How to Remove White Armpit Stains From Dark Shirts

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Image Credit: Mariakray/iStock/GettyImages
See More Photos

The only thing worse than finding white armpit stains on your favorite outfit is finding them after you've already left the house. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about the issue when you're out and about except buy a new shirt or hope you have a sweater in the car in which you can hide. Once you're back home, however, you can take several different steps to treat the stains. To protect your clothing, it's best to start with the mildest-possible stain removal solution and work your way toward harsher solutions only if you must.

Advertisement

Video of the Day

Preventing White Armpit Stains

Whenever possible, it's of course better to try to avoid underarm stains than to get rid of them. To decrease the chances of staining, make sure you purchase a high-quality deodorant. The stuff at the dollar store can keep you from smelling funky but may be more likely to stain your clothing.

Advertisement

You can also reduce staining by using roll-on deodorant rather than solids, which are white and chunky to begin with. Choose a product that dries clear and make sure you aren't using too much. Certain fragrances may prove more likely to stain than others, so try unscented deodorant if armpit stains are a frequent problem for you.

Advertisement

Ultimately, you may find that you simply need to experiment with different deodorants. Everyone's body chemistry is different. You may notice that while one deodorant leaves stains on your clothes, a different type may not. There's no way to predict how your body and a certain deodorant will pair without experimenting.

Advertisement

Rub Armpit Stains With a Sock

This may be the weirdest stain removal tip you've ever heard, but sometimes, it works. If you're lucky, the white armpit stains on your shirt aren't quite stains yet. You may have just put on your shirt before your deodorant was dry, and it left a mark. To remove it, slide your hand into a sock or old nylon and try rubbing away the stain. It's best to work from the outside edges of the stain inward to avoid spreading the stain.

Advertisement

Try the Laundry

First, blot the stain with a damp cloth to remove as much of it as you can. Then, you'll want to let the shirt dry. Sometimes, armpit stains appear to go away when the shirt is wet but come back when it dries. If the stain is still present, treat the area with a commercial laundry stain remover.

Advertisement

Allow the shirt to soak in the stain remover for at least 15 minutes and then wash the shirt as you normally would. Air-dry the shirt again to make sure the stain is truly gone. Running some stains through the dryer sets them and makes them harder to remove, so avoid using the dryer on your shirt until you know the stain is out.

Advertisement

Soak the Stain in Vinegar

There are two ways to go about soaking white armpit stains in vinegar. The first is to mix 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar into 1 cup of water. Apply the vinegar to the stain and let it soak for at least an hour. Scrub the area with a toothbrush to work the vinegar into the fabric and wash the garment as usual.

Advertisement

For a little added boost, you can also make a paste using one part water to three parts baking soda. Rub the baking soda into the stain, working it deeper with a toothbrush. Pour a little vinegar on the baking soda paste and then let the stain soak for a few hours before washing it.

Apply Lemon Juice

This is where things start to get a little dicey. Lemon juice is highly acidic. This can help remove a stain, but it can also damage clothing, You should apply some lemon juice to a small, discreet area on your garment. If it doesn't discolor the clothing, apply the juice directly to the armpit stain. Some people also add salt to the stain after the lemon juice.

Grab your handy old toothbrush again and work the lemon juice into the stain. Let it soak for a couple of hours and then wash the stained shirt.

Treat It With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can sometimes remove stubborn stains, but remember that it is a bleaching agent. As you did with the lemon juice, you'll need to test hydrogen peroxide on a small area before liberally applying it to your clothing.

Once you've deemed it safe to do so, combine 3 tablespoons of dish soap and 6 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Apply the solution to the stain, rub it in with an old toothbrush, and let the stain soak for about an hour. Then, you can toss the garment in the washing machine.

Visit the Dry Cleaner

If you've exhausted your options and the stain still exists, it's time to admit defeat and consult a professional. The dry cleaner has access to chemicals and solvents for removing stains that you don't and may be able to help you. It's definitely worth a visit or at least a phone call to see if a dry cleaner can help.

Advertisement