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For yellow rings on shirts caused by skin grease or sweat:

  • Some recommended to use an "Oxyclean" stain remover or stain remover stick for cleaning.
  • Some recommended to use dishwashing detergent to brush and wash the stains, saying "dish washing liquid is designed to remove grease, and why buy another product (that doesn't work very well -- I've tried) when you already have one that does?"

From a chemistry perspective, do dishwashing detergent and stain remover powder/stick have similar chemical composition and a similar ability to remove collar yellow rings?

Original dirty collar enter image description here

After dishwashing detergent and laundry detergent enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ That is nice to see that it did something, but we can't tell which (dishwashing or laundry) item you used had the desired effect or to what extent, because it seems you just used both and one of them or both did the trick? $\endgroup$ – Leonardo Sep 3 '12 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Leonardo: Not sure which, since I used them one after the other. :-( $\endgroup$ – Tim Sep 3 '12 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ Also, my original post is asking about comparing dishwashing detergent (possibly followed with laundry detergent although not mentioned) and stain remover (oxy/clean, or stick, which I don't own), not comparing dishwashing dtergent and laundry detergent. $\endgroup$ – Tim Sep 4 '12 at 0:18
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Detergents seem to consist of both polar and non-polar compounds. Probably because they need the non-polar part of the mixture to dissolve the grease, and the polar compound part of the mixture to get washed off with the water so there is not much left over on your shirt. The ideal solution would probably depend on just how bad the stain is (how much grease needs to be dissolved). If your home solutions did not work the first time, try to look for signs if it did anything at all, and it might not be something that will remove all the grease the first go around.

I have no experience using detergents or removing stains, but I am going off a lot of speculation here as to how the process might work.

"Like dissolves like"

According to this article if there are lots of Mg, Ca, or Iron ions in your water (likely) then it could reduce the effectiveness of soaps. A good question to ask yourself is whether or not your water contains many ions such as these.

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