Dirty collars & how to clean them.
I get messages from my fans about varying laundry stains & I do cover some in my DIY blog series on the subject of the laundry room, but by far the biggest stain question I get asked about how to get rid of is Ring Around the Collar. Honestly until I started sharing my DIY ideas & then writing this blog I did not realize so many had such a problem with ring around the collar & getting rid of it. So today I will tell you how I get rid of it almost every time & in just minutes.
We get given a lot of hand me downs & I have pretty much years ago proclaimed myself the queen of laundry stain removal & found it a challenge to get a stain out of something that I was told I couldn’t remove 🙂 My husband & 2 boys have gotten numerous polo shirts & dress shirts with vary degrees of ring around the collar. Now before I go on I must point out my son wore a white dress shirt multiple times with ring around the collar, but in my defense I could not see the stain here when he got dressed until he got in fluorescent lighting where we were going. And every time I saw it I was mortified & would tell him to put it in the pile for me to get rid of the stain, he obviously never did until last week. So to my friends seeing this & you saw my son, yup that was some pretty bad ring around the collar 🙂
In my laundry room I keep several 8oz spray bottles for fast spot removal (& they can all be used as general cleaners around the house too).
- #1 with peroxide (& optional, 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil) no water added
- #2 with 1 part peroxide, 1 part lemon juice & 1 part water
- #3 with 3 tbsp natural liquid soap & the rest water
- #4 with white vinegar in it
Ok now lets get removing that dirty ring.
I do double check if a shirt is dry clean only or not, but I will still remove ring around the collar & other stains from dry clean only, I just do it slightly different, so I will share that below as well.
The Soaking method: If the stain is not that bad & the shirt just needs some brightening, I will get a 1 gallon bucket & ad 1/4 peroxide & 1/4 cup lemon juice, optional to add, a few drops of natural liquid soap (or Dawn dish soap) & fill the bucket halfway with very hot water. I add the shirt & make sure it gets good & wet, adding a bit more water if needed. I let the shirt sit in the water overnight or at least 3 hours. Then I dump shirt water & all into my wash load of similar color. Most times I do not have to even scrub & the stain is gone, again this is for stains that are not that bad. But The peroxide & lemon juice make a great brightening, non fading bleach alternative & laundry booster. Natural liquid soaps of course can remove oils from skin.
The spraying & scrubbing method: This can be done without soaking for stains that are worse, or you can soak first then do this, or do this then soak. I use Spray #1 & I soak the collar/stain with the spray then I sprinkle on enough baking soda to scrub with & spray a bit more of the spray, then I spray #3 & scrub the area working the baking soda in. I let it sit a few minutes to half an hour & wash.
Spray: Many find either just using peroxide spray or vinegar spray (#1 or #4) or using one then the other & scrubbing just a bit breaks down the oils & sweat enough to wash the shirt after letting sit about 15 minutes. Sometimes warming the vinegar first will also do the trick very easy no scrubbing.
Before washing: After scrubbing & letting sit several minutes or how ever long, I might spray again with #1 or #2 spray bottle soaking the collar/stain & add to wash. Sometimes I will wash off the collar in warm/ hot water to remove the soap & then spray with #1 or #2 before washing, but it is really not needed unless you just want to do this step.
Dry Clean only: This can be a bit trickier to get the stain out but not impossible. Of course do a spot check first to make sure the material wont be ruined, or as some do take the chance rather than tossing the item. The questions I get on ring around the collar the shirt has already been to the dry cleaners & can only be tossed because the stain is still there. So some are OK with trying this no matter what. Spray collar lightly with spray bottle #3, use your toothbrush gently & work in, sometimes you might need to spray several times & scrub & repeat. With dry clean only do not get the spot wetter than you need & do not let it sit wet because it can leave a water ring. So after scrubbing enough I get ready to use the iron on the steam or proper setting for the shirt, I use spray #4 to dampen a wash cloth & lay it on the spot where the collar & iron, this usually gets the last of the stain. After that I either dry on cool/low for a few minutes or use a hair dryer to dry.
In my laundry room I also keep a shaker of baking soda so it is easy to use the baking soda with a spray on a stain.
Find the method above that works best for you, you will discover that what works on one fabric will not on another. So try out different ways.
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