How to Prevent Ring Around The Collar For Good

You can easily prevent ring around the collar.

A reader stopped by and posted a comment asking about whether or not a mock neck undershirt would help prevent ring around the collar.

Will a higher necked undershirt/t-shirt reduce the amount of oils, dirt, and dead skin in the inside collar of your favorite white shirts? Maybe. But not all of us are willing to trade in our favorite undershirts to find out.

Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking about this very issue recently. Even though I usually wear an undershirt (which allows me to wear a shirt more than once between washings/dry cleanings), I have yet to avoid the dreaded ring around the collar. I get it pretty much every time I wear a collared shirt.

So, there are two ways to think about this problem:

  1. Cleaning ring around the collar
  2. Preventing ring around the collar

About a gazillion websites provide ideas on how to CLEAN ring around the collar. However, I was more curious about how to PREVENT it. So I hit the keyboard, started Googling away, and found these tips. Hope you find them helpful!

How to Stop Ring Around the Collar: 6 Tips

1. Keep Your Neck Clean

You know what they say about an ounce of prevention. Ring around the collar comes from an accumulation of dirt, sweat and oils on your neck that rubs off on your collar and leaves a gross, yellowish stain. Preventing this gunk from getting on your shirt in the first place is one of the best ways to avoid rings altogether.


Sweat Proof Undershirts

Shower regularly, or at the very least, use body wipes on your neck before getting dressed.

Check out these Body & Face Wipes from Men’s Health, $16.99.


2. Wear The Right Shirt For the Right Task

We’ve established that sweat and dirt are a terrible combination when trying to prevent ring around the collar. So if you have to do any strenuous activity, change your shirt if possible.

While you can’t always avoid this, just know that the harder you work in any collared shirt, the more likely you’ll contribute to nasty neck stains that’ll be tough to remove. So if you’re the go-to guy for heavy lifting, think about keeping an extra t-shirt on hand or in your car just in case.

Read: Men’s Muscle Shirts: Why To Wear Them & Where To Buy

3. Wash Your Shirts After Each Wear

There are a few reasons why you should wash your shirts immediately after wearing them. In addition to preventing collar buildup, immediate washing or dry cleaning helps remove food or sweat stains you may have accumulated during the day or night. 

The longer you wait, the easier it’ll be for the stain to set and become permanent. So, save money in the long run by taking good care of your clothing investment. 

Note: Many dry cleaners have pick and delivery services. Just saying.


4. Minimize Using Colognes and Lotions Around Your Neck

When it comes to avoiding collar stains, you may be asking for trouble if you regularly use cologne, body lotion or hair products. Any product that leaves moisture or residue on your skin will create a magnet for the ring of yellow ick.

Consider wiping your neck (as above) after using these products, or move on to the next step …


5. Powder Your Neck Before Dressing 

Let’s face it: you can’t always shower before getting dressed. If you can’t rinse or even wipe your neck, throwing on a dusting of powder helps. Focus on your neck, but if you’re not freshly showered, you may as well hit your junk with it too.

If you don’t want to smell like baby powder, check out Dude Powder (they had me at “Long Lasting Stank Protection”), $10.42

Chassis Unscented Powder for Men Premium Body Powder, Talc-Free, $17.96


6. Wear a Shirt Collar Protector

If all else fails, try a barrier method.

Shirt collar protectors (also called collar guards) save money by reducing the need to launder your dress shirts while protecting them from ring around the collar stains. In addition, disposable collar protectors can be cut to fit and used for shirt collars or hats, doubling their usefulness.

Check out White Collar Grime, The ORIGINAL Disposable Cotton Hat and Collar Protector, $10.95

Check Comments Below

Check out the Comments section of this article for more advice, such as using Scotch Guard Fabric Protector as a preventative measure.

If you’ve tried one of the above products, let me know what you think!

Also, if you know of any other ways to prevent ring around the collar, please share them below.

For more grooming tips, check out the following on my blog:

Men’s Ball Wash. Say Goodbye to Smelly Balls

Undershirts, Manscaping, & More!


Sweat Proof Undershirts

51 thoughts on “How to Prevent Ring Around The Collar For Good”

  1. I think someone needs to overhaul the dress shirt design to make removable collars, so you’d clip or snap on the entire collar and be able to remove it to wash.

    • I used to do data entry at Express Scripts, in an office on the 8th floor of 433 River Street in Troy, NY (never again! But that’s a different story). This office space was in a repurposed factory built in 1917 for Cluett, Peabody & Company.

      This company used to make the famed Arrow Collars mentioned in the Irving Berlin song ‘Puttin’ On The Ritz’ if you’ve heard it. You may be surprised to know that these old-style collars [and cuffs] _were_ detachable!

      The attached collar was a later development which proved extremely successful, and the detachable cuff and collar faded into the past…

      Sounds like an improvement to me, too, though.

      • interesting stuff tom!

        thanks for stopping by and sharing the info about those shirts with detachable collars and cuffs (:

  2. I use GOOP on my collars and wrist sleeve area of my dress shirts.

    GOOP is a hand cleaner for the garage used primarily to remove grease, oil and almost any stubborn stain on ones hands while working.

    It’s cheap, I use it all the time for outdoor work on for my hands, and it washes off easily with water. I apply the GOOP on the collar stained area, allow the shirt to sit for about 10 minutes, then wash as usual….works fabulously.

    Also works great on underarm stains on undershirts.

    I’ll use it on jeans if (more likely when) I get oil on them from working in the garage.

    • heya bob, thanks for stopping by and sharing your use of “goop” tip with us (:

      for the underarm stain removal, do you just spread goop on the inside underarm area and let it sit for some period of time?

      if so, how long do you let it sit before washing the shirt?

      or, do you spread it on the underarm area, scrub it in some, and let it sit?

      thanks in advance for the additional information!

      if you’d be willing, could you share your response in the comments section of this article:

      • I turn the undershirt inside out and apply it directly to the underarm area of the shirt. Don’t scrub it in really just rub it on and let it sit for 10 mins or so. Seems to work best of anything I’ve tried this far.

  3. It works!!
    Using three things from this article has really helped my collars. All this time I thought my neck was dirty, NOT SO, it is just a lot of excess oil that my body likes to create!! After 7 days,and one washing, the results are most impressive!
    1. I stopped scrubbing my neck, only use soap and my hands to clean the neck. It seems that when I scrub harder, it removes the oils and the shirt looks horrible that night. When I don’t scrub, it is only half as bad. Now the body is not trying to replace all the oils that were scrubbed off! This eliminates about 40% of the problem. I had come to this conclusion a few years back.
    2. I started using baby powder to the neck just before I put the shirt on. It seems to absorb most of the oils during the day. It doesn’t take much. This takes care of about another 50% and an added benefit, it makes you smooth and smell great. Applying it before you put the shirt on eliminates and spillage that would show up else were.
    3. I’m using “shout” spray on cleaner to dissolve what little oil did appear at the end of the day wearing the shirt.
    At the end of the day, their is very little on the collar and the cuffs of the sleeves. And after just one washing, my shirts appear almost as new again. The first time in over 50 years! I’ll get three times the life out of a shirt now. Thanks so much for this article and all the responses.

    • thanks fixit (:

      really happy to hear this article helped you with preventing ring around the collar, and appreciate you sharing the specifics of how you personally manage ring around the collar too, each day.

      ver good tip with #2 (stop scrubbing your neck). it makes perfect sense (:

      thanks again!

    • It’s been three weeks since I started the 3 step approach. It works so great. I just compared a third week laundered shirt to a new one… You can’t tell the difference.
      I wore the shirts just three to four hours at a time before and they were terrible, now I wear them from sun up to well after dark. I am so pleased.
      But I have to concur that most of the ring that is left, (which isn’t much), has moved from the inside of the collar to the folded part at the top. I don’t think it really moved, but the problem has about gone away lower down the neck and is really under control at the top of the collar. The small remnants of the original problem are easily washed away in the laundry.
      Thanks so much…

      • It’s been a year and a half since I read this blog and started to prevent dirty collars.

        So here are a couple of new insights I have working for me.

        1. Along with not scrubbing the neck and only using my hand and soap, and

        2. using baby powered, I have found that

        3. showering at night rather than in the morning has made a huge difference. Any oils that were washed off and needed replacing by my body, have done so by morning. I suspect that they are accumulating on the pajamas, but really haven’t noticed any difference on the pajamas. But I have seen a huge change of my white shirts with the change of showering times.

        4. I use 2 doses of baby powder, one when I first get up, followed by wearing a t shirt for an hour, then a second dose just before I put on the white shirt for the day and often into the evening.

        I’m getting such great results!!! I Wish that I would have known this many years back and many destroyed shirts!!

        Hope this will be of help to someone else.

        Good Luck with your issues.

  4. Dawn dish-washing liquid has never failed me. Just apply regular Dawn across the stain. I then wet my fingers with water from the tap and rub it in. Use a scrub brush for heavy stains. It works well for other food/oil stains as well. Let it sit for at least 20-minutes and wash as normal. Ive been doing this for years and always have success.

    For the whitest whites, try Oxi-Clean “White Revive” (not the regular Oxi-Clean). Follow the instructions and make sure to let the whites soak overnight.

    You’ll be impressed. I’ve tried many things, and this has been the only thing that gets results.
    Good luck.

    • thanks tee cee (:

      yeah, from a removal pov, dawn dish soap or dawn + hydrogen peroxide are two of the more commonly offered solutions to cleaning certain greasy stains on shirts, including removing ring around the collar.

      along with “white revive” from oxi-clean, have you every tried those bluing treatments like mrs. stewarts to whiten your clothes??

      note: this article is more about prevention than cleaning, but happy to keep the discussion going about all-things related to keeping shirt collars their cleanest!

      • Thanks for the info. Yeah, I should’ve posted in another section. I didn’t realize until you pointed it out and I’m glad you brought it to my attention.
        I saw a tip on prevention that suggested spraying 3M Scotch Guard onto collar to prevent oil absorption (that’s my issue).
        I’m going to try this. I sprayed the collar on my light-blue uniform shirt. I’m anxious to test this recommendation as my uniform shirt collars show oil after a few hours. I’ll try to report my findings afterwards.

      • Scotch Guard Fabric Protector actually worked! I sprayed it on my light-blue shirt’s collar the night before I wore it. After a day of wearing, I saw none of the usual facial/skin oil stains on the collar.

      • hey tee cee (:

        that’s awesome — thanks so much for stopping back by here to let us know that using scotch guard fabric protector on your collar helped prevent ring around the collar!!

        i’ll have to keep that in mind and try it out. i might just try some of that neverwet stuff, since i want to go to home depot anyway and pick some up to test out it’s waterproof-ness on my sweat jackets that i love to wear so much.

        thanks again.

  5. I was wondering if something along the lines of ScotchGuard ™ as far as a spray-on product would be best. I am thinking of trying hair spray on one of my cheap shirts. Perhaps something that closes or fills the “pores” of the fabric and is fairly slick. It would also have to be non-irritating on the skin. As for cleaning after the fact, I have had success using toothpaste and an old tooth brush.

  6. The issue I have with the “guard” approach to preventing ring around the collar (whether the guard is on my dress shirt or my undershirt) is that my worst stain is always at the top of the collar where it folds down. Any guard that protects that area will necessarily be visible. I have always imagined that the best approach would be removable cuffs and collars that could be laundered more harshly and then eventually disposed of. I think formal shirts used to have removable collars 100 years ago.

    • heya neil! the removable collar idea is pretty interesting, though probably not practical from a mass product availability perspective.

      i agree though, the area that is most severely affected is the edge and not the inside.

      while it’s not something that can prevent ring around the collar, this product (my clean shirt) claims to remove ring around the collar better than other products:

      i’ve also used deo-go to remove ring around the collar and it worked pretty well — though it’s actually designed to remove underarm stains.

      if i hear of anything else, i’ll be sure to post the information here!

  7. Thankfully, there is White Collar Grime: adhesive hat/collar protectors. Just cut to length, peel and stick to the inside of your collar (or hat). Stains avoided and collars saved!

  8. So guys you all have very interesting views about the different options on protecting the shirt collar. What about the wrist band and the under arm area.

    • heya james,

      i don’t wear long sleeve shirts very often, so i can’t offer any good preventative suggestions. though, for cleaning grease/dirt build up i’d recommend trying something like oxi-clean or a mixture of dish-soap and hydrogen peroxide. i tried the latter mixture on some stained underarms and a pretty dirty shirt collar. while it didn’t clean the underarm stains, it did do a good job of cleaning my neck collar.

      for underarm (pit) stain removal, the best solutions include deo-go, raise, and oxi-clean.

      i think the only ways to prevent underarm stains would be to:
      1. stop using antiperspirant and switch to deodorant — though you would not get any underarm sweat prevention
      2. making sure your antiperspirant is completely dry before putting on your clothes (aka, use a hair dryer on cool setting to dry the antiperspirant)
      3. switch to a 7-day antiperspirant like sweatblock or kleinerts dry body wipes
      4. wear underarm pads or liners (pretty inconvenient if you ask me)

      hope this info helps!

  9. Hi! Any advances on this? I was thinking anout how I could make some washable collar guards for my husband, and after searching online, was amazed that I couldn’t find any suggestions at all. I was wondering about making something that would fit around the neck rather something that would need to be attached to the collar. Any more ideas anyone?

    • heya su! thanks for stopping by my site and joining in on the conversation (:

      not to discourage, but i think the potential drawback of designing something that fit around the neck is that it would only be able to be used when wearing a tie (collar closed, top button fastened). i don’t know how it is where you live, but there’s a lot of business casual where i live — and most guys don’t wear ties.

      the stick on solutions presented here are made from fabric and attach to the collar, so the shirt can be worn open or closed.

      that said, a stretchy piece of real thin fabric, about 1″ wide, that could be fastened around the neck with a simple clasp, velcro or something similar might do the trick as well. the question is how would guys feel wearing something around their neck, and how would it look if the shirt collar didn’t ride close to the neck, and you could see the band?

      the good part of your idea is that you never have to worry about sticking or unsticking it from a shirt. you can use it a bunch of times and then throw it in the wash for cleaning. plus, it would be just like putting on a tie — just another accessory i’d put on in the morning. from a practicality point of view, that great, but from a business pov, i’m not sure.

      see, if i can buy one and use it bunch, and it takes a while to wear out, i don’t have to re-order very much. maybe once ever couple of years? that may or may not be a good business proposition — though you never know if you sell a million of them!

      idk — whadaya think?? let’s brainstorm!

      • Hmm, true, seems something attached around the neck would be too visible, that’s true. Oh well. And Scotch Guard is made of chemicals, which I don’t think would be very healthy long term, used all day every day.

      • I meant to add that the first idea would be too visible, even with the button done up and tie on! I think it might show, and even just slightly showing, it would probably look weird, right? Oh well.

  10. Two words…Scotch guard! Saved tons of cash on white shirts! Stains wash right out! Works great on my ties as well!

      • Did you try the Scotchgard? Did you try the Neverwet? Let us know how they went and how they compare. Thanks.

      • heya neil! good to hear from you buddy.

        no, i haven’t tried either personally yet, but i do need to take a trip to home depot soon, so as soon as i do, ill pick this stuff up, give it a whirl, and report back here.

    • If you don’t mind my asking, should Scotch Guard be applied to the collar prior to wearing for the 1st time?

      • I spray them as soon as I pull them out of the package…let it dry, then take them to the cleaners…if you spray after, you risk locking in whatever is already there from the first wear. But you can certainly try it.

      • For white shirts, does Scotchguard show up on the visible part of the collar or should you not spray the top at all?

  11. What would be ideal for me is a mock neck T-shirt that has a mock neck in the back, but then tapers down to a normal neck in the front of the T-shirt. My ring around the collar is always in the back, and this would make it less noticeable that you’re wearing a mock neck. Have you ever heard of such a product?

    • hey b! thanks for stopping by my site and posting your question!

      i think you’re on to a great idea there — but sadly i have not seen any undershirt that had such a feature or collar.

      a slight variation of that idea, that i think could be implemented rather easily, would be to design a piece of fabric with some edge reinforcement, that could be flipped up or down as needed, and have that sewn/constructed into the back side of the shirt on the inside of the collar.

      this way you could wear it down when you wear non-collared shirts and up when you wear collared shirts.

      what do you think of that idea?

  12. I fly for an airline and wearing my white button up pilot shirt daily I deal with this all the time. One day, I took a few tissues in the hotel room and folded them in a way that they wouldn’t stick up above the collar, but placed between my neck and the collar. For sure reduces the collar ring, some days it’s not noticeable. I’m trying to find a soft cotton liner that’s removable and washable. The shirts get nasty after working 14 hours a day, so I’m sometimes left with carrying around a scrub brush, sometimes forced to wash it in the sink.

    • heya john d! thanks for stopping by my site. what did you think of the solutions i found which are listed on this page?

      i’ve tried the first two collar guard product so far, and they definitely do what they are designed for — preventing ring around the collar (on your actual shirt).

      let me know what you decide to try and what you think of it!

  13. Hey Undershirt Guy, have you ever tried My Clean Shirt to remove ring around the collar stains? It works really good I have even had success removing “Set” stains. I’m talking about shirts that had been washed and dried several times.

    If its something you want to try; let me know and I will send you a free sample. We would appreciate you posting your results on your site….yea, it really works.
    If your interested email me at [email protected]

    Here’s the website:


    • Imdgc –

      It has been over six months and I have yet to get ring around the collar after switching to the mock neck tee from Jockey (link at beginning of this blog)

      I am required to wear a white button-up and tie for work daily.

      I utilize 3 button-up shirts ($189.99 ea.) and get two wears each before laundering. I own ten Jockey mock tees ($7.00 ea.) and wear them exclusively as my undershirt.

      Before the switch, these button-ups would be trash given the same scenario and length of time.

      I am 5’10” 180lbs. and currently wear XL in Jockey tee. Next purchase I will go up one size for added tucking length.

      The neck and shirt as a whole has remained just as good as new. I do have to roll the front just a little to keep from showing over top button but is so comfortable it isn’t noticed while wearing tee.

      I would try it …. what’s $7 bucks lost if you hate it … a latte?


    • hey lmdgc & b! thanks for stopping by, posting your comments and sharing your feedback.

      i’ve personally tried white collar grime and kollar guards and have to say that they unequivocally work to prevent ring around the collar. they are both easy to put on, and generally unnoticeable. with the use of an undershirt, i can get easily 2-3 wears out of my shirts, and not get any ring around the collar or any body oils, residue, or underarm sweat on my outer shirts.

      i will say though, that i think the pricing is a little off. paying $10 – $20 per month, on average, just to prevent ring around the collar feels a bit too much for me to incorporate into my every day life. for me to do that, it would have to be priced more like antiperspirant, razors, hairspray, etc. i can spend around $5 for my antiperspirant, and it’ll easily last a couple of months. same goes for razors and hairspray (although my hair isn’t all that long).

      just some food for thought. the products work for sure though and i was very pleased with their performance.

  14. Tug –

    While reading the thorough review you gave Jockey’s Mock Neck T-Shirt yesterday, I knew I had come to the right place for advice.

    My friend — You’ve taken this to another level!

    Your time and effort is GREATLY appreciated by myself and most likely by gentlemen for a long time to come should you solve this riddle.

    Nevertheless, I am glad to have ‘The Undershirt Guy’ on my side regarding the matter.



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