9 Underarm & Deodorant Stain Removal Tips

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Looking for ways to clean up those nasty yellow armpit stains that sweating can leave behind on shirts? Or are you trying to combat crusty residue from deodorant?

IngredientsHere are several different remedies you can try, each using basic items you likely have in your home already.

  • Sponge fabric with ammonia then rinse. If you’re working with garments that contain wool or silk, first dilute it with water (50/50 ratio).
  • Try spritzing the shirt’s armpit area with water then gently rubbing a bar of laundry soap into the spot.
  • Another remedy is to spray fabric with rubbing alcohol and allow to sit for a few hours before washing.
  • Here’s a simple trick: make a paste of laundry detergent and apply to area then leave overnight before laundering.
  • Easy Recipe: Spray with household vinegar to saturate the area then rub in a bit of Borax. Place item in a plastic bag and leave overnight.
  • Perspiration Marks: Mix a solution of water and vinegar (60/40) then sponge into area before tossing into the washing machine.
  • Another method you can try is to mix a solution of 1 quart warm water with 4 TBS table salt, soak garment.
  • For stubborn spots, stretch the shirt over a bowl, keeping the discolored area exposed in the middle of the bowl. Pour white household vinegar through the spot three times, then wash as usual. You could also try sponging hot vinegar into the spot and letting it sit for a few hours before laundering.
  • For White Shirts: Pour hydrogen peroxide over the area and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before tossing in the washing machine. Hydrogen peroxide can “bleach” colored fabrics, so try this on whites only.

Quick Tips:

  • Apply baking soda to your underarms after applying deodorant, this can help prevent staining from happening in the first place. Can’t be bothered? For less hassle, get into the habit of applying deodorant 5 minutes before putting on your shirt so it has time to completely dry first.
  • For best results, treat these as soon as possible…the longer they’re allowed to set, the harder it is to remove them.

Note: As always, treat a test area first with chosen method of removal then watch that no permanent damage is done to clothing.

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Published: September 7, 2009

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12 Comments to “9 Underarm & Deodorant Stain Removal Tips”
  1. ELlen Green says:

    Hi All,
    My husband’s t shirts all have very stiff areas in the armpits….He is a very heavy sweater, plus his work is very strenuous…It’s not the color, it’s the stiffness that I am trying to deal with…. I have tired Shout, helps some. Straight liquid laundry detergent, vinegar, baking soda. Does not help…. I wrote the Deodorant company thinking they might have a suggestion… I really feel that is the culprit as it makes my armpits feel like they are coated with something but of course they say it has nothing to do with their product. Anyd other ideas????? Thanks, I love your site….
    Ellen Green

  2. jenny says:

    mmaybe it’s too much salt in his system?

  3. Molly says:

    My husband has the same problem. Still looking for a solution to it.

  4. Char says:

    Ellen,

    My husband had the same problem. It was the deodorant itself! He used the gel that pushes up through the plastic holes. I tried everything to remedy the problem. Im sad to say nothing worked. We eventualy switched to a solid, and that helped.

  5. Tyler says:

    It is the buildup of Gillette GEL Antiperspirant – I called Gillette offered suggestions – things I had already tried. To date I have had the most luck with HAIR SPRAY. The Antiperspirant is waterproof which prevents regular washing from working. I worry about health issues with long-term use; if this difficult to remove from cloth do you think a man’s quick shower is getting it off his skin? I don’t.

  6. Patty says:

    I had yellow stiff underarm stains on my shirt for a long time. I stopped using dryer sheets and the underarm yellowing on some shirts, along with the stiffness, is almost completely gone.

    Since I stopped using dryer sheets the yellowing no longer shows up on any new shirts. All of my husband’s newer t-shirts are completely white under the arms.

    For me it had nothing at all to do with the deodorant – it was the dryer sheets.

  7. olivia says:

    I have this problem with t-shirts and blouses and i’m willing to try anything to solve this problem

  8. Roberta Chepeka says:

    How about stains from sunscreen? Any solutions for those? I’ll try some of the above and see if they work.

  9. Andrea says:

    A quick and easy way to get rid of deodorant marks on clothing: rub it with panty hose. It will ditch the white marks in a second. :)

  10. Kathleen says:

    In addition, use antiperspirant WITHOUT aluminum. It reacts with the salts in sweat to cause yellowing in white fabric. It’s also not so great for the body. Organic deodorant lines don’t contain aluminum and many brands are coming out with aluminum free options.

  11. Jean says:

    I left my T-Shirts in pure vinegar for 36 hours. That was really extreme, but the deodorant just came out of the fabrics as a white paste, i rubbed it in the vinegar and it dissolved. Washed it, no more spot ;)

    I still have a orange T-Shirt which have dark spots on the underarms, which did not disappeared. I should try something else for this one…

  12. Leeny says:

    My husband’s shirts provided me with the exact same problem. Things have improved significantly since he’s stopped using a gel or spray and switched to a solid. Also, I’ve convinced him to let the deodorant dry under his arms *before* he puts his shirt on in the morning so less transfers to the shirt.

    When I wash his shirts, every 2nd wash or as needed, I spray the underarm area with warm water and rub it down Fels Naptha bar soap, and plenty of it, and use the inside of a wet sock or towel (saved for cleaning) to really work it in. Then I let it sit for 5-10 minutes and wash as normal for the garment, but with a little extra Borax or Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. It may take a couple of cycles to loosen a really stiff shirt, but I’ve only had 1 I couldn’t fix. Hope this helps!


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