typically need a good grease-cutting soap or detergent, so OxiClean alone probably won’t cut it. However, oxygen bleach is a great way to brighten up your shirts after you’ve gotten those oily stains out, and it’s also something to try for removing grass stains from clothing!
How To Remove Ring Around The Collar Stains
- Stain remover of choice (see above)
- An old toothbrush
- Laundry detergent (homemade or store-bought)
- Washing soda (homemade or store-bought, optional)
- Dampen the stained area of the shirt with warm water and apply your chosen stain remover.
- Use an old toothbrush to scrub the stain remover into the fabric, then let it sit on the stain for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.
- Put the shirt in your washing machine, along with 1/2 cup of washing soda and your usual laundry detergent. Select the warmest water setting the shirt will allow (check the fabric care label), start the wash cycle, then pause it after about 10 minutes.
- Allow the shirt to soak in the sudsy water for 30 minutes to an hour, then resume and complete the wash cycle. (If your washing machine doesn’t have a pause option, you can easily soak the shirt in a bucket or your sink instead!)
Once the wash cycle is finished, your shirt collar will be stain-free! :-)
3 More Tips For Treating Collar Stains
- Treat Stains ASAP: Treating collar stains as soon as you notice will give you the best chance at removing them completely. (You can remove old stains too, but it will take more time and effort.)
- Use Hot Water: When it comes to oily stains like these, hot water is your friend! Soak and launder the item in warm or hot water to help stain fighters break down the stain.
- Don’t Dry Until It’s Gone: When treating stains, never dry the stained item until the stain is completely gone. The heat from your dryer could set the stain and make it impossible to remove.
Now that you know how to restore your collared shirts to their formerly unstained state, all that’s left to do is keep them that way! Here are 4 tips that can help you keep your collars clean in the future.
How To Prevent Collar Stains: 4 Useful Tips
1. Wash Your Neck Thoroughly
When you shower, make sure to pay special attention to your neck area. Dead skin and body oils are big contributors to collar stains, so using a homemade exfoliating scrub or other manual exfoliator when you shower can help keep your shirts clean. Also, be sure to scrub your neck after washing your hair to ensure that any shampoo or conditioner residue gets washed away.
2. Hair First, Shirt Second
Style your hair before you put on a collared shirt. This will help keep hair products off the shirt itself, as well as give you a chance to wipe your neck clean before putting it on.
3. Apply A Powder
If you have oily skin or hair, consider using baby powder or cornstarch to absorb some of the excess oil. Just dust the powder lightly over the back and sides of your neck before putting on your shirt.
4. Try Sweat Pads
If sweat is an issue, consider investing in a set of disposable sweat pads to protect your shirt collars! The self-adhesive pads are designed to go inside the collar of your shirt, where they can absorb sweat and moisture so your shirt collar doesn’t have to.
How do you deal with ring around the collar?