There’s nothing worse than spotting a streak of deodorant on the side of your shirt when you arrive to work. Or, when getting undressed at the end of the day, to find a stain in the underarms of your shirt. Either way, trying to remove deodorant stains from shirts – whether they're light, colored, or black –, can be tricky.
Nobody likes to throw on a favorite shirt only to find deodorant stains ruining the whole look. Learning how to get deodorant stains out of shirts would prevent this entire problem. There is no need to stress over long DIY recipes that take more time than they are worth. Thankfully, there are many easy solutions to this common issue. Keep reading to find out how you can best deal with deodorant stains in your own home. We've even included a couple of ways you can avoid getting deodorant or sweat stains to begin with.
In this guide, you'll learn what causes deodorant stains, plus 13 ways to get deodorant stains out of shirts – white, black, or any other color.
This post was originally published in November 2019, and was updated in February 2021.
Deodorant stains can be caused by a variety of reasons. One possible cause is that you wear too much deodorant or antiperspirant. Excess deodorant is not absorbed by the body and will simply go onto your shirt in white, cakey marks.
Another reason is that you might sweat excessively. When sweat mixes with deodorant, it creates a chemical reaction that results in a yellowish stain on your shirt. Both these stains accumulate easily and can become unsightly - and even embarrassing - when you need to remove your suit jacket or raise your arm in mixed company.
Because the deodorant stains are difficult to remove, consider the fabric type and color. Then choose a stain remover that is safe for your specific clothing item. Stain removal products that are safe for white or light clothing may not be effective – or may even cause further damage – on dark or black clothes. When using a commercial product, be sure to read the label first.
Okay, let's get to it: what you really want to know is how to get deodorant stains out of your shirts, whether they're black, white, or some other color. Here are 13 ways to remove deodorant stains from shirts, many of which use household products you may already have (or are affordable to purchase).
It may sound unorthodox but using nylon stockings to get deodorant stains out of dark or black shirts actually works. Simply take a clean nylon stocking and rub it on the stained area of the shirt. (You can even use a dry towel or clean socks to achieve the same result). Once you are done, hand wash or machine wash your clothing, as directed.
Vinegar is another great tool to use when considering how to remove deodorant stains from shirts. White vinegar works best when paired with a piece of lint-free cloth. Soak a small portion of the cloth in white vinegar; then vigorously wipe the marked areas with the wet cloth until the marks disappear. If the stains are particularly heavy, you may need to repeat the process.
When it dries, the marks will be gone and there will be no lingering smell of vinegar. This means that you’ll be able to wear your shirt as soon as it’s dry.
Baking soda is effervescent when mixed into water, making it a good tool to remove white deodorant stains from shirts. The effervescent reaction allows it to remove dirt deposits from fabric. It also soaks up tough-to-remove residue from clothing, thanks to its absorbent nature.
Simply mix baking soda into a quarter cup of water and rub the paste onto the deodorant stains. Let it sit for a minimum of 30 minutes and then loosen the mixture off the fabric, using an old (yet clean) toothbrush. Wash as usual.
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are another perfect pair when working to get out deodorant stains. You need a one-quarter cup of baking soda, water, and hydrogen peroxide each. Mix them together in a bowl until it becomes a paste. Rub it into your stain and let it sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. Use an old (but clean) toothbrush to release the paste from your clothes and then wash as usual.
When life gives you lemons, it is basically showing you how to get deodorant stains out of shirts. Mix equal parts lemon juice with clean water. Pour the mixture onto the stained area of your shirt and rub the mix in with your fingers. Leave the mix in to soak for half an hour and then wash as usual.
Even though you do not plan to chew on your shirts, meat tenderizer can soften deodorant stains and help you get them out. Soak the armpit of your shirt with water and then shake the meat tenderizer onto it. Leave it to sit for several minutes and then wash as usual.
Figuring out how to get deodorant stains out of shirts doesn't have to be a headache. Instead of taking aspirin tablets, use them to get the stain out of your shirt. Grind two aspirin down to powder and mix them in a half cup of water (this is enough for one shirt). Pour the mixture onto the stained area and leave for 60 minutes. Wash shirt as usual.
Dish soap and hydrogen peroxide are things most people have in their homes, making them great for the guy who now has to figure out how to remove deodorant stains from shirts. To make the cleaning solution, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. Spread the mix onto the stained area and let sit for 60 minutes. Scrub with an old (yet clean) toothbrush and then wash as normal.
Lime-A-Way is great for removing tough stains but can be harsh on clothing. To make it safer, mix 50% Lime-A-Way in a spray bottle with 10% Tide Free and Gentle and 40% water. Spray the solution onto the deodorant stain and scrub off with an old toothbrush. If you are wondering how to get deodorant out of shirts, this is a quick method.
If you are trying to figure out how to get deodorant out of clothes but are not one for DIY solutions, you can buy a pre-packaged stain remover from the store.
Two highly effective products are OxiClean Max Force or Krud Kutter. Both solutions come in spray bottles. All you need to do is spray the solution on the affected areas and leave for 5-10 minutes before putting your shirts in the washing machine.
Who knew denture tablets had another use? Why not learn how to remove deodorant stains from clothes using denture tablets? All you need to do is dissolve 4 denture tablets in a bucket of water. Put your stained shirt into the bucket and leave it for a minimum of 8 hours. Then wash as normal.
Using Raise Armpit Stain Remover, you won’t need to worry about raising your arms up and exposing deodorant stains. To use this method, first place your shirt on a towel. Apply a good amount of Raise Armpit Stain Remover onto the stain. Using an old (but clean) toothbrush, scrub onto the stain. Let it sit for about 20 minutes. Wash your shirt as you usually do.
This technique is so intense you’ll need to put on rubber gloves before starting. Mix the same amount of ammonia and oxygen-based bleach, about two tablespoons each. Apply to the stain and use an old (but clean) toothbrush to work in the solution. Let it sit for 10 minutes then wash as usual.
Be careful though: you must use an oxygen-based bleach – not a chlorine-based bleach. Chlorine-based bleach and ammonia create a deadly gas when combined.
To help lessen the severity of deodorant or antiperspirant stains, allow your armpits to completely dry before getting dressed or try out a gel-based deodorant. You can also wait until you’ve already dressed to apply the deodorant. You can also try these other tips to prevent deodorant stains in the first place – which means you won't have to worry about getting deodorant stains out of your shirts.
One way to make sure you don’t get stains in the first place is to wash your shirts immediately after use. If you don’t have enough clothes ready for the washing machine, you can always wash the shirt by hand or simply rinse it in cold water. Make sure to use a detergent that best fits your lifestyle, like one that is specifically designed for sweaty clothes.
When deciding how to prevent deodorant stains on shirts in the first place, check out the super effective sweat proof undershirts from Ejis. By wearing a sweat proof undershirt (buy from our shop or on Amazon), you stop sweat and deodorant from ever reaching your clothes. All of our undershirts are also treated with anti-odor technology so you smell and look fresh all day long.
Another way to prevent deodorant and armpit stains on your light, white, colored, dark, or black shirt is to wear an Ejis sweat proof undershirt as a base. (Buy on our shop or on Amazon.) Our sweat proof undershirts protect your dress shirts from sweat marks and odor. They are available in three styles, two different fabrics and three colors.
Want your clothes to work extra hard to manage sweat and odor? Learn about antimicrobial fabrics and textiles, which help manage odor, plus how they work.