How to Remove Dark Underarm Stains

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Whether that big presentation at work made you nervous or you worked up a sweat on the dance floor, all that perspiration can leave major stains on your shirts. Dark armpit stains are often a combination of sweat, deodorant, and bacteria stuck onto your shirt. Before you toss your favorite top, try a few effective methods to remove armpit stains.

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Soak in Vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile household item that can do everything from cleaning your showerhead to removing stains from laundry. To start loosening the underarm stains, mix equal parts of white vinegar and cold water in a tub or bowl. Soak the stained shirt in the vinegar mixture for about 30 minutes. Then wash the shirt as usual in cold water but skip drying it in the dryer until you know the stain is gone.

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This might be enough to remove the sweat stains from the shirt. Check the armpit area after the shirt air dries. If the stains aren't gone, move on to other methods. Never use bleach on a shirt when you've used vinegar, as the combination can make a very dangerous gas.

Try Dish Soap

Another versatile cleaning substance you can use is dish soap. Mixing it with hydrogen peroxide in a ratio of 1 part soap to 2 parts peroxide can help fight sweat stains. Hydrogen peroxide should be safe on most fabrics if they're made with colorfast dye, but it's a good idea to test it first. Apply the combination to the stained areas, wait an hour, and pop it in the washing machine to wash it as normal. Check the armpits after the shirt air dries to see if the stains are gone.

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Use Baking Soda

Regular baking soda offers another option for removing the stains. Create a paste by combining 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. If you're concerned about the hydrogen peroxide discoloring your colored fabrics, you can use water instead to create the paste. Using a toothbrush, scrub the paste into the stain and wait for an hour or longer. When done, just like the other methods, wash the shirt as you normally would in the washing machine.

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Clean With Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is an acidic option like vinegar that can help break up the sweat stains and leave your shirt smelling lemony fresh. Squeeze juice from a fresh lemon or use bottled lemon juice, and mix it with equal parts water. Pour the mixture on the stain at wait 30 minutes. Sprinkling on some salt and rubbing it in can also help. Wash it like normal and check for stains.

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Things to Avoid

Never use bleach on your armpit stains. It usually doesn't work, and it might make the stains worse. Avoid tossing the shirt into your clothes dryer until the stains are gone, as the heat from the dryer can set the stains and make them difficult or impossible to remove. Let the shirt air dry and inspect it to avoid this situation. Never use these or other DIY stain removal solutions on clothes that are dry-clean only.

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