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Q: Acidic sweat and health effects ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Acidic sweat and health effects
Category: Health > Men's Health
Asked by: rxavierchambers-ga
List Price: $35.00
Posted: 05 Mar 2005 11:56 PST
Expires: 04 Apr 2005 12:56 PDT
Question ID: 485263
When I sweat, it severely discolors my cotton clothing.  For instance
if I wear a black cotton shirt, the collar will turn an orangish
color.  It is as though I sweat acid.  Does this mean anything bad in
terms of my health specifically my energy level?  Why is it happening?
Subject: Re: Acidic sweat and health effects
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 05 Mar 2005 13:03 PST
It is not likely that this is related to your overall health. It's
quite common for sweat to cause discoloration, or to leach color out
of clothing. A buildup of sweat in the armpit and collar areas exposes
the fabric to a mixture of acids, body oils, salts, ammonia, enzymes,
and bacteria that can affect the dyes in dark-colored fabric, or turn
light-colored fabric various shades of yellow, orange, and even green.
If your perspiration has a tendency to stain fabrics, the use of
deodorants or antiperspirants can worsen this, as can the consumption
of certain foods. It's a highly individual thing. My brother, for
example, found that eliminating onion and garlic from his diet had a
dramatic effect on the sweat-stain problem. I, on the other hand, can
eat onion and garlic quite freely, and I've never had much problem
with discoloration from sweat. Body chemistry varies from person to

I've gathered some online info for you. Please keep in mind that this
is not medical advice; the material I've posted is for informational
purposes only.

I don't perspire a lot but my sweat 'eats' color out of my clothing.
White shirts become yellow and colored shirts lose color in the
underarm area. I end up throwing shirts away several times a week.
What can I do to stop this clothing discoloration?

That's because sweat is 99 percent water and one percent messier junk.
'It's all about the bacteria and enzymes,' says David O'Connor, M.D.
of Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Among the waste products in your sweat are sodium chloride, phosphate,
urea, ammonia and lactic acid. As the water evaporates, these
substances build up and your shirts gain, or lose, color.

The apocrine glands in your armpits are particularly 'colorful.' These
produce a different, thicker kind of 'diaphoretic' fluid than the
glands on the hands and feet. And the bacteria that get trapped by the
hair ducts in this region may cause odor and keep the sweat in contact
with your clothing longer...

Diet might actually be the real culprit. Garlic and certain spices are
broken down and excreted in perspiration. If you eat excessive amounts
of spicy foods, try cutting back and see what happens."

PrematureE: Archive

Here's some good advice about treating discoloration that has already occurred:

"As with any stain, the newer it is, the easier it can be to remove.
For non-washable fabrics, your dry cleaners can work on the stain as
soon as possible. For washable fabrics, the following suggestions may

Apply cool water to the stain, by soaking or using a sponge. 

Pre-treat the area with an enzyme presoak product, such as Biz, in
warm water. Leave the treatment in for about a half-hour.

If perspiration has caused the fabric to discolor, depending on how
old the stain is, the following options may help restore color to the
area. Remember to test either solution on an inconspicuous area of the
fabric first to check for colorfastness.

For fresher stains, soak the area in or spray with an ammonia solution
(1 quart of warm water, 1 tablespoon of ammonia,  teaspoon of hand
liquid soap) for about 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

For older stains, soak the area in or spray with a warm vinegar
solution (1 quart of warm water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar) for
about 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

Apply laundry detergent and/or bar soap directly to the stain and
massage in. Depending on the fabric color and/or type, adding a
color-safe or chlorine bleach to the wash may offer some benefit. Wash
the item in the hottest water the fabric care label will allow.

Air dry, preferably in the sunlight. The heat from machine drying or
using an iron causes stains to set."

Go Ask Alice: Sweat Stain Sources and Solutions

"Perspiration stains are caused by body oils, mineral salts and
enzymes mixing together on fabrics. If they are not removed, they can
weaken and discolor fabric. To remove the stains from washables, soak
for 30 minutes to an hour in an enzyme based stain remover, then
launder in warm water. If stain has discolored fabric, use a bleach
that is safe for the fabric."

My Fuller Brush: Problem Solving

"New perspiration stains are normally acid and may be removed by
washing. If the fabric dye is affected, hold the mark in fumes from an
open ammonia bottle to try to restore the color.
Older perspiration stains turn alkaline and sponging with 1 Tbsp.
vinegar in a half cup of water will often restore the color. This
treatment also helps to remove perspiration odors.

To remove perspiration stains from unwashable garments or for any
stubborn marks, apply a paste of 1 Tbsp. cream of tartar, 3 crushed
aspirins and a cup of warm water. Leave for 20 minutes. Rinse well in
warm water. Repeat if necessary. Follow this with vinegar and water to
restore the color if necessary."

Silk Road Fabrics: Stain Removal

My Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: sweat OR perspiration discolor OR discolors OR stain OR stains

I hope this is helpful. If anything is unclear or incomplete, please
request clarification; I'll gladly offer further assistance before you
rate my answer.

Best regards,
There are no comments at this time.

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