Written by Grove Collaborative

Can you get sweat stains out of hats, shirts, & mattresses?

Last Updated: January 4, 2022


To attack sweat stains and get them out completely, follow these steps using natural products.

Many of us have lost a shirt or two to unsightly sweat marks. Sweating in itself is a natural process, but none of us want to deal with the stains left behind (or the odor). Though it may be tempting, using bleach is not the answer, and products with chemicals may be making things worse.


Sweat stains are common in the underarms and other areas you sweat most. The stain happens when proteins in your sweat mix with chemicals in your antiperspirant. A shirt that hasn’t been washed properly can fester bacteria, and once you wear it again, the odor can come right back. While the bacteria in sweat stains isn’t harmful, it is the reason for the odor and will thrive in warm or moist environments.


To attack sweat stains and get them out completely, follow these steps using natural products.

What is the best thing to get rid of sweat stains?

Kickstart your clean by prepping your sweat stains before it hits the laundry pile! You can keep laundry soap, a spray bottle of diluted white distilled vinegar, or a natural stain remover by your laundry and saturate the spots before washing.


The best thing to use to clean sweat stains in the washing machine (especially if you aren’t into making DIY solutions) is natural Activewear and Athleisure Sport Detergent.


To get cleaning, grab your:


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Grove Tip

Are sweat stains permanent?


Just because you have some stubborn sweat stains doesn't mean they’re permanent. With that said, not all stains are created equal, and some can be more difficult to get out than others.


If you see sweat stains, avoid using the dryer as it can make sweat stains more difficult to clean. Air dry instead!

How to get sweat stains to go away: Step-by-step guide

Before starting on your stain, consider what kind of fabric and what color your material is. Take a look at the label and take the advice: If it says dry clean only, listen!


If your item doesn’t need to be dry cleaned, follow these steps for a natural and effective clean.


How to get rid of sweat stains in hats


Sports players and outdoor workers might have a pile of sweat-stained caps. To address these stains, wash by hand.


Step 1: Mix together a gallon of warm water and a couple of tablespoons of Activewear and Athleisure Sport Detergent.


Step 2:Throw in your hat and let it soak for 30 minutes.


Step 3:Then go in with a sponge or old toothbrush to target the stain by rubbing in the solution.


Step 4:Once the stain is gone, rinse and let the hat air dry.


How to get rid of sweat stains in white shirts and clothes


For white clothes, you can start with a DIY solution combining one part baking soda, one part hydrogen peroxide, and one part water. Then follow the steps below to get that stain out for good.


Step 1: Use a sponge or old toothbrush to scrub the stain.


Step 2: Allow your shirt to sit before throwing it in the wash with Activewear and Athleisure Sport Detergent.


For more tips on how to keep your white clothes … white, check out our guide:


How to get rid of sweat stains on your mattress


If you tend to sweat in your sleep, you might see stains on your mattress. Just like other items, you can easily clean these stains with natural products in your home. All you’ll need for this is a bowl, DIY solution, cloths, and a vacuum.


For this solution, mix a cup of baking soda with salt and water. This will create a paste. Apply it to the stain on your mattress, leave to dry, wipe with your cloth, and vacuum up the rest!


How to get rid of sweat stains on dress shirts


There’s nothing worse than a sweat stain on your fancy dress shirt!


To get these stains out fast:


Step 1: Mix white vinegar and water to make a stainbusting solution.


Step 2: Rub the solution onto your stains with a sponge or old toothbrush.


Step 3: Let it sit for 30 minutes.


Step 4: Finish up with a wash through the washing machine with your favorite laundry detergent.

Shop for natural laundry detergents from Grove.

Tips to prevent sweat stains from happening in the first place

Here are a few tips you can do to prevent sweat stains from happening at all:


  • Use a natural deodorant, it has less chemicals that sweat can mix with
  • Use less deodorant
  • If you did get a sweat stain, remember to pretreat stains before washing with vinegar or a dab of detergent

Shop Grove for natural deodorants.

Read more from Grove.

Armpit detox 101: We tried armpit masks.

Armpit detoxes help remove built-up toxins left by your conventional deodorant. Come along as Grove writer Mackenzie Sanford tries a pit detox — and learns how to switch to natural deodorant.


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