How to Prevent (and Deal With) Collar Stains on Your Dress Shirt

How to Prevent (and Deal With) Collar Stains on Your Dress Shirt

It's frustrating when you spend a half-hour getting dressed in the morning, only to discover an unsightly stain on the collar of your dress shirt. Maybe the stain was already there, or perhaps you spilled a cup of coffee on it. Regardless, collar stains are bound to happen when wearing a dress shirt. And while no method is 100% effective at preventing them, there are ways to lower your risk of developing collar stains. By following these tips, you'll have an easier time keeping your dress shirt collars clean and stain free.

Wear an Undershirt

Wearing an undershirt can help protect against collar stains. When it's hot outside, you may assume that an undershirt isn't necessary. After all, conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that wearing extra layers will only leave you feeling hot. But you shouldn't discount the value of an undershirt. It will create a layer between your skin and your dress shirt. As a result, neither your dress shirt nor the collar will develop perspiration stains. If you're going to wear an undershirt with your dress shirt, though, you need to choose the right type of undershirt. Avoid bold-colored undershirts and, instead, stick with a white undershirt. White undershirts offer a clean, timeless appearance -- and they won't overshadow the aesthetics of your dress shirt. Also, pay attention to the neckline of your undershirt. V-neck undershirts are recommended because the top is naturally concealed by your dress shirt when worn. Choosing a white undershirt with a V-neck cut is just one way to prevent collar stains on your dress shirt.

Choose a Polyester Dress Shirt

In addition to wearing an undershirt, consider choosing a polyester dress shirt to wear. While linen and cotton dress shirts are undoubtedly comfortable, especially during the spring and summer months, they have a tendency to absorb stain-causing liquids more than synthetic fabrics like polyester. Polyester, as well as polyester blended fabrics, are naturally stain resistant. They don't absorb or hold stain-causing liquids. Rather, liquid will bead up on the surface, thereby protecting the shirt and its collar from strains.

Avoid Tight-Fitting Collars

How tight is your dress shirt's collar around your neck? If it's too tight, it may cause discomfort by constricting your neck. Furthermore, dress shirts with tight-fitting collars are more likely to stain because they rest closely against your skin. As it constricts your neck, the collar will absorb perspiration released by your skin. Over time, this can lead to dark perspiration stains that are difficult to remove. The good news is that you can prevent this from happening by avoiding dress shirts with tight-fitting collars. Your dress shirt shouldn't have a particularly loose collar, but it also shouldn't constrict your neck to the point where it causes discomfort.

Choose a Dress Shirt In a Dark Color

This won't necessarily prevent collar stains, but choosing a dress shirt in a dark color can minimize the appearance of such stains nonetheless. Wearing a black dress shirt, for example, will conceal most superficial stains. If you wear a white dress shirt, on the other, it will reveal even the smallest stains. You can still wear a white undershirt, but consider choosing a darker color for your actual dress shirt. Along with the other tips listed in this blog post, wearing a dark dress shirt will give you the upper hand against collar stains.

Wear a Jacket With Your Dress Shirt

You can protect against collar stains by wearing a jacket with your dress shirt. Of course, a jacket should already be a component of your outfit if you're wearing a suit. A two-piece suit consists of a suit jacket with trousers, so you can't leave a jacket out of your outfit. And by wearing a jacket, the exterior of your shirt's collar will remain protected from spilled liquids that could otherwise cause staining

Carry Stain-Removing Wipes

No matter how hard you try to prevent it, your collar will inevitably develop a stain (or several stains). When this occurs, you'll need to either clean your collar or change your dress shirt, the former is which is usually the easiest, especially if you have some stain-removing wipes on hand. Available for sale at most general stores, as well as some grocery stores, stain-removing wipes allow you to quickly and easily clean minor stains. When a stain develops on the collar of your dress shirt, simply blot the area with a stain-removing wipe to clean it. Although there are different types of stain-removing wipes, they generally all contain ingredients that pulls and extracts stain-causing compounds from fabrics.

Use a Collar Protector

You might be surprised to learn that there are accessories designed to protect shirt collars from stains. Known as collar protectors, they are inserted inside the perimeter of your dress shirt's collar to protect against perspiration stains. Using a collar protector won't protect the outside of your dress shirt's collar from staining. Rather, these accessories are only intended to protect the interior of collars from staining. Just slide a collar protector around the interior perimeter of your dress shirt's collar, at which point the collar will be protected against perspiration stains.

Don't Iron a Stained Collar

If you happen to discover a stain on the collar of your dress shirt, don't iron it. Using a steam iron is generally a safe and effective way to smooth out wrinkles on the collar -- but not if your collar has already developed a stained. When you iron a stained collar, you'll expose the stain to heat, which will cause it to set. As the stain sets, it will become more difficult to clean. In fact, stains may even become permanent if you iron them. Therefore, you should clean and remove the stain from your dress shirt's collar before ironing it. Only after removing the stain should you proceed to iron your dress shirt's collar.