How to Get Perspiration Stains out of a Vintage Blouse

by S.R. Becker ; Updated September 28, 2017

Vintage clothing allows you to dress like it's the 1950's all over again, but that pretty blouse from the thrift store may have 50-year-old sweat stains on the neck and armpits. If your blouse is stained, all is not lost. A little strategic scrubbing can help get the stains out. Though it might be impossible to remove stains from vintage linen and silk, other fabrics are easier to clean with a home remedy and a good wash.

Items you will need

  • Oxygen bleach powder
  • Uncoated aspirin
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Lemon juice
  • White vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sponge

Paste Method

Step 1

Make a runny paste by adding 1/4 cup of warm water to 4 tablespoons of powdered oxygen bleach, crushed aspirin, salt or baking soda. Stir the mixture in a bowl until all the powder dissolves.

Step 2

Rub the paste onto the sweat stain with your fingertips, then rub the fabric together gently to work it in. Allow the blouse to sit for 20 minutes.

Step 3

Launder the blouse in the washing machine in cold water on the gentle cycle. Use a liquid laundry detergent formulated for delicate fabrics. If desired, add another scoop of oxygen bleach to the wash.

Step 4

Remove the blouse from the washer and hang it outdoors in the sun to dry. If the stain remains, repeat the steps until it's gone.

Liquid Method

Step 1

Pour white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or freshly squeezed lemon juice into a bowl.

Step 2

Dip a damp sponge into the liquid and dab it onto the sweat stain until the stain is completely saturated.

Step 3

Allow the blouse to sit for 20 minutes, then launder it in cold water with liquid laundry detergent formulated for delicates. If desired, add a scoop of powdered oxygen bleach to the wash.

Step 4

Allow the blouse to air dry outdoors in bright sunlight.


  • Use hydrogen peroxide instead of water in a baking soda or salt paste for extra cleaning power.


  • If your blouse is made of silk or linen, or if you're not sure of the fabric content, take it to a dry cleaner to prevent damaging it in the wash. Do not wash stained clothing in hot water, as this can further set the stain.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.