Beat Armpit Sweat: Ultimate List To Help Get Stains Out!

The sweat stains dilemma: How to get rid of those embarrassing patches that not only look nasty…they smell funky too! There’s no gender or age predisposition as both men and women contend with them from teenage all the way up to golden years. They typically appear an unpleasant yellow, but can also show up white, dark, black and gray–it all depends on the shirt color and fiber content.

Stain Remover Supplies Ingredients If this is a regular occurrence you’re dealing with, the first thing to try is switching deodorants or antiperspirants. The culprit is likely that your body’s perspiration is reacting to the aluminum ingredient in the product being worn. Look for a natural/organic brand or try something homemade (you’ll find recipes on this page: DIY Deodorants).

Now it’s time to make those nasty blotches disappear! Below I’ve listed lots of effective remedies you can test, each using basic items likely found in the home already. These help tackle crusty deodorant residues as well.

For best results, treat pieces as soon as possible…the longer perspiration is allowed to take hold, the harder it is to get rid of the awful patch.

Quick Tip: To prevent them from stubbornly setting in, keep a spray bottle handy containing 12 ounces of cold water and 4 TBS vinegar. Shake then spray affected fabric and once fully dried, toss into hamper for later washing (check for color fastness).

How To Remove Yellow Armpit Stains & Deodorant Residue

Careful: As always, test a section first then watch that no permanent damage is done to fibers or dye before proceeding with chosen method.

Quick Notes:

  • Leave delicate dry clean only garments to the pros. Give them a heads up when bringing the clothes in so they can pre-treat before processing.
  • Who knew? Washing with chlorine bleach can actually worsen the problem on some fabrics (typically those containing spandex, wool and silk) since the chlorine reacts to the sweat. Results: the blotches look darker. Not what we’re looking for!

General Steps:

  • Dampen the affected shirt with a wet sponge before applying remedy.
  • Work in preferred spot treatment with a sponge, brush (toothbrush is ideal) or fingers using some pressure but with care to avoid damaging fibers.
  • If a time amount is provided, that’s the minimum soaking period suggested. Otherwise it’s ready to wash immediately.
  • Rinse garment thoroughly prior to laundering as usual unless directed otherwise.
  • For extra caution, hang the item to air dry to make sure all traces of yellowing or residue have been removed. Re-treat if there’s still some discoloration remaining. Once desired results have been achieved, you can allow the garment to go in the dryer with a regular laundering routine.


  • Household Ammonia. If fiber content contains wool or silk, first dilute w/water (50/50 ratio).
  • Laundry Soap Bar (ie. Sunlight; Fels Naptha): Vigorously rub into the spot.
  • Rubbing Alcohol: 3 hrs.
  • Laundry Detergent: (Powdered) Make a paste w/water, apply. (Liquid) Smear undiluted across area. Overnight for both varieties.
  • Dishwasher Detergent: (Powdered) Same process as above. If using a pod, dissolve in a bucket of water first then soak overnight. Careful with color fastness.
  • Liquid Dish Soap & Baking Soda: Combine equal parts. 1 hour.
  • Liquid Dish Soap & Hydrogen Peroxide: Combine 50/50. One hour.
  • Vinegar & Borax: Spray w/vinegar to saturate the material then sprinkle Borax over top and work in. Wrap garment in a plastic bag. Overnight.
  • Vinegar: Make a solution of water and vinegar (60/40) then sponge into area.
  • Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide: Make paste, 50/50 ratio. One hr.
  • Baking Soda: Mix 50/50 w/water. One hour.
  • Table Salt: Dissolve 4 TBS in 1 quart warm water. Soak garment overnight. For extra cleaning power, add 4 TBS vinegar.
  • Aspirin (uncoated): Crust two tablets and make a paste w/warm water. 60 mins.
  • Denture Tablets: Fill half sink or dish tub then add 4 denture tablets. Soak 12 hrs.
  • Lemon: Take a cut half of a lemon, squeeze juice into the affected patch and then use the cut half of lemon to gently scrub the area. Can also douse with salt solution for extra power. 30 minutes.
  • Vodka: 50/50 vodka & water mixture to saturate fabric. 30 minutes.
  • Meat Tenderizer: Spray the pit area to dampen then drizzle Meat Tenderizer generously over top. 15 minutes.
  • For very stubborn spots, stretch the shirt over a bowl, keeping the discolored textile exposed in the middle of the bowl. Pour white vinegar through the patch three times, then wash as usual. You could also try sponging it (hot) into the spot and letting it sit for a few hours before laundering.
  • For White Shirts: Pour hydrogen peroxide over the blotch and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before tossing in the machine. Full strength hydrogen peroxide can “bleach” colored fabrics, so perform this on whites only.

Desperate, firmly set pit stains that just won’t budge no matter what you do? Soak in a warm dish tub with OxiClean (just a scoop will do the trick). Leave alone for the night. It should be cleared up but if there’s still some discoloration, apply the laundry detergent paste mentioned above, leave it overnight then check in the morning.

Quick Tips For Preventing Odor & Stains From Developing

  • Try reducing the amount of deodorant used (just one swipe). The results just might surprise you. Get into the habit of applying it 5 minutes before dressing so it has time to completely dry.
  • Once dried dust baking soda or Gold Bond onto skin–this single step can help prevent calamity from happening in the first place.
  • Wearing a cotton undershirt, camisole or sweat-proof undershirt will provide a layer of protection. Also look for sweat block pads or antiperspirant stickers, these are thin enough to not be noticeable when applied to fabric.
  • Going hairless is ideal since this reduces moisture buildup (and no hair to cling to), but if naked armpits aren’t your aesthetic: try trimming hairs shorter.
  • Fashion Choices: Loose fitting garments made of natural fibers and in black or navy colors do the best job of avoiding & hiding this kind of yellow stain.
  • If discoloration isn’t the problem but lingering smell is (even after clothes are cleaned), try smearing a bit of Dawn Original dish detergent into the pit area of the shirt, set for at least an hour prior to tossing in the wash.
  • If body odor is persistent, attempt to strip all soap and detergent residue (as this can trap odors) from your clothes by washing (hot setting) with a cup of household vinegar tossed in (no other products added). Dry as usual.

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    • ELlen Green

    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

      • A.

      Try Grease Lightning. Also great for removing grass stains. Pretty much any stain.

    • jenny

    mmaybe it’s too much salt in his system?

    • Molly

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

    • Char


    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.

    • Tyler

    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.

    • Patty

    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.

    • olivia

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

    • Roberta Chepeka

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

    • Andrea

    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. 🙂

    • Kathleen

    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.

    • Jean

    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…

      • Tammy

      Were they white T-shirts or did you have colors to?

    • Leeny

    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!

    • L8Bloomer

    wow, some of you are really putting in some solid elbow grease. Quick solution is using less of the Gel deodorant/antiperspirant and use baby powder after applying. wear looser t-shirts.

    • Vicky

    My white jersey pullover has yellow streaks on it. I never used bleach only washing detergent and Vanish liquid. What could have caused this?

    • Gillian

    i have found a barely damp White magic foam block removes deodorant – followed by a gentle rub with damp non-lint cloth to remove any residue.

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