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Homekeeping · Laundry · This Is The Best Way To Remove One Of The Toughest Shirt Stains

This Is The Best Way To Remove One Of The Toughest Shirt Stains

Learn how to remove those stubborn "ring around the collar" stains here, and learn how to prevent them from coming back in the future!

If you or your spouse has to wear a collared shirt to work, then I’m sure you’re already intimately familiar with the type of laundry stain we’ll be talking about in today’s post! Because when you wear a collared shirt regularly, “ring around the collar” can be hard to avoid and even harder to remove!

But the good news is that with the right tools and techniques, removing those oily stains from collared shirts can be a relatively simple and painless process! And that’s exactly what I’ll be sharing with you today—the tools and techniques you need to know to remove your ring around the collar and prevent it from coming back! 🙂

So let’s start by exploring what “ring around the collar” actually is, and which stain removers are actually capable of fighting this stubborn stain.

Picking The Right Stain Remover

Stains on shirt collars are usually caused by one or more of the following culprits: body oil, hair products, and body lotions. Because of the unique nature of the stain, it’s know for certain which stain remover will work best on it.

Below I’ve listed my go-to stain removers for “ring around the collar.” Pick one and use it according to the method described in this post, and if it doesn’t remove 100% of the stain, try out a different one to find out what works best for your particular stain.

  • Jillee’s Ultimate Stain Remover – My favorite homemade stain remover spray can lift out even the most stubborn of oily stains!
  • Dishwasher Detergent Paste – To make this simple stain remover, scoop a bit of powdered dishwasher detergent into a 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.

How To Remove “Ring Around The Collar” Stains

You’ll need:

  • Stain remover of choice (see above)
  • An old toothbrush
  • Laundry detergent


Dampen the stained area of the shirt with warm water, then apply your chosen stain remover.

Use your toothbrush to give the area a good scrub, then let the shirt sit for 20 minutes, or up to an hour.

When you’re ready to proceed, put the shirt in your washing machine along with your normal dose of detergent. Select the warmest water setting the shirt will allow, start the wash cycle, then pause it after about 10 minutes.

Allow the shirt to soak in the sudsy water for 30-60 minutes, then resume and complete the wash cycle.

(Note: 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! 🙂

Bonus Stain Removal Tips

➤ Treat Stains ASAP

You’ll always have an easier time removing a fresh stain than an old one. Address collar stains as soon as you notice them to give yourself the best chance at removing it!

You can remove old stains too, but it will likely take a few attempts (as well as plenty of scrubbing!)

➤ Use Hot Water

When it comes to removing most types of stubborn stain, hot water is your friend! Soak and wash the item in hot water (or at least warm water) to help the stain remover work its magic.

➤ Dry When You’re Done

Whenever you’re removing a stain, you don’t want to dry the item until you’re certain the stain is gone. The heat from your dryer can set stains into fabric permanently, so don’t put your item in the dryer until you’re satisfied that the stain is completely gone!

Okay, so now that you know how to restore your collared shirts to their formerly unstained state, let’s work on keeping them that way! Here are 4 useful tips for keeping your collars stain-free in the future.

4 Ways To Keep Your Shirt Collar Clean

1. Scrub Your Neck

Make sure to pay particular attention to your neck when you’re scrubbing yourself clean in the shower! Dead skin and body oils are big contributors to collar stains, so scrubbing your neck can be an easy way to minimize their impact on your shirt.

And make sure to scrub your neck after you wash your hair, to ensure that any lingering product residue gets washed away.

2. Hair First, Shirt Second

Style your hair before you put on your collared shirt. This will help keep hair products off the shirt itself, and give you a chance to wipe your neck clean before putting it on.

3. Use Baby Powder

If you have oily skin or hair, consider using baby powder to absorb some of that excess oil! Dust a light layer of baby powder over the back and sides of your neck before putting your collared shirt on.

4. Use Sweat Pads

If sweat is an issue, consider investing in a set of disposable sweat pads to protect your shirt collars! Just stick one of the self-adhesive pads to the collar of your shirt, and it will absorb sweat and excess moisture all day to help prevent your shirt from getting as dirty.

(You can also apply these pads inside hats to protect them from sweat stains too!

What would you say is the most difficult type of laundry stain to remove?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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