Sweat happens, and with it comes armpit odors and stains no matter how often you shower or apply deodorant. If you have a teenager or a young athlete, underarm smells and sweat stains are likely a major part of your life. Using a few items you have around your home and doing a presoak can help combat the smelly sleeves in your laundry basket.
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Cause of Armpit Odor
Body odor, including stinky pits, happens when your sweat mixes with bacteria that's on your skin. Your body odor can also be affected by other things, like hormones, medications, food, or health conditions. Since your clothes get so close to your armpits, they tend to pick up the odors as well as sweat and deodorant stains.
Act on Armpit Odor Fast
You'll have the best luck removing armpit odor from your clothes if you act fast. Instead of tossing the clothes in the hamper and leaving them for several days or even weeks, deal with the stench right away. Letting the clothes sit gives the sweat and odor time to sink in, which can make them more stubborn when you try to remove them.
Even if you don't do a load of laundry every day, you can soak the particularly stinky shirts to help release some of the sweat and stink. If you can't deal with the issue right away, let the sweat dry before you put the clothing in the hamper, as the moisture can cause bacteria to multiply.
Presoak Your Stinky Clothes
Presoaking smelly clothes can help gently remove the odors before they set in. Vinegar can be an effective soak additive to help remove the odors since it has deodorizing effects. Add a cup of vinegar to a bucket of cold water and soak the clothes in it for 30 minutes or longer. You can also do a presoak in your washing machine with the vinegar.
Add Baking Soda
Regular baking soda can also help remove odors from your clothes. You can make a paste from baking soda with a little warm water to pretreat the garment. Rub the baking soda paste into the underarm areas and wait 15 minutes or longer to let the baking soda work on the odors.
Another effective option is to add 1 cup of baking soda to the load when you put it in the washing machine. You can use this method with the vinegar soak or baking soda paste for extra odor-fighting power. Wash the clothes as normal.
Before you toss them in the dryer, check the armpit areas to see if the odors are gone. If they still smell, soak and wash them again before drying since the clothes dryer can set in the smells and stains.
Prevent Future Armpit Odor
It's tough to eliminate underarm odors on clothes completely, but you can minimize the smells to some degree. Switch to a new antiperspirant and deodorant to help control the sweat and odors in your armpits. Showering regularly can help reduce the odor buildup in your armpits too.
Undershirts can also help protect your more expensive clothes from sweat and odors. You'll still have to deal with odor removal from the undershirts, but it makes it easier to care for your more expensive and sometimes delicate clothes.