It’s time for that long-awaited job interview or night out on the town with some friends. You pull your favorite dress shirt or top out of the closet and discover an unsettling sight: remnants of deodorant left behind on the armpit area of your most treasured garb.
There’s no way you can leave the house dressed in a shirt with crude yellowish sweat stains underneath your arms. How can you get rid of these deodorant stains in a quick and effective manner?
Some deodorant stains are more troublesome than others. You can find that there are yellow stains in the armpits of your tops that come from a mixture of the salt in your sweat with the aluminum in your deodorant, according to Unilever. Aluminum salts are commonly used in antiperspirant deodorant because it clogs up pores, preventing sweat from generating.
On the other hand, when dressed in a black shirt, there’s also the issue of fresh residue from white deodorant unexpectedly showing up to cramp your style.
How to Prevent Those Stains
The best way to remove these types of stains is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Certain steps can be taken to prevent pit stains from infiltrating your favorite clothing:
Allow your deodorant to dry before you get dressed. Use a hairdryer to speed up the process if you’re in a rush.
- Don’t overdo it. Applying too much deodorant can lead to unwanted stains.
- Change your deodorant! Use an all-natural deodorant that doesn’t include aluminum or other synthetic ingredients. In one Reddit thread about removing deodorant stains, several commenters claimed that using aluminum-free brands solved the stain problem altogether! Additionally, you can also use a clear gel or aerosol spray instead of solid white products.
- Depending on your ethnic background, you might not need deodorant. Consult a physician to see if you have the ABCC11 gene.
But let’s face it… Sometimes those white marks or yellow stains just can’t be avoided, spoiling our favorite shirts and giving them an unhygienic appearance. Thankfully, there are a number of easy ways to remove deodorant stains from your attire using everyday household items.
How to Remove Deodorant Stains From Clothes
Approach 1: Put a Sock On It (Or Nylon, Baby Wipes, etc)
If you find that your deodorant has left a stain under the pit area of your work clothes, there’s an assortment of household items that can be used to quickly remove fresh deodorant marks.
It might sound like an unconventional method, but a clean sock or nylon stockings can actually handle these white marks all on their own. Other potential items you can use include dry towels, make-up remover, wet wipes, foam, and even fabric softener or dryer sheets.
Use your item of choice and firmly rub the stained area in a circular motion. After that, if you have time, throw it in the laundry with some detergent and wash the shirt. Keep in mind that this method will only really work on colored garments with fresh deodorant marks. The more ruthless yellow stains will likely require a more powerful solution.
Approach 2: Soak in Vinegar
White vinegar is an excellent solution for removing pesky deodorant stains from both white and colorful clothing. Start by mixing four cups of warm water with one cup of white vinegar. Apply the solution to the affected area and use your knuckles to rub it into the garment.
If that fails to do the trick, you might benefit from soaking the clothing in a bucket or container of the vinegar solution. Let your shirt sit in the vinegar and water mixture for about an hour. Then use a cloth or old toothbrush to scrub the stain away. Finally, throw it into the washing machine and wash it with hot water.
Approach 3: Use a Bit of Baking Soda
Another home remedy that’ll get you reaching into your kitchen cabinets is baking soda and water. Mix three parts baking soda with one part water to create a paste, then rub it onto the stain. Let that sit for a couple of hours and wash it out with a hot water cycle.
This method is especially useful when pit stains have gotten old and dry. Make sure to test whatever method you choose on an inconspicuous part of your clothes to ensure it won’t ruin the material. Before throwing the baking soda-caked clothing into the washing machine, you can also add a bit of white vinegar to the affected area to bolster the removal process.
Approach 4: Prescribe Aspirin to the Deodorant Stain
Finding a nasty blemish under the armpit area of your favorite shirt can be a real headache. In this case, you can use some aspirin to treat the symptoms of your deodorant stain. That’s right! The popular pain and headache reliever sitting in your medicine cabinet can also be employed to restore your clothing to pristine condition.
First, crush up about four aspirin tables and mix the finely ground medication with a small amount of water. Similar to the baking soda approach, apply the paste-like mixture to the stain and throw the shirt into the wash. This method is best suited for white shirts, as the crushed up aspirin could cause damage to more colorful clothes.
Approach 5: When Life Gives You Lemons
Water and lemon juice can also be an effective way to remove old underarm stains from white t-shirts. This citrus fruit contains high levels of acidity that make it a surprisingly suitable stain remover.
Take a fresh lemon, cut it in half and squeeze out the juice directly onto the stained area. Top it off by adding a hefty pinch of table salt and start rubbing the mixture into the shirt until the discolored area vanishes.
Next, you’ll want to leave the shirt out in the sun for about an hour, which will help bleach and brighten your clothing. Finally, rinse the area and throw it into the laundry with some detergent to get your white garments looking as good as new.
Approach 6: Add a Pinch of Salt
If you don’t have any lemons on hand, you can also eliminate yellow underarm stains from your white T-shirt with a simple seasoning that everyone has in their kitchen: salt. Boil a quart of water and dissolve four tablespoons of salt in it. Take a sponge or cloth and dab it into the salty solution, rub the stained area until it’s uprooted from your clothing. Compared to the lemon-based approach, you may need to scrub with a bit more determination when using salt, but it should still do the trick.
Approach 7: Mix Dish Soap and Hydrogen Peroxide
Capable of removing tough stains caused by deodorant, red wine, and oil, you can mix together dish soap and hydrogen peroxide to combat blotches on your clothes. Mix about three tablespoons of dish soap with six tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, dip a used toothbrush or scrub brush into the solution, and start to scrub the area where the build-up is located.
After a couple of minutes of scouring the stain, the grime should be gone. Leave the shirt out for an hour and throw it into the washing machine to clean.
Approach 8: Sprinkle Some Meat Tenderizer Powder
OK, this one might sound a bit out of left field — but we bet it has piqued your interest. Removing deodorant stains with meat tenderizer powder? How is that supposed to work?
This powder is made of a natural enzyme that is typically derived from papain (from papaya) or bromelain (from pineapple). Not only can these enzymes break down the fibers in meat, it can also break down deodorant stains!
Soak the stained area with warm water and sprinkle a small amount of meat tenderizer on the wet area. Use your fingers to rub the powder into the clothing and wait an hour for it to set. Throw the shirt into the wash and enjoy a fresh and tender t-shirt that is stain-free.
An Alternative Option: Deodorant Stain Removal Products
If these DIY approaches don’t do the trick, there are numerous products you can buy to help cleanse your stained fabrics.
Hollywood Fashion Secrets sells a deodorant stain remover sponge online for $6. Fashion First Aid has its own version, too, shaped like a little, black donut, as does Spa Sisters, which looks more like a bar of soap.
The stain removal process is a bit more involved with this product, though. You have to wet the remover stick, rub the affected area, then wash it away by either wiping the treated area with a wet cloth or laundering the item.
Nevertheless, if you want a quick, affordable and natural way to remove blemishes from your clothing, there are many ways to incorporate household goods into the cleaning process. While preventive action is the best way to fight off stains, these natural methods provide a good backup plan when uninvited deodorant stains decide to stick around.
Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.
From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.