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 page about cleaning ring around the collar


Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

I go through a lot of T shirts while gardening, it's a dirty hobby. The shirts collect a lot of dust which is easily washed away. It's the oily grime around the collar that poses a problem.

Remember the old TV commercial about ring around the collar? 'You tried rubbing them out. You tried scrubbing them out'? Then the ad goes on to pitch a product named something stupid like 'Shout', telling you to shout it out.

Well, I'm not buying anything special just for ring around the collar. I keep a spray bottle of ammonia and use it for so many things. Turns out it's perfect for removing collar grime.

Just spray some on before washing the garment. Works instantly and is very effective. And no 'Shout' bottles in the land fill.

Oh! And should you get just a faint whiff of the ammonia while spraying it (I did say 'faint'), don't come unglued, enjoy it. You may not know that ammonia is a CNS, (central nervous system) stimulant. Maybe it should be called the 'quicker picker upper' instead of Dr Pepper.

Yes, the tiny whiff can stimulate you, if only very slightly and for a very brief time. Probably no longer legal, there was a time when you could walk into most any drug store, go to the soda fountain and order a Coke with ammonia.

You read that right. Back then, you could buy medicinal grade ammonia in small, 2oz(?) bottles. The soda jerk kept this handy. A Coke with ammonia was just that, a fountain Coke to which had been added 1-2 drops ammonia.

When a person felt a bit tired, blasé, or whatever, they'd have a Coke with ammonia, and then continue with their shopping or whatever.

And then there was Dope a Coke, the real picker upper! Just anybody couldn't order one of these. And you had to know the soda jerk really well. You paid him under the table for this elixir.

You read right, again. In the 20s and 30s, you could go to the right drug store, speak to the right soda jerk and get a hit of cocaine in your Coke.

Ready for more? The original Coca Cola formula contained cocaine and was peddled around on a horse drawn cart making neighborhood rounds. Lot a happy (laid out) folks back then! The government put a stop to the addition of cocaine to the formula. It still contains a non addictive flavoring agent derived from the coca leaf.

It all started in my grand old state of North Carolina, very near my home town.

Was this supposed to be a cleaning tip or a history lesson? Time to get back to you laundry, Doug.

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 3
Read More Comments

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

Comment Was this helpful? 2
Read More Comments

February 7, 2005

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

Comment Was this helpful? Yes


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, 2006

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

Ron from Bronx, New York


By Guest (Guest Post)
December 21, 20060 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By MKCool20 (Guest Post)
January 15, 20070 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By .Curtis (Guest Post)
January 18, 20070 found this helpful

IS there ANY way to prevent ring around the collar??
I scrub my neck with a wash clothe and soae almost every day!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Cruiser (Guest Post)
February 19, 20070 found this helpful

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

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Jeannie (Guest Post)
July 21, 20070 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Missy (Guest Post)
January 3, 20080 found this helpful

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?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Kristen D. (Guest Post)
February 25, 20080 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Just used it tonight! (Guest Post)
May 31, 20080 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Nathan (Guest Post)
July 23, 20080 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Gary (Guest Post)
July 27, 20080 found this helpful

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

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Raul (Guest Post)
September 19, 20080 found this helpful

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

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Just a single dude (Guest Post)
December 21, 20080 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

April 27, 2006

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


April 27, 20060 found this helpful

Look in the phone book for a Shaklee sales person. The Shaklee Basic H works wonders on EVERYTHING!!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Aline (Guest Post)
April 27, 20060 found this helpful

I have been told to use shampoo on the collar. I use an old toothbrush to rub the shampoo in and then wash as usual.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Lynn (Guest Post)
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....

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

How do I remove ring around the collar?

By Cindy Edwards

Read More Answers

June 22, 2016

What will remove old dark collar stains?

Read More Answers


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 19, 2006

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 Lois Kersti Brouillette


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

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

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

Comment Was this helpful? 7
Read More Comments

Home and Garden Cleaning Clothing StainsMay 20, 2014
Summer Ideas!
Back to School Ideas!
Pest Control
Coronavirus Tips
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2020-07-18 09:59:51 in 4 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2020 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Add to PageAsk a Question