As larger, hairier, more muscular beings than women, men tend to sweat a lot more. While women don’t (usually) have to consider this bodily process in relation to their wardrobe, for many men, sweat and body odor is more than an unpleasant sensation — it can actually ruin clothes. What’s the point of shelling out big bucks for a dress shirt you love if it’s going to be stained with sweat a month later?
Luckily, we’re here to help you learn how to sweatproof your clothes just as temperatures are starting to rise so that you can go ahead and buy that shirt you had your eye on.
Begin with a good, heavy-duty antiperspirant during the summer months. If you don’t like the idea of a commercial antiperspirant, use a rock crystal, which is available at most health or natural food stores. Rock crystals naturally protect against bacteria and, therefore, neutralize odor from sweat. It is effective for up to 24 hours and the sticks last forever. You can also apply rock crystal sticks to any part of your body that tends to sweat a lot.
For more advice on how to sweatproof your clothes and keep yourself looking (and smelling) clean in the months ahead, read on.
Consider specially formulated products
If you sweat more than most people, consider products designed to combat this problem. These grooming products include sweat block pads, which are cloths that have been presoaked in industrial-strength antiperspirant. Once every seven days, apply these pads to your underarms to help prevent sweating. Alternately, or in case the sweat block pads don’t completely do the trick, get a hold of some underarm sweat pads. These have a sticky side that adheres to your skin, forming a physical barrier between your sweat and clothing.
Choose the right shoes
In attempting to sweatproof your clothes, don’t wear canvas shoes as these will make your feet sweat like crazy and your shoes smell like you live in a swamp. Instead, wear leather shoes or sandals if you can, as they breathe more and, therefore, decrease foot sweat and body odor. Once you’ve purchased appropriate footwear, you’ll also need to treat them properly. Consider slipping a moisture-absorbing insole into your shoes to further reduce bacteria and odor.
Try to rotate your shoes as well so that you’re not wearing the same pair everyday. Doing so gives your shoes a chance to air out, as long as you don’t bury them in the bottom of your gym bag or closet that is. Although you should avoid wearing the same shoes day after day, do change your socks daily to avoid contracting a fungal infection that thrives in moist, sweaty and bacteria-ridden conditions. Lastly, every now and again, give the inside of your shoes a quick spray with a shoe deodorizer or use an OTC foot powder to help absorb sweat.
Soak your clothes
If you sweat a lot during the day, learn how to wash your own shirts. Soak your dress shirt in extremely cold water as soon as you get home, and apply a stain remover to the armpits. One trick to really get stains out is to turn your shirt inside out and apply the stain remover to the inside of your shirt. This works better than applying a stain-removing product to the outside of your shirt because you’re trying to lift the stain out of the fabric, not rub it further into the fibers. Leave the product on for a few minutes and launder your shirt as soon as possible, or at least rinse it in ice cold water again. If your shirt is white, bleach it every now and again or, alternately, throw in a teaspoon of cream of tartar (available in the baking aisle at your grocery store) with your regular laundry detergent to help keep your whites white.
Wear moisture-wicking undershirts
Although it might sound crazy to be layering when it’s hot out, smart layering can actually help sweatproof your clothes and reduce the not-so-fun effects of sweating. Your best bet is to layer a sports undershirt underneath a T-shirt. When you have no option but to wear a dress shirt, choose a sports undershirt in a solid color that won’t be too noticeable. Sports clothes are specifically designed to wick moisture away from your body and they also dry off quickly so you’ll never feel like you’re soaking in sweat. As well, many sports shirts incorporate mesh, meaning that your skin will breathe better, and they’re often treated to be antimicrobial, so it’s harder for odor-forming bacteria to build up on your body.
Remove excess body hair
Think about it: Your antiperspirant needs to come in contact with your skin in order to effectively protect against body odor and control sweating. This is a problem when your armpit hair becomes exceedingly long and, as a consequence, acts as an obstacle between the product and your skin. Take control by maintaining your body hair. We’re not suggesting to join your wife at her next bikini wax appointment, but a little trimming goes a long way.
Choose natural-fiber clothing and wear light colors
On particularly hot days, go for fabrics like cotton, silk or linen instead of polyester or other synthetics and blended fabrics. Natural fibers allow your skin to breathe more, meaning you’ll sweat less. When the mercury really rises, even if you plan to wear cotton or linen, pick featherlight pieces and choose shirts that are slightly larger than the size you usually wear to encourage air circulation and sweat evaporation. When it comes to colors, white or pale pastels will deflect more of the sun’s rays, so you’ll feel the heat less in these softer shades.
Sweating is a natural process and it’s hard to stop this bodily function entirely. However, if it bothers you or you feel like perfectly decent clothes are being ruined because of it, implementing a few of these tips should go a long way to helping you keep your cool all summer long.