Cleaning Ring Around the Collar

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
May 22, 2018

Cleaning 'Ring Around The Collar' - dirty t-shirtI 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.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 166 Posts
June 2, 2011

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.

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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

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9 Questions

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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....

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 174 Feedbacks
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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September 16, 2011

How do I remove ring around the collar?

By Cindy Edwards

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June 22, 2016

What will remove old dark collar stains?

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 114 Posts
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?

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