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What is the Problem?
Yellow or tan stains appear on garments after cleaning or over time after use or storage.

What does it look like?
These stains are most often yellow, tan, or rust colored. They show up in areas that became damp with perspiration in wear, such as the underarms, neck, back and waistband. They can appear as rings, streaks, or splotches.

What caused it?
This type of staining originates as perspiration and/or body oils and progressively develops as the residue oxidizes. All perspiration contains fats and oils, as well as cholesterol and other chemicals, that will oxidize over time and eventually become darker and stain textiles. Such stains can become more noticeable after cleaning when the heat of drying or pressing accelerates the oxidation process.

Can it be prevented?
Garments should be drycleaned or washed regularly so that perspiration residue is removed when fresh, preventing permanent staining.

Who is responsible?
Perspiration stains can only be attributed to circumstances of garment use.

Is there a remedy?
Sometimes professional cleaners can reduce or even completely remove old perspiration stains by special processes, but there may be some risk to certain colors and fabrics. Not all oxidized perspiration stains can be safely removed.


Written by Jim Kirby, DLI Textile Analyst
Textile Analysis Bulletin Service, Drycleaning & Laundry Institute – 378 January/February 2009