The ring around the collar is one of those things, like lost socks in the dryer, that just inexplicably makes you feel like a less-than-capable keeper of the home -- no matter how clean you are, no matter what you do to prevent it, it just appears.
Truthfully, collar rings appear for one good reason: because you're only human. As a human, you perspire and your body sheds skin cells. Sweat transfers those excess skin cells -- as well as residue from products such as soap and shampoo -- right to your collar, and voila, the ring is born. To combat this laundry goblin, you'll need a key ingredient that attacks the core cause, and that ingredient is hydrogen peroxide.
Mix and Apply
Things You'll Need
- Spray bottle
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Washing soda
Step 1: The Secret Ingredient
Combine 2 parts water and 1 part hydrogen peroxide in a clean spray bottle, mixing them gently. Peroxide cuts through the bacteria and dead skin cells that act as the chief collar ring culprits.
Step 2: A Bit of Soda
Gently stir some washing soda into the mix, so that you have about 2 parts water, 1 part peroxide and 1 part washing soda.
Washing soda is essentially a finely powdered version of baking soda, and should be available in your grocer's laundry section. If you don't have any on hand, just spread some baking soda in a deep pan; bake it for an hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir it up, and then bake for another hour.
Step 3: In Action
Spray the mixture on the collar ring and allow it to soak for about 30 minutes before machine-washing your shirt as usual. The fresher the stain, the better the results. Likewise, keep the spray fresh; rather than storing it, whip up a new batch whenever collar rings appear.
You can also use the peroxide-washing powder super combo as a paste, if you prefer. Simply combine the two ingredients and a bit of laundry detergent in equal parts until they take on a paste-like consistency. Then scrub the paste into the collar ring using a toothbrush. Allow the shirt to rest for a few hours, and then wash as normal.
To prevent collar rings before they happen, pay extra attention to rinsing your neck free of shampoo, soap and conditioner when you shower. Before putting on a crisp white dress shirt in the morning, use a cotton ball or pad to apply some rubbing alcohol to your neck, cleansing it of residue and dead skin cells. Go with mint-scented rubbing alcohol for an extra fresh fragrance and clean tingle.