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sweat on clothes

How to Prevent Sweat, Deodorant and Antiperspirant from Staining Your Clothes

There are two scenarios that stimulate our sweat glands causing us to perspire: physical heat and emotional stress.  Emotional sweating typically occurs in the palms of our hands, the soles of our feet, our armpits, and sometimes our foreheads.  Physical/heat-induced sweat happens all over the body.  And while it can be seen as socially unacceptable, perspiration is the body’s way of regulating its temperature; therefore, if you’re overheated and don’t sweat, then there’s something wrong.  Perspiration is simply something we all must deal with.

Sweat is mostly water with trace amounts of minerals (like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium), lactic acid, and urea.  These ingredients might seem benign, but unfortunately, if left unattended on clothing, they can cause the fabric to become discolored and eventually weaken, and sweat in conjunction with antiperspirant can create even more issues.  Here’s how:

Most antiperspirants contain aluminum salts, a product that is designed to block sweat glands from producing sweat.  You put your antiperspirant on in the morning and immediately get dressed, causing the antiperspirant to rub on (and into) your clothing.  The day continues and your antiperspirant begins to fade resulting in perspiration, and in time, the aluminum salts combine with the minerals in sweat and both penetrate the fabric of your garments and discoloration begins to show.

Here’s how we suggest combating the impact of both perspiration and antiperspirant on your clothes:

  • Check out the ingredients in your antiperspirant, and if it contains aluminum chlorohydrate, which tends to clump in cotton and damage fibers, consider switching to another product – like an aluminum-free or neutral pH type of deodorant.
  • Always allow your deodorant to dry before dressing, which should help with getting it on your clothes.
  • Just as with stains and spills, wash or dry clean your clothes right after wearing to remove as much of both the perspiration and antiperspirant as possible.
  • If stains remain, don’t place the item in the dryer or iron it.  The heat from both the dryer and the iron will cause the stains to permanently set into the fabric. 
  • If washing doesn’t remove the stains, then try soaking in cold water and a small amount of dish soap that contains de-greasers.  After soaking, rinse, and wash according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If that doesn’t work, you could try soaking in a mild color-safe bleach, using the same instructions as above.  Never use chlorine bleach to removed sweat stains, even if it is a white garment.  The proteins from the sweat will react with the bleach and make the stain more prevalent. 
  • Remember - there are times when the damage is too much, and the garment is past being restored. 

If you’re struggling with removing perspiration or antiperspirant stains, please feel free to stop by one of our locations

sweat on clothes
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