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How to Remove Armpit Stains from Shirts

Advice from our experts

What causes sweat stains?

There are a few things that cause armpit stains—like how much a person sweats, what type of antiperspirant they use and how much they use. These stains are also caused by:

When combined with antiperspirant, armpit stains can become water-resistant and hard to remove. Washing underwear-type T-shirts in cold water without bleach will also cause stains to build up over time.

Tips for how to remove armpit stains

How to remove armpit stains from white bleach-safe clothes

On white bleach-safe fabrics, use a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Follow these steps to get rid of armpit stains:

  • Step 1 Place the shirt in a dishpan and slowly pour boiling water on each armpit area to “melt” sweat stain buildup. It will help the process if you position the shirt in the dishpan so you won’t have to touch it.
  • Step 2 Don’t rinse the shirt—just pour off the hot water. This will keep the buildup in a “melted” state. If you need to handle the shirt, use kitchen tongs, or wear gloves to protect your hands from the heat.
  • Step 3 Apply a mixture of equal parts baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and water to the stain. This mixture is sometimes referred to as a paste. Be sure to mix the ingredients well so the paste saturates the stains.
  • Step 4 Rinse the shirt, and then follow up with a hot water wash with a good detergent that contains enzymes, along with Clorox® Regular Bleach2 with COLORMAX®.

    Yellowing is a very common armpit stain. Learn how to remove yellow armpit stains.

How to remove armpit stains from colored clothes

For colored clothing, you can use the same baking soda and hydrogen peroxide method you’d use on white bleach-safe fabrics. But, keep in mind, hot water and the bleaching action of the hydrogen peroxide may lighten the armpit area.

Follow the same steps for removing stains from white bleach-safe clothes. But, after you rinse, follow up with a hot water wash with a good detergent that contains enzymes, along with Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster Liquid.

In addition to stains, sweat and mold odors can become a problem, particularly for gym clothes. Find out how to freshen the scent of your workout wear.

How to remove armpit stains on colored and white items with spandex

To remove stains from items with spandex, follow the steps for removing armpit stains from white bleach-safe fabric. However, in the final step, use Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster Liquid, along with a good detergent that contains enzymes.

How to prevent armpit stains on white bleach-safe shirts

You can help prevent armpit stains by following these steps for white bleach-safe shirts:

  • Step 1 Pretreat the armpits of your white T-shirts with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel when you wash them. Use the broad scrubber tip to apply the gel, and gently rub it into the armpit area.
  • Step 2 Tumble dry shirts with the rest of your white load or let them air-dry.

    Collar ring stains often occurs due to sweat and body soil. Find out how to remove these resistant stains.

How to prevent armpit stains on white and colored shirts with spandex

To prevent stains on shirts with spandex, use Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster Liquid. Follow these steps:

Armpit stains FAQs

Q. How do you get deodorant buildup out of clothes?
A. What works on one deodorant stain doesn’t always work on others. Body chemistry, antiperspirant choice and activity level all contribute. So, it’s best to experiment. It’s also good to wash a shirt after every wear. In some cases, changing antiperspirant may be necessary to help prevent stains.
Q. How do you get the smell of sweat out of clothes?
A. Keep load sizes smaller and wash in hot water using the right amount of good detergent and the appropriate bleach. When the wash cycle is complete, tumble dry or let clothes air-dry immediately so they don’t start to smell from sitting in the washer too long.
Q. How do you get the yellow stain out of white shirts?
A. Try the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide method described in the armpit stains removal steps. To prevent stains, pretreat your shirt with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel before you wash it.
Q. What about underarm stains on silk?
A. The dyes used in silk are susceptible to dye damage when exposed to perspiration. Ideally, a garment manufacturer tests for this and uses dyes colorfast to perspiration. However, this isn’t always the case and the discoloration caused by perspiration often can’t be reversed.

Advice From Our Experts