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Sweat 101

What Are Sweat Stains?

Sweat stains are the rings and spots that show up on shirts after a sweat session.

Sweat stains can happen to anyone. But people who work stressful jobs, sweat heavily or suffer from hyperhidrosis have it the worst. You might live in fear of pitting out in front of others and alter your career and social choices to avoid sweat stains — and the embarrassment.

The good news: Sweat stains are preventable. And you can salvage sweat-stained shirts and return them to their former glory.

In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about sweat stains so you never have to deal with them again.

Types of Sweat Stains

Sweat stains come in a few different forms. Understanding what causes each and when they show up will to help you revive your wardrobe and prevent sweat marks in the future.

Wet Rings

Wet rings happen when armpit sweat bleeds through to your outer shirt. Workouts, stressful meetings or anything that gets your blood pumping can produce giant sweat rings in a matter of minutes. Wet rings are especially visible when wearing light-colored shirts (like baby blue). For many people, deodorant and antiperspirants just don't work to conceal wet rings.

Yellow Stains

Tossing a sweaty white shirt into the hamper until laundry day is a surefire way to get yellow stains. Yellowing can form when the proteins in sweat mix with the aluminum in antiperspirant. However, deodorants (even natural ones) can also produce yellowing with over-application.

White Deodorant Stains

White deodorant stains wreck your outfit before you even head out the door. If you’re gearing up for a stressful day at work, you might apply a few extra swipes of deodorant. When it rubs against your shirt, the residue clings to the fabric. Wiping these streaks away with water usually doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, deodorant stains persist even after washing and drying the stained shirt.