The Best Way To Remove Ring Around The Collar Stains

Ring around the collar stains are tough, but not impossible. Try Fels Naptha or a host of other solutions to remove ring around the collar.

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.

Use a wet bar of Fels Naptha soap and rub it on the dirty collar.

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!

Sprinkle the ring around the collar with detergent or washing soda.

How To Remove Ring Around The Collar Stains

You’ll need:

  • Stain remover of choice (see above)
  • An old toothbrush
  • Laundry detergent (homemade or store-bought)
  • Washing soda (homemade or store-bought, optional)
Get Out Ring Around The Collar - use a toothbrush to scrub the inside of a collar


  • 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!)
Get Out Ring Around The Collar - before and after photos of ring around the collar

Once the wash cycle is finished, your shirt collar will be stain-free! :-) 

Get Out Ring Around The Collar - use a toothbrush to scrub the oily stain.

3 More Tips For Treating Collar Stains

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

To prevent ring around the collar, you can use disposable sweat pads.

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?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • I actually tried this method awhile back. My Dad had some white dress shirts with that neck stain. So l consulted Jillee’s blog. I used the dish soap, peroxide and baking soda. I wish I had taken a before and after picture. It was just amazing what a difference it made. My Dad was amazed too.

  • For yellow stains on white shirts, I tried the old “hang it in the sun” trick recently, and it worked amazingly! It came in smelling fresher too. I can’t tell you how long it takes tho – I left it out for several days, because I knew it was going to be nice out and I didn’t have to think about it.

  • Thanks for sharing a huge amount of homemaking hacks!! I discovered another way to get collar stains out. It even works on older stains and stains set by drying. It’s Murphy’s Oil Soap. This product is great. I use it straight or diluted. Apply to collar or any greasy stain. Rub Murphy’s in or gently scrub with toothbrush. Pop it in the washer on warm setting ( though I’ve used it in cold water). Check results before drying! Murphy’s is gentle and works great. I started using it on set in collar stains and it worked so well. I found a huge bottle at the store and grabbed it! ; )

  • I washed a white shirt with dark colors, bad choice (I air dryer)!! Now it is dull, dingy and stained. Tried Oxyclean, didn’t work. Tag states use non-chlorine only. Help!! Thank you and God Bless!!

    • Another great product that I swear by is “Shout” it can stay on a stain for up to seven days, although I run the washer more often. It removes any stain but blood, for which I use a mixture of Blue Dawn and hydrogen peroxide. Voila, no blood stain.

  • Instead of laundry detergent I use shampoo. It’s made to remove hair grease, body oils, product residue, etc.
    I keep a it by my laundry sink. Just don’t use your nice expensive shampoo, buy a bottle of the cheap stuff. I transfer it to an empty dish soap bottle so I can control the amount that comes out (I know from experience lol).

  • Gel pen is the worst stain I’ve encountered. Still don’t know how to get them out. An atomizer spray product called Totally Awesome takes care of most of my stains. It’s available at the Dollar Store.

    • Try using either seltzer water and if that does not work try good old hair spray, the hair spray save a couple of my husband’s shirts, until I bought some plastic pockets that slip into the pocket of his shirts, and he has been putting his pens into those. They do become stained, but the pocket will not.

    • Marlene, my original post is old, but as time goes by, I am always learning new ideas that I can add to some of my older successful ideas that work. So from time to time, you will see some of my older posts with added tips and ideas. :-)

  • I’ve always used shampoo on Hubby’s shirt collars. I also spray my pillow cases with a mixture of shampoo and water. Shampoo is formulated for hair oil, so it’s a natural for this sort of problem.

  • I usually just use Dove or a small bar of Ivory soap. My ring around the collar or neckline on my shirts is usually caused by makeup. I have tried the Fels Naptha but then I have to deal with the yellow stain the bar leaves behind. My tough stains are oil spots.

    • I do use baby powder when I do my makeup to set it. Probably wouldn’t use it on my neck. My works polos are dark and it would leave a white residue behind.

  • I use just about any bar soap for a stain stick in a pinch. If one works better and you’re out I would just repeat the treatment and wash again.

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