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Cleaning Ring Around the Collar

Once the main subject of Wisk's TV commercials, ring around the collar continues to be a tough stain to remove. This is a guide about cleaning ring around the collar


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1 found this helpful
June 2, 2011

Sometimes laundry pre-treaters just do not remove all the stains on my husband's shirt collars. To remove ring-around-the-collar stains on dress shirts or polo/golf shirts, scrub a dab of shampoo into each stain with an old toothbrush before you run your laundry. Shampoo is made to break up oil, dirt and sweat produced by our body, so shampoo works so well. You may never see another collar stain again!


Source: My Mom showed me this tip years ago.

By Bobbie from Rockwall, TX

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful

Doesn't the toothbrush break down the fabric and make little balls form on the shirt collar?

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February 7, 20050 found this helpful

Clean ring-around-the-collar. Mark the stain heavily with white Crayola chalk. The chalk will absorb the sebum oil that holds in the dirt.

By chrystalkay

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May 20, 20050 found this helpful

just take a little shampoo on the collar and cuffs rub gently and wash as usually

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 19, 20060 found this helpful

How do I remove yellowing and ring around the collar from white cotton dress shirts?

Ron from Bronx, New York

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January 18, 20090 found this helpful

This will work all the time: Wet collar. Apply a mild soap

Use a degreaser dish washing soap. Tap lightly and rinse

For whites use oxi clean or similar, rinse twice to remove all chemicals

wash shirt with a fabric softener. If all else fails I will take it to the cleaners

no worries no pressing and i have time for my kids.

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February 13, 20090 found this helpful

I just finished my laundry -- and no more ring around the collar on most of the shirts!! Thanks to everyone here whose advice informed my strategy.

Here's what I did:

It's true that AGITATION of the dirt seems to be the main thing. I used an ordinary toothbrush i had lying around (one I saved and cleaned thoroughly before using) to apply a good natural cleaner to the stain. I used FAST ORANGE hand cleaner by Permatex, which I bought at an auto repair store. It's marketed as a natural hand cleaner for tough grease stains. This stuff takes engine oil and other car grease right off of your hands in seconds. It says on the bottle it can be used on laundry stains, too. If I didnt have this I would have tried Murphy's Oil Soap, which I've had good experience with in other uses.

So I diluted about a tablespoon of FAST ORANGE -- it's powerful stuff -- in a little bit of water and applied it to the collars with the brush. Just about 10 seconds of scrubbing all along the edge.

Then I dropped the five shirts (all patterned whites or light blues) into the washer on a cold, gentle setting (Permanent Press on my machine). I added about three tablespoons of Arm and Hammer Essentials laundry detergent (a concentrated detergent).

Once they came out, I hung the five wet shirts in the hot Florida sun UPSIDE DOWN, so that the collars got full sun exposure. About two hours later, the shirts were all dry, brilliant in color, and only one of them had a small trace of the ring stain! (previous to doing this on my own, I had been laundering them at dry cleaners for a long time).

I am thrilled I was able to achieve this without exposing my nice dress shirts to the cost and toxicity of a dry cleaners!!

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December 1, 20090 found this helpful

For anyone looking for the ultimate solution to this problem, here it is. I'll explain my story.

A friend of mine borrowed a $300 dress shirt (yes, i know that's an expensive shirt, it's for rare occasions) without my knowledge and wore it for several weeks with a tie. Needless to say, the guy has very poor hygeine and the shirt ended up with the worst most nasty collar grease and yellow stains you could possibly imagine. Imagine the stain you're dealing with times 1,000. Anyhow, this happened 3 years ago and I've held onto the shirt because it's expensive and I was upset about it and didn't want to throw it away.

I tried several times to take it to the cleaners to get the collar stains removed to no avail. So, as you can imagine, he wore the shirt many times without washing it, plus it's been to the cleaners several times, plus I've tried to get the stains out myself before, so we're talking about the worst collar stains plus the fact that they are completely set in at this point.

The other night, I was going out with some friends and I saw the shirt there and once again realized how mad I was that it had these nasty collar stains, so I started doing some research which is when I stumbled across this forum. I tried everything listed here, literally, everything.

I finally removed the collar stain and it was with a solution that is not listed here yet. Here is my recommended course of action:

1.) Use GoJo or Fast Orange (or even a grease removing dish liquid) several time, each time rinsing the collar thoroughly to break apart the agitated grease. This will remove most of the grease and will leave you with the yellow collar stain.

2.) This is the trick that does the heavy lifting! Buy yourself a bottle of this stuff called K2r Spotlifter (http://www.k2rb  cts/original.htm). It's pretty inexpensive too, like $5 a bottle, great investment. It has chemicals in it, but did not fade or damage my shirt at all. After I completed step 1, I sprayed a good amount of K2r along the stain on the collar and it sit there for 10-15 minutes. It starts as a clear liquid on the shirt, then it turns to a dried foamy substance. Use the built-in scrubbing head on the bottle to remove the left over dried foam. You won't believe your eyes. The stain was almost removed. As it states on the bottle, tough stains may require a second treatment. I rinsed off the original treatment with water, then let the shirt dry, then repeated the treatment two more times on the collar stain. The stain is gone cpmpletely. Took a few treatments, but was well worth it to save this $300 dress shirt.

I hope that helps some one in the future. Good luck! Make sure to remove the grease before using the K2r.

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March 10, 20100 found this helpful

My mother showed us, as girls, how to remove tough stains that are caused by anything fat-soluble or otherwise greasy or grease-based:

Seems counter intuitive, but rub shortening into the stain, really saturate it with shortening, and leave it for a couple of days, to let the fat molecules grab onto the existing stain's fat molecules. Then get out the concentrated detergent or degreaser to remove both the shortening and the dissolved fatty stain. If you want, a bipolar compound that is both fat and water soluble, such as glycerin, can be applied to the shortening before using the detergent, to help make the whole thing more soluble.

It works when degreasers and super detergents alone don't, to remove oily stains.

Since sweat stains are oil-based (sebum is skin grease) this should work.

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May 19, 20110 found this helpful

I like "My Clean Shirt" it gets ring around the collar out, along with all of the other common stains. I am not sure if you can buy it in stores. I know you can buy it directly on the website. I have used it for a few months and I am very happy with it. When I got it I used it to remove some serious stains that were already "set"; it took two treatments, but the stains came out.

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0 found this helpful
June 22, 2016

What will remove old dark collar stains?

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April 27, 20060 found this helpful

My Husband wears dress shirts quite regularly throughout the week, and I always take them to the dry cleaners. but the dry cleaner hasn't been able to get out the ring around the collar. Should I expect him to? Is he not doing what is expected of him? Or do I need to use something else to treat the ring around the collar? Most of them are french cuff shirts so I can't wash them myself. So what can I pretreat them with that i won't have to physically wash the whole shirt to get out?

Katie from Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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April 27, 20060 found this helpful

you can always use avon's bubble bath or avon's skin so soft.....both claim to remove ring around the collar....check out this website....


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April 28, 20060 found this helpful

There is no reason why you can't launder shirts with French cuffs - I did it for years. Of course, they will probably need ironing. Just treat the ring around the collar with spray'n'wash or some other stain remover and I'm sure it will come out.

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April 29, 20060 found this helpful

My drycleaner insists I pretreat all shirt collars with spray & wash. They won't do it without asking and certainly not all collars without charging you extra.The "goop" for laundry also works well, apply some then scrub it into the soiled area. Wonderful stuff for greasy hands and laundry.


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January 18, 20090 found this helpful

My cleaners use to remove collar,ink and lipstick stains for free but they charge for the service now they tell me that they charge for the extra time spent removing the spots.

They tell me the process is expensive since they have to pay a person to remove the stain and than they have to dry clean the shirt to remove the chemicals used to remove the stains.

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March 5, 20110 found this helpful

For years my husband and son wore dress shirts, sometimes I had 3 a day, 21 per week. I washed them all at home, gave them to each guy in a plastic bag and he would get them laundered or pressed at the dry cleaners at his office building. Cost the same but we knew they were really clean and with no ordors or nasty chemicals to irritate skin

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September 16, 2011

How do I remove ring around the collar?

By Cindy

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September 19, 20110 found this helpful

Best thing I've found is Dawn dish detergent. Wet the collar then put a little of the Dawn on the ring, give it a good scrub before you put it in the washer. I'd think any type dish detergent would probably work too but I always use Dawn; seems to go farther.

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September 19, 20110 found this helpful

I keep a bottle of cheap shampoo for just this job and it works every time, so I guess it is that or the dawn. Good luck, popet

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December 19, 20060 found this helpful

I have ring around the collar of light blue shirt. I am trying shampoo. I was once told to use comet on spots but I am scared of bleaching out the uniform shirt. What do you think?

Acesnanna from Pacific NW



I used to work outside, and sometimes my shirts would get oil on them. I always used Goop, and they looked new. Now, my husband wears white dress shirts and I use Goop on the collars most of the time. Another good stain remover is Zout, which I use if I run out of Goop. For my kids baseball uniforms, when they get real bad, I will soak them overnight in Oxy-Clean, then spray on Zout. They are the cleanest kids in the game at the beginning!
Good luck! (03/24/2006)

By Amy


Awesome works great! It comes in a spray bottle at the dollar store - think it was once sold on an tv informercial. I used it on a colored knit shirt and it removed the stain but not the color. It is to be diluted 10/1 so a bottle lasts awhile - and hey!! The price is right!! It is good for cleaning ANYTHING - works especially good on grease - and is easy on the hands. (03/24/2006)


Don't Use Comet

Don't use Comet. I use AJAX to clean my sink and I have an orange blouse that has some splashed on, and there are white spots now, which have ruined the look. I will use my white(don't ask why I ever bought some white!!) kitchen washcloths to clean the sink with the AJAX to help bleach out the dirty color. Don't ruin the collar of the shirt with Comet, trust me, you'll always be dissappointed. (03/25/2006)

By Kim

Hand Soap



Shaving Foam

I used plain old fashioned shaving foam, I used it on my husband's best going to Church shirt, it is white.I rubbed it in and then added some directly to the area before I put it in the washing machine.You could test it on a part of the shirt that gets tucked in, or on some other cloth, it is inexpensive.I am almost sure I saw this advertised on one of the public tv channels, I think it was called Haley's Hints. (03/25/2006)

By Kersti


Wisk is fantastic on cleaning ring around the collar when its fresh. Apply the detergent directly on the "ring." I wouldnt use Comet on clothing... You might try Zout, a spot treating product.. However, if you've already put the item in the dryer, it may be too late. You've already baked the stain into the fabric. (03/25/2006)

By Carol in PA


Stanely Home products (Degreaser) works well on almost anything. It is expensive but concentrated and goes a long way. (03/26/2006)

By shopping_addiction_woman


My husband has to wear a shirt and tie to work 6 days a week and his shirts are oxford button-down and he sweats profusely. I was having a real problem with the stains on his shirts until I finally tried Clorox OxyMagic. He wears different colors, all of which are a light shade. I soak them all in the OxyMagic overnight and finish with washing the next day. Be sure to put the OxyMagic in with your soap and fill washer and then agitate until dissolved and then add your clothing. It will take out persperation stains and the salts from it. Good luck!!!! (04/10/2006)

By Dinah K


Try using LAVA soap. It comes in bars sold on the same isle as laundry dertergent. Wet the collar and the bar of LAVA soap. Then rub the soap on the ring and then use an old tothbrush to work it in, scrubbing constantly. Rinse and repeat as needed (09/04/2006)

By julian taylor


I use GoJo hand cleaner. It works so well and won't fade the fabric! (09/12/2006)

By Michael

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7 found this helpful
May 8, 2009

Got ring around the collar? I've found that since the stain is basically caused by the same body oils that make our hair greasy, why not use shampoo to clean that greasy stain on our collars? I keep a cheap brand of shampoo over my washer, and pre-treat the collar ring with it. Does a great job! Small sample bottles or ones that have accumulated from many hotel visits are also a good source for the shampoo.

By Sandy from Elon, NC

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May 29, 20100 found this helpful

Since shampoo is designed to clean body oil I use it for lots of things. I first add my shampoo to a big pump bottle and add the same amount of shampoo and water. I use this as a body wash, to wash my hard and my bathtub and basin cleanup. I've even used it to mop the bathroom floor. Great for ring around the collar as you said. Between Dawn blue and shampoo you can treat almost all laundry problems unless then need to be bleached.

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