Cleaning Ring Around The Collar

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

Ron from Bronx, New York

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To remove a stain it is important to understand what it is made up of. Collar stains are caused mostly by natural oils from the skin and hair. Shampoo works most of the time, because it removes grease from hair.

Why dont you try an ordinary shampoo, or a shampoo specific to greasy or oily hair. The Shampoo you are using may be a little too hightech and the ingredients in the shampoo may be different. :) hope this helps.

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is it true that it is impossible to remove the stain after drying as stated by one of the posters

Editor's Note: Some stains are "set" after drying so are much harder to remove. This isn't always the case but it's best not to dry (in an automatic dryer) before the stain is removed if possible. If it's already been dried, might as well keep trying to remove the stain. With ring around the collar, I don't think drying would make much difference.

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IS there ANY way to prevent ring around the collar??

I scrub my neck with a wash clothe and soae almost every day!

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try putting a cheap (like AquaNet) hairspray on the shirt right before you toss it into the washer.... works for me. I had been in the USN and my wife would put it on the neck of my dress white uniform shirts... These days I am doing the laundry and still use it. I cant tell you how it works...just that it does. Good luck

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I have tried, Wisk, Tide, OxyClean and about every "spray stain remover" on the store shelves with only minimal results. My mom suggested Fels-Naptha bar soap and a small scrub brush. So far, that has worked the best. But, I will still try a few others posted here.

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The dry cleaner told me that ring is from your hair products mixing with your natural oils (i.e. shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, hair spray, etc) I once heard to put baking soda in a pot of hot water on the stove and boil socks to get the stains and smell out.. wonder if it works on white dress shirts?

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My boyfriend is a Physician Assistant at an ER. He has has to wear the white lab coats over the scrubs. I recently moved in and he showed me the ring around the collar on these 2 coats. I made a paste of Baking soda and vinegar, brushed it on, let it sit for a couple minutes and then scrubbed with a little nail brush. I couldn't believe my eyes, it was already working! FYI: He's been at this job for approx. 8 months and hasn't really treated the ring around the collar until now. Baking Soda and Vinegar got it all off! Mom kept telling me Baking soda but this website confirmed it for me.

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My boyfriend gets ring around the collar on his work button down shirts. I used Murphy's oil soap and scrubbed the collar against itself to get it cleaned. I'm so happy it works. Less $ buying new shirts all the time.

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I suffer from hyperhydrosis (excess sweating). My ring around the collar is BAD. SHOUT GEL is a miracle worker. I had to use it a couple of times to get the stain completely. Now I treat all my collars before I wash them. Not only does it get the stain out, but it prevents them from forming in the first place.

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GO Murphy's oil soap. You saved my shirts! Thank you for the suggestion. It really worked.

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I wanted to know if I can use the Shout Concentrated gel to remove stains and not be worried that it will fade my clothes. Can anyone please comment on this? Thanks

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I always do my dress shirts in their own load. I use Woolite and one of those "knuckle scrubber" brushes to do the collars.

Pour a thin line of Woolite directly onto the collar and scrub with a wet brush. I usually do this while waiting for the washing machine to fill. Do this every time you do laundry, and after about three washings your shirt collars will look brand new.

--And, you don't need to add any detergent because there'll be enough Woolite in the machine to take care of the shirts.

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I found a product that prevents ring around the collar all together. They are simple peel and stick strips called sweat strips I used them in 90 degree + heat and no ring around the collar. I don't have to throw anymore shirts away. Thank goodness. Check it out.

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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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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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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 ( 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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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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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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I found a nice gentleman's button up shirt. I don't know the history of the stain other than extremely filthy. I read the comments here and don't have these things on hand so, I used: Peroxide and baking soda. The stain came out with minimal brushing.

In a large bowl, I placed the collar and arm pits of the shirt then poured peroxide along the stain. It seemed to just roll off on some parts so I submerged the shirt until fully wet. I poured some baking soda in my hand and just made a paste on the shirt already dampened with peroxide. I started to scrub but it seemed like the stain was lifting itself off.

There is a slight yellow stain remaining so I will do this again. If this doesn't work the second time, I am going to use denture cleaner.

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How do I remove ring around the collar?

By Cindy

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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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Read More Answers...

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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In This Article
Woman Looking at Shirt Collar
Cleaning Ring Around the Collar
Home and Garden Cleaning LaundryDecember 19, 2006
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