How to Remove Ring Around the Collar

When that icky yellow, tan, rust, or grayish stain appears on your shirts in the collar fold and neckband area, you’ve got “ring around the collar”.

While wearing the shirt, the collar is exposed to perspiration, body oils, colognes, after shaves, hair styling products, medicines or other skin treatments or lotions, skin tanners, and make-up.  Over time, these stains (many of them invisible to the naked eye) oxidize over time and eventually become darker resulting in staining the fabric.

Try these steps to remove ring around the collar at home.

  • Use a solvent-based stain removal product to tackle the oil-based stains.   If you don’t have a solvent-based pretreater, apply heavy-duty liquid detergent to the stain and work it in by gently rubbing.
  • Dish Soap can also be used to scrub the neckline to help break down the grease.  You may soak the shirt in the sink after gently rubbing the soap into the collar with an old toothbrush if it’s extra dirty.  Adding a little lemon juice to the water may also help tackle the stain if you are cleaning a white shirt.
  • After pretreatment, wash the garment as usual in the hottest water appropriate for the fabric using the recommended amount of detergent for a regular load. Inspect the garment before drying.   Any discoloration still on the shirt can become darker when the heat of drying or pressing accelerates the oxidation process of the remaining residue in the fabric.  Repeat treatment & wash again if necessary before drying.
  • If the garment is dry clean only, point out and identify the stain to us.  Our stain specialists will take a look and do their best to remove the stain without compromising the fabric or the color.

To help prevent ring around the collar, try and wash the shirt after each wearing before a stain build up or oxidation occurs.  Fresh “dirt” on the collar can usually be rinsed out in the wash immediately after wearing the shirt.  Waiting to put on your shirt until after you’ve put on colognes, hair styling products, etc. will also cut back on the build up around the collar.

As you might assume, we clean a lot of dress shirts at Classic Cleaners.  We’re happy to take a look at any pesky ring around the collar stains and consult with you on our methods to try and remove them.

Stop in and see us at any of our 18 locations or call your route driver to point out which shirts need special attention from our stain removal experts.

– S.O.