How To Clean The Ring Around The Collar Of Your Dress Shirts

My husband wears button down shirts to work every day, and lately I’ve been noticing that even after I wash them, they still have a dirty ring around the collar. Every single collared shirt he owns has a seemingly permanent ring around the collar that I just couldn’t get rid of, even after pre-soaking the shirts in stain remover and scrubbing at them. But then I discovered there’s a simple trick to cleaning the dirty ring around the collar: dishwasher detergent. I gave it a try and every single one of his shirts came clean; they look brand new again! Today I’m sharing how easy it is to clean those dirty shirt collars, and how you can do it too!

This is a really easy way to clean the ring around the collar of your dress shirts! All you need is dishwasher detergent!

Here is what the collars on just a few of my husband’s shirts looked like before I cleaned them. Yuck!

Learn how to clean the dirty ring around the collar of your dress shirts

How To Clean The Ring Around The Collar Of Your Dress Shirts

  • 15 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
  • 1 hour (time spent waiting around)
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes (total project time)



Use dishwasher detergent to clean the dirty ring around the collar of your dress shirts!


Mix the dishwasher detergent with water until it forms a paste. I used about 2 tbsp of detergent and had more than enough to clean five shirts, so you don’t need much!

Run the collar of your shirt under cold water until both the front and the back of the collar are totally wet.

Using your fingers, rub the paste onto the stained shirt collar so that it covers all of the dirty spots.

Make a paste and apply it to the ring around the collar

Don’t worry if the paste is a little spotty like in my photo above; as long as your collar was wet all the way through with water before you added the paste, the water will help spread the soap over the whole stain, even if there isn’t a large clump of soap sitting right on top of every dirty spot.

Let your shirt sit for about an hour with the paste on the collar.

After an hour the paste will probably be dried up and hard, but that’s fine! Just run the collar under cold water again until the paste loosens up a bit, then scrub at the collar with a toothbrush or bristle brush.

Scrub the ring around the collar

Scrub hard! You should see most of the dirt coming out as you scrub, but there may be some slight discoloration left, like in my photo above. Don’t worry about that! Once you’ve scrubbed the heck out of the collar, toss the shirt into the washer and wash it like normal with your next load of laundry.

When you pull the shirt out of the washer, the ring around the collar will be totally gone!

The dirty ring around the collar of your dress shirts is gone!

So much better!

This shows you how to clean the ring around the collar of your dress shirts!

This works so well to clean the ring around the collar of your dress shirts!

I actually use dishwasher detergent all the time in my laundry; it really helps to cut the grease and oils on your clothing! Check out how to wash and whiten pillows and pillowcases in your washing machine!

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Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. Mike says

    5 years ago

    “RING AROUND THE COLLAR” Oh Yuck… I learned a very useful method to combat this from my son who worked at a high volume restaurant for a while. Blue, button down dress shirt required. His fellow waiters and busers advised him to use GREEN Dawn liquid dish soap to pre-treat his collars (for his mother’s benefit of course). We have been using this method for any greasy challenges for about 20 years now and it never fails. Just squirt it on, rub it in (no toothbrush required) as a pre-treat and throw it in the wash as normal. Works for pillow cases and other greasy spots and things too. For what ever reason it must be GREEN Dawn.

  2. Brian Nagle says

    5 years ago

    Good news then it should work fine with white shirts.

  3. jack says

    6 years ago

    Ummmn, the man ingredient I dishwasher detergent is bleach. This could easily ruin an expe sive shirt.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      6 years ago

      It’s such a small amount that it shouldn’t be a problem. There’s actually bleach in a lot of commercial laundry detergents also, even ones that labeled safe for use with colors and darks. But you should always try a test in an inconspicuous area if you’re worried about it!

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