Summertime Stains

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 in Tips from Charles | 0 comments

Summertime Stains

Perspiration is just a part of life in Arkansas right now. Perspiration, antiperspirants, and deodorants can cause stains, rings or streaks to appear on your clothes. Sometimes these tan or yellow stains appear after cleaning, laundering, or just after a period of time in use or storage. There may also be sudden color loss areas on or near the neck, underarm, and wrists areas of golf shirts or silk blouses.


How Does This Happen?

Antiperspirants, deodorants, perfumes and even perspiration can contain mild oxidizing agents that can cause these stains to appear over time. These substances can turn fabric yellow or brown, or cause colors to fade. The heat used in cleaning, drying and pressing can accelerate this process; therefore these stains may become much more noticeable after cleaning.

Prolonged exposure to antiperspirants, lotions and perfumes may also result in chemical damage to fibers that weakens them and appears as holes or tears around necklines and underarms, especially with silks. Usually the fabric remains intact until the agitation of washing or dry cleaning.

What can be done?

If these stains are removed right away, permanent damage can be prevented. Knit golf shirts should be cleaned as soon as possible after a hot day in the Arkansas sun.


Some helpful tips:

  • Use a deodorant with a neutral pH instead of an acidic antiperspirant. Some antiperspirants are extremely hard on fabrics.
  • After a hot day of perspiring, make sure you clean your garments as soon as possible.
  • Avoid overuse of deodorants, lotions and perfumes.


If you notice any color changes, it may be too late. Bring the item to Oak Forest Cleaners as soon as possible and we will see if the damage is reversible.

More Information from the International Drycleaning & Laundry Institute:


Potential Problem: Build-up from deodorant and antiperspirant products can cause fiber damage and yellowing.  Blue and green on silk and wool are particularly prone.  Aluminum chloride can weaken fibers in cotton, linen, rayon, and some synthetic blends, leaving holes during cleaning.
Clothing Care:
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Avoid overuse and allow antiperspirant/deodorant to dry before dressing. Soiled garments should be washed or dry cleaned as soon as possible.

Sunblock and Suntan Lotions

Potential Problem: Dyes and oils in suntan/sunblock lotions can stain clothing. This color loss or change may not appear until after you clean your clothes.
Clothing Care:
Avoid many stains by following the directions on the bottle, allow the lotions to dry before dressing, and wash your hands before handling clothes.


Potential Problem: Chlorine in pools, spas, and hot tubs can damage spandex used in swimwear.
Clothing Care:Rinse your suit after wearing and follow the care label’s instructions.

Self-Tanning Lotions

Potential Problem: Self-tanners may discolor anything they touch!  Light tan, brown, or yellow staining on the cuffs, collar fold, and neckband, and upper button areas, are typical.
Clothing Care: Follow the instructions carefully, being sure to wash your hands immediately and allow your skin time to dry before dressing.  If the product gets on your clothes, wash them as soon as possible, as these stains can be difficult to remove.

Insect Repellents

Potential Problem: Repellents usually will not damage most fibers; however, some products contain alcohol and can cause color loss or color change on fabrics such as acetate and rayon.
Clothing Care: Read the label carefully, especially if applying directly to clothing.

Help! The Kids are Home from School and Art Projects are a Mess
Q: How can I remove paint stains from my child’s clothing?
A: Most paints children end up playing with are water soluble and will easily come out in regular washing. The acrylics and other types of paints are better left to professional cleaners who can get the garments clean and flush out all of the stain removal chemicals used to achieve that end. Any residual stain removal chemicals can harm your child’s skin, so it’s best to leave that kind of work to the pros – us.

Q: How can I get paint off of my child’s skin?
A: Again, water-soluble paints will come off very easily, but acrylic or oil-based paints are a little more difficult. These paints will not bond with the skin, and may simply flake or peel off after drying. A little rubbing alcohol and a dry cloth can get the paint to come off and clean your child’s pores.

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