Are you constantly dealing with soiled shirt collars and are wondering why on earth this keeps happening?
If you live in a hot climate or are in the heat of the summer season, then you’ll consistently be noticing a ring of disgusting buildup on your work shirts, which can be pretty irritating when you’re headed to an important meeting.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to keep dress shirt collars clean and what’s causing this cruddy build up in the first place.
What Causes Ring Around the Collar?
Before we get into keeping your dress shirt collars clean, it’s important to understand why these rings exist in the first place.
While several factors could be contributing to this unpleasant buildup, sweat is usually the culprit, whether or not you’re an excessive sweater.
Dead skin, product buildup, and natural oils can also contribute to a dirty collared shirt, as well as even city grime.
Hygiene and Dress Shirts
Unfortunately, practicing basic hygiene isn’t always enough to prevent that dreaded collar ring, especially if you sweat more than the average person.
In general, not a lot can be done about sweating other than using body wipes throughout the day and applying some baby powder after your morning shower.
However, if you find that sweat is a problem for you, you can consider adding a few extra hygiene habits to your routine to pay a little extra attention to your neck area before you begin your day.
First, give your neck a little extra exfoliation in the shower with a loofah, shower sponge, or washcloth to ensure there’s no excess buildup.
If you use products such as hair gel, body lotion, or even cologne around your neck as part of your daily routine, wipe your neck before putting on your dress shirt to avoid immediate collar buildup.
Multiple Wears & Irons
It’s not uncommon to wear your dress shirts multiple times if you’ve managed to keep them clean throughout the day.
However, you may not have realized that your shirt collar buildup has already started and is waiting to show as soon as you iron your shirt.
Whether you’ve just started to notice a stain around your collar or you’ve yet to notice it at all, the heat of your iron can either bring out or set-in stains from your previous wear.
If this is the case, the oils and dirt around your neck have the potential to become permanent stains, so washing dress shirts after each use is recommended.
How to Prevent Ring Around the Collar
While we’ve touched on how you can prevent ring around the collar by paying extra attention to your hygiene habits, there are a few other things you can do to prevent this ring of sweat, dirt, and grime from occurring.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to prevent ring around the collar.
Wear an Undershirt
If you don’t already wear an undershirt regularly, you’re going to want to consider it.
Undershirts are useful for various reasons, but none more so than protecting your outer shirt against sweat and stains (and keeping you cool while it does so!).
In addition, wearing an undershirt will act as a barrier between your skin and your dress shirt and help you avoid stains on both your shirt and your collar.
Although you can wear an undershirt underneath any type of shirt, you’re going to want to stick with a plain white one for dress shirts, preferably with a V-neck.
This allows your undershirt to be easily concealed by your dress shirt, making this secret weapon completely invisible on the outside.
Wear a Polyester Dress Shirt
Did you know that the material of your dress shirt may be significantly contributing to the ring around your collar?
Wearing a polyester shirt doesn’t necessarily mean that your body will produce less sweat or oil.
What it does mean is that linen and cotton dress shirts show stains easier than fabrics like polyester, as they tend to absorb stain-causing liquids more.
Polyester and polyester-blended fabrics are naturally stain-resistant, with liquid simply beading up on the surface before it has time to set in.
Avoid Tight-Fitting Collars
Is your dress shirt collar too tight? Not only can a too-tight collar cause discomfort and constrict your neck, but they’re also much more likely to stain because they rest so closely against your skin.
A tight-fitting collar will not only absorb stains quicker than one that is looser, but it may actually cause more perspiration.
These perspiration stains will get darker and harder to get out over time and eventually cause permanent yellow stains to set in.
Try a Collar Protector
Don’t want to change up your current dressing routine? Try a collar protector.
Disposable collar protectors are cheap to buy and are a simple solution for those who want to protect against stains. And while they won’t protect the outside of your collar, they will do wonders for keeping the interior clean.
How to Remove Sweat Stains from Shirt Collar
Okay, so now you know how to prevent sweat stains from building up on your collar. That doesn’t exactly do you a lot of good for sweat stains that already exist.
Luckily, there are several ways to remove sweat stains from your shirt collar, including the following.
Treat the Stain Directly
If you’ve started to notice a stain forming around your collar, it’s best to treat it directly instead of just throwing it in a regular wash cycle.
Spot treatments using detergent are one of the best ways to tackle stain before throwing it in the washer.
This can be done by laying the shirt out flat and applying detergent or spot removers directly to the discoloration.
Let your spot treatment sit for a minimum of five minutes before washing your shirt in a regular cycle.
Try Baking Soda
Baking soda can also be used as a spot treatment and is an incredibly effective one at that.
Baking soda works by triggering a chemical reaction that can lift stains off fabric before they permanently set in.
Use baking soda as your stain remover by making a paste with warm water and allowing it to dry. Then, follow up with your regular wash cycle and banish those collar stains for good.
Soak Old Stains in Vinegar
Are you dealing with a particularly old collar stain that just doesn’t want to budge? Try the acidic power of vinegar.
Soak an old stain in vinegar for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before rinsing it and washing as normal.
Of course, make sure that you’re only using white vinegar, as darker vinegar will only cause more stains.
Use Shampoo or Dish Soap
While shampoo will generally only work to remove stains caused by hair products, dish soap has long been known for its ability to break up greasy stains like no other.
Of course, these products should only be used as a spot treatment before placing in the washer on a regular cycle and not in place of your usual detergent.
When it comes to keeping your collar shirt clean, prevention is always the best method.
Having said this, a ring around your collar doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your shirt. There are several ways to effectively remove collar stains that can be achieved with products you already have around your house.
Consider our preventative steps above to keep your dress shirts clean so you can prevent that grimy buildup from occurring again!