The 27 Best Ways How to Prevent & Remove Sweat Stains on Shirts

March 05, 2021 12 min read

how to get rid of armpit stains on shirts

Armpit stains – heck, any sweat stains – are embarrassing, frustrating and costly. Consider the time spent treating sweat stains and the money wasted on new shirts, cleaning products, and laundering fees. All that adds up to one big headache. But don’t fret! We’ve got you covered. 

The most common pit stains are yellow, but they can also be grey, white, or black depending on your shirt's color and fabric. While there are plenty of detergents that can help remove armpit stains, sometimes you don’t have one handy – or you need something stronger.

But that doesn't mean you always need stronger chemicals. Some of the best ways how to remove sweat stains can be made using ingredients you probably already have at home. 

We've pulled together this ultimate list of ways how to remove sweat stains, and have a section on how you can prevent sweat stains too. Read on to finally find a solution to this embarrassing, costly issue.

Ejis sweat proof undershirts

What Causes Pit Stains?

As the famous idiom goes “know thy enemy.” Before you try getting rid of armpit stains, it is important for you to understand how they happen in the first place. While the reasons may vary, oftentimes pit stains occur for a singular reason: a chemical reaction. 

When your sweat glands activate, they produce a watery substance that contains several different elements, including protein. These proteins produced by sweat often react with the chemicals in an antiperspirant, like aluminum. This reaction results in the yellow-like pit stains on the clothes you’re wearing.

So what causes armpit stains or underarm stains?

  1. Aluminum – The most common reason for yellow pit stains is a chemical reaction between your sweat and antiperspirant. Specifically, when the aluminum in antiperspirant interacts with the proteins from your sweat. The two elements mix and rub against the fabric of your shirt causing a yellow stain.
  2. Stress – Stress (and anxiety) can take its toll on your life in ways you may not have ever imagined. Stress sweat is different than normal sweat caused by heat or exertion. Its composition is even different, which can cause armpit stains (and an offensive odor).
  3. Poor Clothing Care– When considering what causes yellow underarm stains on your clothes, take an honest look at the way you launder your clothes. Even if you diligently wash dirty clothes each week, it may not be enough.
  4. Sunshine – While sunshine is not harmful by itself, it may present a problem if the remnants of detergent on your clothes react with sunshine while hanging dry outside. Sometimes clothing is not properly rinsed or there is residue after washing.

Now that you know what causes underarm stains, let's dive into the many ways you can prevent and remove pit stains.

1. Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide

What You Need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Water

Cleaning armpit stains with baking soda is one of the most popular ways on how to get sweat stains out of shirts. Combine the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water in equal measures until fully mixed. (One-quarter cup of each is usually enough for one shirt.) Rub the paste into the armpit stains and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes (longer for stubborn or previously washed stains). Use an old toothbrush to loosen the mixture off of the fabric, then wash the shirt as usual. 

2. Baking Soda & Water

What you will need:

  • 4 T Baking soda
  • ¼ cup of water
  • Clean brush

Baking soda not only helps cakes rise, but it comes in handy when you need to figure out how to get yellow stains out of white shirts. To use this method, mix four tablespoons of baking soda into a quarter cup of water to create a solution. Apply the solution to the stains and scrub the solution into the fabric. Let the mixture to soak into the stain for about 60 minutes, and then hand wash the shirt in cold water. If the stain does not come out completely, repeat the process one more time.

3. Dish Soap & Hydrogen Peroxide

What You Need:

  • Dish Soap
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Soft bristle brush (like an old toothbrush)

For another option to get armpit stains out of shirts, combine the dish soap and hydrogen peroxide in equal measures until fully mixed. Spread the gel onto the stains and allow to sit for at least an hour. If the stains are stubborn, after one hour pour on some baking soda and use a soft bristle brush to scrub the stains, then wash the shirt as usual.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide & Water

What you will need:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Water

Hydrogen peroxide is really good for removing yellow stains from white shirts. To use, simply mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a container large enough for a shirt. Soak the shirt in the solution for 30-40 minutes. When done, wash in cold water. Repeat the process if necessary.

Please note: This method is only safe for white shirts as the peroxide tends to have a discoloring effect on colored clothes. 

5. Aspirin

What You’ll Need:

  • Aspirin pills
  • Warm Water

Pit stains can be a real headache to remove, but you won’t even need an extra pill while using this pit stain remover. Crush up two aspirin and mix them with ½ cup of water for each shirt you want to treat. Apply the water to the stained area on your clothing and let soak for at least an hour. Then throw the shirt in the wash.

6. Denture Tablets

What you will need:

  • Four denture tablets
  • One bucket of water

Denture tablets are great for getting the stains out of false teeth… and equally as effective in treating the yellow stains on shirts. Simply dissolve four denture tablets in a bucket of water, place your stained shirt(s) in the solution and allow it to soak overnight (or for at least eight hours). Take the shirt out of the bucket and wash it as you normally would. 

How to Remove Sweat Stains - Man Doing Laundry

7. OxiClean

What you will need:

  • One scoop of OxiClean
  • A bowl of warm water

Homemade remedies are great but sometimes those yellow stains can be so rough that you need to call in the cavalry to help. Enter OxiClean, a miracle cleaner that is known to get rid of yellow stains without fail. Simply take one scoop of OxiClean and mix in a bowl of warm water. Submerge your stained white shirt in the mix for 60 minutes, then rinse the shirt out and wash it as you usually would.

8. Raise Armpit Stain Remover

What you will need:

  • Raise Armpit Stain Remover
  • Old (but clean) toothbrush

The professionals who make Raise know how to remove yellow armpit stains from white shirts. To treat the stain, lay your shirt on a towel and apply a liberal amount of Raise to the armpit stain. Use the toothbrush to scrub the stained area for a bit, and then allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Once done, you can launder the shirt as usual.

9. Vinegar

What You’ll Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Water

Head to the pantry for this one! To treat one shirt, mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar with one cup of water; increase for each shirt you plan to treat. Apply the liquid to the stains, and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Wash shirt on a cold water setting. (Not safe for use on Ejis sweat proof products.)

10. Vinegar & Salt

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of salt

As mentioned before, white vinegar is a great tool for removing yellow stains from white shirts. However, one thing that can make it even better for removing stains is salt. The abrasive nature of salt makes it a perfect tool for eliminating a stubborn stain from clothing. To use this solution, combine equal parts of white vinegar and salt in a bucket and then soak the stained white shirt in it for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, take out the shirt and wash it as you usually would. (Not safe for use on Ejis sweat proof products.)

How to Remove Sweat Stains - Salt

11. Vinegar, Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, Salt & Water

What You’ll Need:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Salt
  • Water

This concoction can teach us a thing or two about how to remove sweat stains! In a bowl, pour 2 cups of warm water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Place your shirt in the solution, making sure stains are completely covered and leave for 20-30 minutes.

In a separate small bowl, combine a ½ cup of baking soda and 1 tablespoon each of hydrogen peroxide and salt. Mix the ingredients until a paste forms. Wring out your shirt and apply the paste to stains. Then let sit for around 20 minutes. Once the paste has set, wash as normal with other white clothing. (Not safe for use on Ejis sweat proof products.)

12. Lemons

 What You’ll Need:

  • Lemons
  • Water

If pit stains are one of life’s lemons, use real lemons to make a lemonade-like solution. Juice lemons to create a solution of equal parts of lemon and water. Apply the liquid to the stains, rub in the stains using your fingers, and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Then wash the shirt as usual.

13. Vodka

What You’ll Need:

  • Vodka
  • Water

Instead of drowning your sorrows, use vodka for pit stain removal. Skip your top-shelf vodka and opt for a lower quality one – it won’t impact the results. Mix equal parts of vodka and water, then soak the stains in the solution. After 20-30 minutes, wash the shirt as usual.

14. Salt

What You’ll Need:

  • Salt
  • Water

This is one of the easiest solutions for getting rid of pit stains on this whole list – so it’s a good one to try first. Mix four tablespoons of salt into 4 ¼ cups of water for each shirt you want to treat. Soak the stains in the salt solution for up to an hour, then wash as usual.

15. Meat Tenderizer

What You’ll Need:

  • Meat Tenderizer Powder
  • Water

It may seem unorthodox, but meat tenderizer can help remove pit stains. Wet the stained area using plain water, then sprinkle it with meat tenderizer. Let sit for a few minutes before washing as usual.

16. Three-Step Process: Laundry Detergent, Vinegar & Baking Soda

What You’ll Need:

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda

First, take your stained dark clothing and rub liquid laundry detergent into the problem area, allow this to sit for 30 minutes before washing as normal. Second, mix half a cup of water with one tablespoon of vinegar and apply the solution to the sweat stain with a sponge. This helps to restore color as well as removing the stain and any sweaty smells.

Finally, mix water into baking soda until a paste forms. Spread this over sweat stains and leave for 20 minutes. You can then wash the dark garment as you would normally. (Not safe for use on Ejis sweat proof products.)

How to Remove Sweat Stains - Five-Step Process

17. Five-Step Process: Lemon Juice, Salt, Enzyme Pre-Wash & Vinegar

What You’ll Need:

  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt
  • Enzyme Pre-Wash Stain Remover
  • White Vinegar
  • Toothbrush

Follow these five easy steps to eliminate white sweat marks. First, combine one tablespoon each of lemon juice and salt in a small mixing bowl until they form a thin paste. Second, use an old (but clean) toothbrush to scrub the mixture into the white stain. Let sit for 15 minutes. Third, rinse the piece of clothing with cold water. This will wash away the lemon and salt concoction lifting the white stain with it.

Next, can the dark item for any stain remnants and cover them with an enzyme prewash stain remover. Rub this deep into the fabric and leave for 15 minutes. The fifth and final step is to add one cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle along with your normal laundry detergent. This final ingredient brightens dark clothing to recolor the areas where the white armpit stains were eradicated. (Not safe for use on Ejis sweat proof products.)

10 Ways to Prevent Armpit Sweat on Shirts

If you're over having to deal with armpit stains in the first place, here are ways to prevent armpit stains on shirts. Then you won't need any of those ways to remove armpit stains in the first place!

1. Shave Your Armpits

When you have hairy armpits, the sweat collects in the hair fibers and mixes with bacteria on your skin to cause even worse pit stains. One way to eliminate this reaction is to shave your armpits. While you don’t have to shave your pits daily, managing your armpit hair is an effective measure on how to stop pit stains.

How to Prevent Armpit Stains

2. Use Deodorant as Directed

Many men overuse their deodorant because they think it will keep them smelling fresh for longer periods. However, there is no evidence that this actually works. In fact, overusing deodorant is one of the most common ways pit stains occur. To save your shirts from stains, use your deodorant as directed. Apply one layer, and make sure it dries completely before getting dressed. This process ensures the active chemicals are fully absorbed into your body and won’t mix with your sweat.

3. Properly Apply Antiperspirant 

If you use antiperspirant instead of deodorant, this one's for you. In order for antiperspirant to effectively block your sweat glands, proper application is key. For best results, apply the antiperspirant on clean and dry skin before you go to bed. This allows the formula to kick into action before you start sweating. There’s no need to reapply in the morning as most clinical antiperspirants last for a minimum of 24 hours. You may also want to shave or trim your armpit hair so the product makes direct contact with your skin.

4. Use Antiperspirant at Night

If you sweat a lot, you’ve most likely tried antiperspirant for tackling sweat. But did you know that it should be applied at night for the best results? First of all, check that the product is actually antiperspirant and not deodorant, which focuses on odor rather than stopping the sweat itself.

The key with antiperspirant is to apply it at night before bed, on clean and dry skin. This gives the ingredients time to kick in during the night, providing you with maximum protection during the day. 

5. Try Clinical Strength Antiperspirant

If you find that underarm sweat is becoming unmanageable, you may find that your drug store antiperspirant is no longer effective. In this case, visit your doctor to discuss wearing a clinical strength antiperspirant. These antiperspirants are specifically developed to keep even the most active sweat glands from creating embarrassing situations.

6. Wear Clothing Made from Breathable Fabrics

Another technique for how to stop sweat stains is to wear clothing made from natural and breathable fabrics, like linen and cotton. The advantage of breathable fabrics is that they, predictably, allow your skin to breathe by allowing air to flow through easily. This also helps sweat evaporate while keeping you cool and fresh. Linen and cotton are not the only options. Other synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester are also good choices. They are light-weight and quick-drying, though they tend to retain odors.

Ejis sweat proof undershirt

7. Wear Sweat Proof Undershirts

There are many methods you can employ to reduce your sweat from wreaking havoc on your clothes. Yet one of the best ways to prevent sweat stains on dress shirts is to protect them by wearing a sweat proof undershirt. Ejis micro modal sweat proof undershirts are designed to keep your dress shirts dry with a highly effective sweat proof layer sewn into the armpits of the shirt. They are also infused with silver to help fight odor-causing bacteria and maintain your body’s temperature. Buy an Ejis sweat proof undershirt on our shop or on Amazon.

8. Launder Clothes Immediately After Wearing

After a particularly hectic, hot day, or rigorous workout, make sure to wash your sweaty clothes immediately. Sweat that’s left on your shirts tends to settle into the fabric, making it that much more difficult to get them out later. If your everyday laundering doesn’t get out the sweat marks or stains, there are many other ways to get rid of armpit stains on your shirts, many of which use common household products.

9. Manage Situational Sweating

If you are a person who experiences situational sweating caused by hot weather or anxiety, find ways to cool down your body and calm your nerves. Try using a personal desk fan and making sure you stay hydrated. If you suffer from anxiety or stress-sweating, practice ways to calm your nerves like deep breathing or meditation. Regulating your body temperature (and your mindset) can keep you from stress sweating.

10. Keep Track of What Works (and What Doesn’t)

Keeping a journal is a great way to start taking back control of your body. Each day, record your wardrobe, activities, emotional state, and food/beverage consumption. After a while, your entries may reveal sweat trigger patterns you have not yet considered. You may notice that you sweat more or less at a particular time of day, in periods of rest, or even after drinking a certain beverage. Writing in a daily journal gives you clues about solutions for your sweat triggers and the best ways to avoid them.

Don’t want to deal with armpit stains anymore?

We’ve just discussed how to clean armpit stains and most of our suggestions are super easy! But wouldn’t it be nice to not worry about them at all? If you’re done mixing, soaking, and scrubbing to get rid of the pit stains on your shirts, check out our collection of sweat proof undershirts (buy in our shop or on Amazon).

Whether you prefer a crew neck or v-neck, cotton or micro modal, our undershirts put a protective layer between you and your shirts. With an Ejis sweat proof undershirt, you won’t have to worry about how to get armpit stains out of shirts again.

(Note: Do not use bleach or vinegar on Ejis sweat proof products. Some of these armpit stain removers may not be suitable for bright or dark colored shirts. When in doubt, test a small area in an inconspicuous place.)

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