Did deodorant stains ruin your favorite shirt? Use our tips to learn how to get deodorant stains out of clothes and prevent new ones from forming.
If you're tired of ruining your shirts with deodorant stains, you're not alone. This common annoyance results from the combination of the salt and other minerals in human sweat reacting with the aluminum in many antiperspirants.
Yellow stains are usually caused by sweat reacting with the chemicals in deodorant. White stains are generally residue and buildup from deodorant.
Depending on your personal biology and the type of deodorant or antiperspirant, you may be more or less likely to experience unwanted stains. However, you don't have to live with the results of this chemical clash.
One of the best ways to avoid deodorant stains is to choose a deodorant that doesn't leave white marks. But, if you notice stains on your shirts, learn how to remove deodorant stains with our top solutions.
Getting deodorant stains out of shirts and other clothing requires different methods depending on the color of the clothes, the material, the color of the stain, and more. Before you try any of these cleaning solutions, be aware that different methods will have varying effects on your clothing. Proceed with caution, and carefully read the care instructions on your clothes before you get started.
Instead, give these home remedies a go to remove deodorant stains. Try the tips at the beginning of the list first before moving to the later ones if you need a stronger stain-fighting remedy.
“Whatever you do, avoid using bleach on deodorant stains, even on a white shirt...If you use bleach, colored fabrics may develop permanent stains, and can cause delicate fabrics to tear when exposed to this chemical.”
This easy solution works best for those fresh white deodorant stains, such as on black clothing, that you notice just as you’re walking out the door. To get rid of them, take a clean part of the inside of your shirt and rub it against the deodorant stain. This solution sounds too simple to be true, but it works for many fabrics. Try both an up-and-down motion and a circular motion. After rubbing the deodorant stain, wash the garment as you normally would with a gentle detergent.
While your first instinct may be to soak the stain in hot water, heat may actually cause the discoloration to become permanent. Instead, start with cool water to rinse the stain. Then, use one of the methods below to treat the stain before washing it in the machine with hot water.
Basic detergent should be your next line of defense against deodorant stains. Use your regular detergent and wash the garment on warm. If the stain remains, pre-treat the fabric with a spot stain remover before running it through the washer again. Turn the shirt inside out and apply the solution directly to the stained area.
Makeup wipes and baby wipes are designed to be gentle on your skin, so they tend to be gentle on fabrics as well. Carefully rub the stain using a wipe. You can also use this step to pre-treat your shirt before putting it in the washing machine. Don't have wipes handy? Some cleaning experts recommend using a dryer sheet, a sock, or a pair of nylon pantyhose. Head to the laundry room and get creative.
Make a solution with one part vodka and one part warm water in a spray bottle. Spray it on the stain, and then machine-wash the garment. If you don't have vodka, give this tip a try with rubbing alcohol.
Fill a container with a quart of hot water and add four tablespoons of salt. Apply the mixture to the stained fabric with a sponge, then machine wash the shirt with hot water.
Soak the stained portion of your shirt in white vinegar for at least 60 minutes. Next, use a clean toothbrush or textured cloth to brush the stain. If the stained garment is delicate, use one part vinegar and one part water instead of pure vinegar. After soaking, wash the item as you normally would—by either hand-washing or putting the garment in the washing machine.
“Soak the stained portion of your shirt in white vinegar for at least 60 minutes. Next, use a clean toothbrush or textured cloth to brush the stain.”
Make a solution of one part lemon juice and one part water and apply it to the stain. Let the shirt sit in the sun for 60 minutes, rinse the diluted lemon juice out, and wash it as you normally would.
Make a solution from a quart of lukewarm water, one tablespoon of ammonia, and a small squirt of liquid dish detergent. Soak your stained shirt in this mixture, then rinse completely before washing as usual. You can scrub the stain to loosen it before soaking if desired.
A cleaning sponge works wonders for all types of stains, including deodorant marks. Get the sponge wet, then wring it out until damp. Rub the stain in an up-and-down motion.
The following tips should only be used on white shirts (and light-colored clothing in some instances). Make sure to read the labels on your clothing carefully before attempting these methods so that you don’t end up damaging your shirts further.
Combine two parts of hydrogen peroxide with one part dish soap and use the solution to treat the stain. Let it sit for an hour after a gentle scrub. Machine wash as usual. Avoid this method for colored shirts since peroxide will bleach the material. You can also try a solution of hydrogen peroxide diluted with an equal amount of water.
Make a paste from a few tablespoons of water and a few crushed tablets of uncoated aspirin. Use a clean toothbrush to apply this paste to the stain, leaving it on overnight before throwing it in the washing machine as you normally would. Please note that this method is best for white or lighter colored clothing as it can damage darker colored clothing.
This method is only for white shirts since it can further damage colored shirts. Combine three parts baking soda with one part water until a thick paste forms. Turn the shirt inside out, then apply the paste to the stained area and let sit for at least an hour before washing in your washing machine with hot water.
Avoid bleach. Whatever you do, avoid using bleach on deodorant stains, even on a white shirt, since it tends to make the stain worse. If you use bleach, colored fabrics may develop permanent stains, and can cause delicate fabrics to tear when exposed to this chemical.
Avoid using hot water. Hot water might just cause the stain to permanently reside in your clothing. Instead, do an initial rinse with cold water before washing.
Avoid further damaging your clothes with acid. While acid is a go-to method for getting rid of deodorant stains, using too much or leaving it on for too long can damage your clothing, especially if the clothes are delicate or particularly colorful.