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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Effects of Perspiration and Antiperspirant on Your Clothes

I like working up a good sweat when I run; it makes me feel like I’ve worked really, really hard.  But when I’m finished with my morning run, I shower and dress for the day, and then I’d prefer not to sweat at all again until the next morning’s run.  Unfortunately, given the time of year and the amount of time we spend outside, that’s not likely to happen.  So what do I do?  I load up with antiperspirant – sometimes a couple times in the same day.  This too can be problematic because most antiperspirants contain aluminum salts, a product that is designed to block sweat glands from producing sweat.  As the day wears on your antiperspirant wears down, rubs on your clothes, and eventually fails resulting in perspiration.  Over time, the aluminum salts combine with the minerals in sweat and both penetrate the fabric of your garments and discoloration begins to show.  But not only can perspiration impact the color of your clothes, if left untreated over time, it can actually weaken the fabric’s fibers (which could lead to tears).  Further, some fabrics are more susceptible to damage – like silk – than others.
So it seems we have two problems here; the impact of perspiration on our clothes compounded with the use of antiperspirant.  What do we suggest?
  • We sort of suggest giving up antiperspirant.  Take a look at the ingredients in your antiperspirant, if it contains aluminum chlorohydrate, which tends to clump in cotton and damage fibers, consider switching to another product – like an aluminum-free or neutral pH type of deodorant.
  • Allow your deodorant to dry before dressing, which may help a bit with getting too much of it on your clothes.
  • Wash or dry clean the garment right after wearing to remove as much of the perspiration and antiperspirant as possible.  Fresh perspiration is easier to remove than the dried, caked-on, yellow, crusty, old stuff.   
  • If the stain remains, don’t place the garment in the dryer or iron it; heat will permanently set the stain into the fabric. 
  • There are two soaking options.  First, soak garments in cold water and a dish soap that contains de-greasers straightaway.  After soaking, rinse, and wash according to the care label’s directions.  Second, soaking in a mild color-safe bleach could help, but never use chlorine bleach to try and remove a perspiration stain, particularly on white cotton garments.  The proteins from the sweat will react with the bleach and make the stain darker. 
  • Sadly, there are times when the damage is too much, and the garment is past being restored. 
If you have a garment that’s been adversely affected by perspiration and antiperspirant, please bring it by one of our locations, and let us take a look at it.  We are here to help.

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