Effective Methods to Clean Collars and Cuffs (Home Remedies)

Quick Steps

  • Pre-treat the dirty collars and cuffs before washing them by applying suitable detergent over the stained surface.
  • Next, add some drops of water and roll your fingers for an even application.
  • Use a toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush and start scrubbing over the stains.
  • Next, allow them to settle for about 10 to 15 minutes. Finally, pour a few drops of water and start rubbing their surface to each other and rinse them with cold water.

Key Takeaways

  • The mixture of sweat, dirt, and body oil is majorly responsible for dirty collars and cuffs.
  • If the stains are left untreated, they will become more difficult to remove and may require multiple treatments.
  • For stubborn stains over the collars and cuffs, you should always pre-treat or spot-clean them before washing.
  • The best way to remove difficult stains from shirts is by bleaching them (Only for clothes suitable to be washed with bleach).
  • You can either hand wash or machine wash the collar and cuff stains depending on the instructions on the care label.
  • Always read the care label before performing any cleaning activity.

How do collars and cuffs attract stains?

The major cause of dirty collars and cuffs is sweat.

When you sweat, your body excretes water and salt.

This could cause your skin to get too wet, making it easier for germs and fungi to settle on your clothes.

Additionally, if you have oily skin, your sweat can mix with the oil and dirt on your skin to create a more pungent smell.

Over time, sweat can leave stains on your clothes, especially if you don’t wash them often enough.

Collars and cuffs usually go unnoticed, so over time, they become messy.

Sweat can cause both yellowing and staining of your shirt collar and cuffs.

Also, the protein in your sweat can react with the fibers in your shirt, which can cause them to break down and change color.

How to clean dirty collars and cuffs?

You can clean the collars and cuffs in several ways, such as spot cleaning, washing by hand, and using your washing machine.

It completely depends on the severity of the stains.

Let’s take a quick look into the process of cleaning dirty cuffs and collars effectively.

Spot clean or pre-treatment

If your collar and cuffs are extremely dirty, you may want to pretreat them before washing them.

Hence, to spot clean tough stains or spots on the collars and cuffs, you’ll need the following:

  • A bowl of warm water
  • Mild or a suitable detergent
  • A toothbrush or a soft-bristled small brush
  • A clean cloth

Instructions to spot clean or pre-treat

Start by mixing a small amount of mild detergent into a bowl of warm water.

Then, using a toothbrush or a small brush, lightly scrub the dirty areas of the collar and cuffs.

You can even use a fabric stain-removing solution instead of detergents.

Once you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse the shirt in clean water to remove any remaining soap residue.

Now, use a clean cloth to blot the worked area, and make sure you’ve removed as much moisture as possible.

If the spots haven’t disappeared to your satisfaction, then you can simply repeat the above steps.

Note: Be sure to rinse the brush frequently in water to avoid re-depositing dirt on the clean areas of the fabric.

Finally, wash the clothes by hand or in your washing machine as usual.

Wash by hand

To remove mild stains from clothing collars and cuffs, hand-wash the affected areas.

Washing by hand is the most gentle way to wash collars and cuffs.

This method gives you complete control over the treatment of almost all fabrics and stains.

Moreover, washing by hand is as good as spot cleaning along with thorough washing.

So, start by pre-treating the area with a stain remover or a mild detergent.

Rub the affected areas gently and let them sit for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.

Next, fill up a sink or basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent.

Before putting your shirt’s collar and cuffs in the water, stir the water gently to make some bubbles (suds).

Then, soak the clothes and let them soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Now, use your hands to gently scrub the clothes. If you’re dealing with particularly stubborn stains, you may need to use a soft-bristled brush.

Now, rinse the shirt collar and cuffs thoroughly under running water.

As an additional step, transfer them to your washing machine and wash them according to the care instructions on the garment label.

Machine wash

If your collars and cuffs are stained mildly or if they are slightly dirty, you can wash them in a washing machine on a delicate cycle.

Before you load them into the washer, you should apply detergent over the collars and cuffs.

Next, apply a few drops of water and rub the area using your fingers.

Now, leave it to settle for around 10 to 15 minutes.

Once the stain has loosened, you can put the clothes in the washing machine and wash them as usual.

Just make sure to air dry the garments naturally if the fabric is delicate, such as silk.

If you’re not sure about the fabric’s care instructions, then you can always check the label inside the garment.

Use a laundry bag

If you’re worried about your clothes getting caught on other clothes or getting damaged in the washing machine, you can always put them in a mesh laundry bag.

This will protect your clothes and prevent them from getting tangled up with other items in the wash.

Moreover, it’ll also help to keep the shape of your collars and cuffs intact.

So, simply place your shirt’s collar and cuffs in the laundry bag and then put it in the washing machine.

This way, you can be sure that your clothes will come out looking as good as new.

Note: If you are using a mesh laundry bag, it’s important to pre-treat the clothes as thoroughly as possible. Also, apply some detergent to your clothes before placing them in a laundry bag.

Some Home remedies to get rid of collar and cuff stains

We all know the conventional way of cleaning clothes, i.e., using a washing machine or hand-washing them using detergent, fabric softeners, and stain removers.

But sometimes, you may need to use home remedies to deal with stubborn stains, especially when you don’t have expensive stain removers handy.

Here are some of the best home remedies to get rid of tough collar and cuff stains

Baking Soda

Make a paste of baking soda with water and apply it to the collars and cuffs evenly.

Leave it to settle for about an hour or two.

Now, apply detergent with a few drops of water to it.

Start rubbing the collar and cuffs using a soft brush.

Do it a couple of times by pouring some water on it and leaving it to settle for another 5 minutes.

Finally, rinse the collars and cuffs and put them in for a final wash.

Distilled Vinegar

Mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water in a bowl and pour it over the stained collars and cuffs.

Leave it to soak, and after 5 minutes, apply liquid detergent and start rubbing the surface with a toothbrush.

Now, rinse the garment and put it in for washing.

Additionally, you can soak the garment in a bowl filled with water and a cup of distilled vinegar.

Place the garment in the bowl and let it submerge and settle for about 10–15 minutes.

Remove the garment and brush the affected areas with a soft brush after pouring a few drops of detergent.

Once you are done pre-treating, you can either hand wash or machine wash your garment as usual.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice fights stains and works best with stains caused by sweat and body oil.

Simply apply a solution with 1 part lemon juice and 2 parts water to the stained areas.

Leave it to settle for about 15 minutes or so before washing it as usual.


Bleaching is the best way to get rid of the toughest stains from dirty collars and cuffs.

If your garment is bleach-friendly, then simply add bleach to a bowl filled with water and soak the garment in the solution.

Leave it for about 15 to 30 minutes to settle.

Next, use a toothbrush and mild detergent to scrub the stained areas.

Once you’re done, rinse the garment thoroughly and machine-wash it as usual.

Note: Do not use the above methods if the care label on your garment says “Dry Clean Only.”

How to clean the collar and cuffs of a leather jacket?

Washing or cleaning the collar and cuffs of a leather jacket is fairly simple.

You will need

  • A soft cloth
  • Leather conditioner
  • Saddle soap

Instructions to clean the collar and cuffs of a leather jacket

Make sure you choose a saddle soap that is specifically designed for use on leather apparel, as conventional soap or detergent may damage your leather jacket.

Once you have all the materials handy, you can begin the cleaning process.

  • First, take a soft cloth and gently wipe off your jacket’s collar and cuffs. This will get rid of any dirt and grime on the surface.
  • Next, take the saddle soap and apply it to the collar and cuffs. Make sure it is evenly distributed over the surface.
  • Allow the soap to sit on the leather for a few minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth.
  • Next, use a small amount of leather conditioner and apply it to the collar and cuffs. Massage the polish into the leather until it is evenly spread.
  • Your jacket’s collar and cuffs should now be clean and conditioned for next use.

Safety Precautions

Safety precautions are essential when using bleach for stain removal.

Here are some safety tips to follow when using bleach on collars and cuffs:

Read the Care Label

Always check the care label on the garment before using bleach.

Bleach is not suitable for all fabrics, and using it on the wrong fabric can cause damage.

Perform a Spot Test

Before applying bleach to the entire collar or cuff, perform a spot test on a hidden area of the fabric.

This will ensure that the fabric can handle the bleach without discoloration or damage.

Dilute Bleach Properly

If using liquid bleach, dilute it according to the instructions on the bottle.

Avoid using undiluted bleach directly on the fabric, as it can weaken the fibers and cause fading.

Wear Protective Gear

When handling bleach, wear protective gloves and clothing to avoid direct contact with your skin.

Furthermore, it is important to work in an area with good ventilation to prevent inhaling any harmful fumes.

Avoid Mixing Bleach with Other Cleaners

Never mix bleach with other cleaning agents, especially ammonia or products containing ammonia.

The combination can create toxic fumes.

Keep Bleach Away from Children and Pets

Store bleach in a secure location, out of reach of children and pets.

Accidental ingestion or contact with bleach can be harmful.

Rinse Thoroughly

After using bleach on collars and cuffs, rinse the fabric thoroughly with water to remove any residue.

Residual bleach can continue to damage the fabric over time.

Consider Alternative Stain Removal Methods

If the fabric is not suitable for bleach or you’re uncomfortable using it, consider using alternative stain removal methods, such as baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice.

Final Thoughts

While it is not always possible to prevent sweating, there are some things you can do to minimize the effects on clothing.

As a best practice, always treat the collars and cuffs after every use and before washing. Doing this will prevent the stains from becoming stubborn.

If you notice sweat stains on your shirt collar or cuffs, it is important to clean them as soon as possible.

The longer the sweat stays on the fabric, the harder it will be to remove.

Some shirts and outfits have detachable collars and cuffs, which makes them easy to work on.

Make sure to detach and fix them carefully and follow the instructions on the product label.

Lastly, do not overwork your garments to clean dirty collars and cuffs, or you may end up damaging the fabric.

Depending on the stubbornness of the stains, you may have to wash them multiple times. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you pre-treat the collars and cuffs?

If your shirt’s collar and cuffs have turned too dirty, you can pre-treat the stains before washing them. For milder stains, rubbing the stained area in damp conditions should be fine. Just make sure to use the right detergent or stain remover, and don’t use bleach on clothes that can’t handle it.

Can I apply bleach directly over the collars and cuffs?

Do not put bleach directly on your clothes, and always mix it with small amounts of water. Moreover, make sure the fabric is suitable for bleaching, or else you will end up damaging the fabric material.

How to remove ring around the collar with vinegar and baking soda?

You can remove ring around the collar with vinegar and baking soda paste. Simply mix 1 part baking soda and 2 parts vinegar to form a paste. Next, apply the paste generously to the collar area and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. After that, rub the stained area with a soft toothbrush and some water. Finally, rinse the collar with clean water.

How to remove ring around the collar using hydrogen peroxide?

In order to remove ring around the collar using hydrogen peroxide, you will need to pour some hydrogen peroxide on the stained areas and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Pour more hydrogen peroxide over the stains, and then use a soft brush to rub the spots gently. Finally, rinse the collar with clean water.

Why is the inside of my collar dirty?

The inside of the collar typically gets dirty from sweat and body oils. If you have an oily skin type, you may notice that the inside of your collar gets dirty more quickly.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at) portablelaundry.com