What causes yellow stains on clothing and how to remove.

We hear that white shirts are 'in' again. There's nothing quite like a crisp bright white: it's a classic look that never really leaves our wardrobes – from casual tees to button-down sleeves or even a sharp tuxedo.

Yet these classic whites can come crashing down with a single yellow sweat-stain. Whether it's a ring around the collar or under the arm, a yellow stain is near-impossible to remove and mortifying. So what's the cause of this yellow curse, and – more importantly – what is the solution?

Yellow Stains – The Cause

Time for a myth-bust: sweat itself is not the cause of that yellow stain. Sweat is a colourless liquid that removes toxins from your body through the skin's pores and helps cool you off when it evaporates from your skin. It is an entirely natural and essential process. We all sweat, and even more so during exercise, extreme temperature changes, eating certain foods, and emotional/sexual arousal.

All great for regulating your body's microclimate, but not so great for those white shirts. Sweat contains a nitrogenous compound called urea that has a chemical reaction to the aluminium in your anti-perspirant / deodorant. It is this chemical reaction between the urea and the aluminium, along with the breakdown of fats and proteins in sweat by bacteria and fungi normally present on your skin, that contributes to the formation of yellow sweat-stains.

Yellow Stains – Getting Them Out

So your favourite tee or expensive new shirt has a yellow sweat-stain, and the thought of throwing out another shirt makes you (and your wallet) shudder. But neither can you bring yourself to wear it: remember that Wisk detergent ad in 1960's? The Ring Around The Collar… such shame! And clearly, detergents have not found the solution. Here we are in a whole new millennium, and every detergent promises crystal, sparkling whites. The only difference in the detergents is the proliferation of ladies dressed in pink – the home results are the same: disappointment.

A quick google comes up with a hundred and one "tips to remove yellow stains". Lemons, vinegar, baking soda, washing up liquid – even a meat tenderiser! 3% hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, salt… It's scary stuff, and not for the faint-hearted. But before you take a bottle of bleach to your best dress shirt, or accidentally wind up in your own Breaking Bad lab, let's look at one simple, easy, and permanent solution to those yellow sweat-stains.

What's the Answer?

So we've established that aluminium-based deodorants and anti-perspirants cause sweat stains: the more deodorant / anti-perspirant you slap on, the bigger the stain potential. On top of this, once the stain forms, it feels nigh-on impossible to get out without damaging your clothes. It might seem like a lose-lose situation, but stay cool: we have the permanent fix.

New organic and aluminium-free deodorants / anti-perspirants are becoming more readily available. These don't stop you sweating by blocking your pores (as conventional aluminium-based products do), but let you sweat to remove toxins from your body. Organic and non-aluminium deodorants help kill smelly bacteria that naturally occur on your skin. They do not contain the aluminium elements that cause a chemical reaction and create yellow stains.

All very well and good: you will no longer have yellow stains on your shirt. Your body will be beautifully toxin-free, and you stay cool and refreshed despite exercise, nervousness, the oven-like central heating, and that blow-the-top-off-your-head-curry you like on a Friday night.

But what about those unsightly sweat patches? The Drenched Pit that makes you afraid to point to the top of the graph in a board meeting, or grab the wine glasses from the top shelf. We would rather be a penguin, with arms clamped to our sides, and face-plant on the tube than raise our arms to grab the overhead handles. Remember that guy on TV with the fish under each arm?

Fixing the Cause, Not the Symptom

Here's the simple solution: wear an undershirt. Whether you go aluminium or organic, wearing an extra layer between your skin and your outer layer helps prevent the sweat from ever reaching your favourite shirt or tee. This avoids the entire headache of whether to douse your wardrobe in 3% hydrogen peroxide, or ammonia.

At Robert Own Undershirts, we use either MicroModal® fibres or 95% Bamboo Viscose (a fibre derived from bamboo, mixed with 5% Spandex). These cellulose-based fabrics are silky-smooth, stretchy and durable blends that breathe and keep your body at a more even temperature. MicroModal® and Viscose are also sweat-absorbing materials, meaning the fabric absorbs sweat. This is very different from a moisture-wicking material (such as Polyester) where sweat is removed from the body and onto an outer layer – creating a sweat patch and that inevitable stain.

The Solution: Robert Owen Undershirts

A Robert Owen Undershirt will absorb your sweat, and help prevent it from drenching your favourite shirt or tee. We offer slim and regular fits, with V or crew neck, and long or short sleeves. The different collars ensure it stays invisible under your shirts – whether you go open-collared or buttoned-up. Each undershirt has a long length so that it stays tucked in throughout the day. There is also an enhanced 'sweat protect' feature; a double underarm layer which can hold sweat pads if needed.

We think our undershirts are the most comfortable you can buy. The secret is the fabric, which is lightweight and smoother than cotton, and the cut, which is sleek and easy to wear – even under a formal shirt. It helps keep you snug in winter, sweat-free in summer and moves when you move.

We only sell online at https://www.undershirts.co.uk/. You can't buy our undershirts anywhere else. 

So, don't sweat it. Go for that baby-blue button-down or the crisp, bright white collar: your undershirt has got you covered – permanently.