I have a white t-shirt with sweat stains under the arms. No amount of soaking or washing seems to fix the problem. The shirt is still in good condition so I would really appreciate any advice.
Tiffany from Adelaide, AU
I use "Zout Oxy" (laundry isle in your grocery store) just spray it on and leave it there for about 5-10 min and then wash the blouse with the rest of your laundry. Works for me. (09/25/2004)
Pour plain white vinegar over the stained areas and let it set for 30 minutes to an hour before washing. Much better on the material than bleach, which can be used occasionally if needed. I've used vinegar on my white uniforms with no problem. (09/27/2004)
Oxi Clean has been a miraculous cleaner for me. It removes about 99% of the stains that my family creates on its clothes (incl. baby stains). I put 6 of their pre-measured cups in the laundry and let it run for a while. Then I stop the washer and let the load soak overnight. The next day I run the laundry as usual and add detergent. Almost all the stains are removed this way. Give it a try. (09/27/2004)
Make a paste out of baking soda and water and use a brush to rub it in. Let set for 30 minutes, then launder. (09/27/2004)
This may not be the "thrifty" solution, but take it to your local dry cleaner. I am constantly amazed at the different types of stains he can get out of clothing. It does help if you know the origin of the stain so he can decide which chemicals to use. When my three year old apparently slipped a blue crayon into the pocket of a nearly new shirt, I thought the whole load of laundry was gone, but my cleaner worked with it and got out all of the blue stains. It sure beats having to throw out those clothes. (09/28/2004)
I read somewhere to put meat tenderizer and water, scrub it and let it sit for a few minutes. Then put through the wash. (10/13/2004)
Use Tom's of Maine deodorant. Stains will "not" appear. (07/13/2005)
I had a huge collection of otherwise good white cotton/cotton-blend t-shirts and cotton dress shirts, save for underarm stains. I couldn't afford to replace them. I found this recipe online, with a few variations of my own:
I suggest you try this method late afternoon. The clothes need to soak overnight.
Use a clean tub or bucket. Place ingredients into tub or bucket and pour boiled, filtered water and very, very hot tap water. Wearing gloves, swish the water around until the ingredients dissolve (as much as possible). Plunge your white shirts into the tub or bucket and (remember your rubber gloves) agitate the water a bit with the clothes. Let sit for a couple of hours. Next, take dry baking soda and work into the yellow stains while they are still soaking. Add extra baking soda to the tub. If the stains are extremely bad, add a bit more Cascade and agitate again. Let sit.
Check on the tub from time to time during the evening. I kept using more baking soda on the underarms and I also kept "refreshing" the filtered/boiled water and extra hot tap water. Before you go to bed, refresh the water again, and if you like, the ingredients as well. (This is what I did.) The next morning, wring out the clothes and launder them in the hottest water you think is safe. I do my wash at the local Laundromat and even though clothes called for cold water I used hot. I also made a paste of baking soda and water and rubbed into underarms before the machine-wash. (What did I have to lose?) I let them air dry in my apt. Amazingly, the stains were gone. I took them outside and looked in bright sunlight, not a trace of yellow.
I am going to machine wash them again just to be sure; I've learned to add Borax and baking soda to my regular detergent to boost the cleaning power. I'm soaking my boyfriend's really yellow, old white t-shirts now and a few old white shirts I forgot about and they already are starting to look whiter/less yellow. Really, this is a great method. Also, I've given up deodorant. I use a cornstarch/baking soda powder recipe I found online. I also put a bit of white vinegar and baking soda on my white shirts after I wear them, just to be sure.
Make a paste out of ammonia and color safe bleach, allow to set on the stain, then throw it into the wash. Do not use with chlorine bleach.
Comment from Reader This one scares me just because if someone misses the part about "color safe" on the bleach, and uses normal chlorine bleach, this creates a poisonous gas when mixed with ammonia. Diane (09/27/2006)
I have found Napisan to be a wonderful solution. Simply create a paste with Napisan and water. Coat the stains and soak in hot water overnight. Throw shirts in the washing machine. If stains are stubborn, repeat process. It works with a light coloured clothing as well. (11/30/2006)
By Samantha D.
Try Spray n' Wash stain stick, it works on light and dark colored clothing, I've been getting these stains for years and this works every single time, even on stains that have been there for months and months. (12/14/2006)
The following method works great for me but you must use all the protective measures associated with using any paint removers.)
Use a can of spray paint remover to spray underarms of white t-shirts that are caked with an accumulation of deodorant. Let the shirts soak for about 30 to 60 minutes. Spray on more paint remover if necessary to keep the underarm cloth moist. Brush both sides of the fabric with a soft brush to loosen the caked-on deodorant. Rinse with warm water then wash in the normal way.
I have a favorite white t-shirt that had some pretty gnarly pit stains. I usually end up throwing out white shirts after only a few months. I didn't want to throw this shirt out and my grandma told me to use a toothbrush and some baking soda on the pits and then wash it in the dishwasher using regular dishwashing detergent. It worked. (02/22/2007)
I leave the shirt in the hot sun and it bleaches the stain out after a couple of days. (02/22/2007)
The yellowing isn't from deodorant. It's sweat. Much like the same stains that occur on guys hats in the summer. The deodorant doesn't make a difference.
Baby Aspirin crushed up to a paste, mixed with some water, soak just the dis-colored area overnight then wash as normal. I got this from a book that was written in the 40's, for housewives, and is full of all sorts of "know-how" when it comes to stain removal or cleaning things.
I have tried the Aspirin method and if stain is stubborn on white cotton, repeats soaking is necessary. If the material is durable, you can use a toothbrush and gently rub the stain. If the material is a soft cotton, be cautious of destroying the area if rubbed too much.
Editor's Note: Today's baby aspirin has color and flavoring in it. Try using a quarter of a regular aspirin for this. (04/24/2007)
I had this and soaked T-shirt in hottest water for two days using the thickest dissolvable mixture of Sard Oxy Plus then washed it. All the stains were gone. Hurrah. (05/12/2007)
I just recently solved this problem for myself. I've had a white blouse that I hadn't worn in about a year because of the stains, but I used "Awesome" on the areas and it worked. This product is used for many stain removal problems, but is recommended to dilute with most.
You can buy "Awesome" undiluted in spray bottles at many stores. I buy mine at The Dollar Tree. Just spray a couple of shots on the stains, let it stand for about ten minutes, and then wash as the clothing tag suggests. *NOTE - If you're quite unsure of how your fabric may react, (mine is 100% cotton) you may want to dilute with a little water to be safe. If you need a stronger amount, you can repeat the process and add more.
Drying white clothes in the dryer often cause sweat stains to become set in. Someone posted about the sunlight drawing out the stains. Yes, I agree. My mother told me about that years ago. Great tip. (06/07/2007)
I've tried just about everything and then I wandered onto this forum. Someone posted something about the yellow stains being caused by protein in the sweat, which makes a lot of sense. Someone else suggested meat tenderizer, there's no way I'm putting that stuff on my fave t-shirt so I tried contact lens solution, the kind that removes protein build up, and it worked very well. (07/03/2007)
I didn't know that so many people are going through this. Well, I purchased this bottle of Greased Lightning Multi-Purpose Cleaner and degreaser from Walmart. I started reading the instructions on the back and found out that it could also be used to get stains out of clothes. I tried it and it really worked very well. The yellow underarm stains are gone from my daughter's white shirt. (07/15/2007)
I just fond this discussion and decided to experiment with some of my favorite (but stained) white shirts. To my amazement, a paste made of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda worked wonders. These were old stains, from years ago and they vanished after being soaked for only 10 minutes. I let them soak more after to be sure, but it really, really worked. (09/03/2007)
Try a regular bar of Ivory soap, it cleans all stubborn stains. Scrub the area with the soap and rinse with cool water. Then wash as you regularly do. It works for me. (10/12/2007)
On white clothes only, apply a nickel size drop of liquid dishwasher detergent, rub and then wash as usual. I usually wash twice. Liquid dishwasher detergent seems to have a huge bleaching and cleaning effect. It does bleach out the color, as well as clean out that "crunchy" stuff. It works for baby food stains, dingy socks, kids sneakers, etc. as long as they are white. (01/20/2008)
By mom of 2
Folks, Oxi Clean is a scam. It is nothing more than an agent that releases hydrogen peroxide into water, just look up Oxi CLean in Wikipedia. Then Google "oxi clean" and "hydrogen peroxide" on a bunch of equivalent recipes that cost less than dime a dozen. Example of recipe with the same (or better) effect than Oxi Clean (if you believe Chemistry 101 class, of course):
There is a product that is used for carpet cleaning, but it works great for stain removal on clothes. "It's Incredible" is distributed by Bestway Products www.bestwayproducts.net. I have used it for the past ten years for both stain removal on carpets as well as on clothes. You put just enough solution on the stain to saturate it. I usually allow it to sit for 2 - 3 minutes then under warm water scrub the stain by rubbing the fabric together. Make sure the solution has been completely rinsed out. If the stain has been in the clothes for a while you may have to repeat this step.
After that, you can either launder immediately or let it dry and add to the a load of laundry the next time you wash clothes. The best part is this is a non-bleach product so it can cautiously be used on colors as well. Always spot test first. I usually wear latex gloves when I use this product, just to ensure that I don't absorb it through the skin. It's great for getting out ink stains on clothes as well. (07/15/2008)
Not sure if this is thrifty, but it is fun. Buy some of the new Spray N Wash - Dual Power, rub it into the pits and launder as normal. Dual power is a combined oxi-clean stuff and another stain remover. Takes a few cycles with the stain remover and laundering, but the stains are definitely gone. I did mostly shirts that were light to medium colored (not white) with caked on deodorant. Let me know what you guys think. I've been trying different stuff for a long time now and this is relatively effortless and seems to be doing the trick. It is probably better to regularly use this with clothes to keep the stains from setting in the first place. (07/24/2008)
I would really like to try the 1:1:1 ratio of peroxide, baking soda, and hot water but how much of each do you do. I just don't see any specific instructions?
Editor's Note: This means equal parts of each, so 1 cup peroxide, 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup hot water or 1 tsp. peroxide, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. hot water or an other amounts you will need. (09/12/2008)
A lot of people are talking about stopping sweating being bad for your body. That is rubbish and bad science. Sweating is not your bodies natural way of releasing toxins. That is the function of you liver, kidneys, lungs and the rest of your excretory system. The fact is that sweating, while it does release traces of toxins in your system, is for the purpose of cooling.
The water in sweat evaporates taking heat with it and what is left is mineral deposits and, if you are not wearing deodorant, bacteria that cause odor. This is why you need to drink more than just water to rehydrate. Drinking more water reduces the concentration of these minerals and thus is the reason why heavy consumers of water don't seem to get pit stains.
As far as removing them, because they are just mineral deposits natural things you would use on hard water stains, ie. baking powder, vinegar, peroxide and water mix or even oxy clean would be effective (obviously do not use harsh chemicals designed merely for hard water stains or calcification). Good luck. (01/11/2009)
I read in a magazine that Madonna uses Vodka to remove the sweat stains from her stage clothes. I haven't tried it yet. My mother says that if you wet your shirt and sprinkle salt on your pit stains and let it sit over night, that helps significantly before washing. (01/22/2009)
A capful of bleach and scrubbing it in with baking soda seems to have worked well for me. (02/28/2009)
Mike Thomas of Proctor and Gamble says in an interview with SweatSolutions, "People assume that sweat causes underarm stains, but you wouldn't have stains if it weren't for your antiperspirant. Antiperspirants are very acidic and it's that acidity that causes the colors on your clothes to shift." Antiperspirant products that come in roll-on or gel forms, adds Thomas, tend to cause more severe staining. Gels and roll-ons are more watery and therefore get onto clothing more easily, leading to more color changes in the fabric.
He recommends simply rinsing the affected fabric with cold water before washing, as warm or hot water can "set" them by causing a chemical reaction that binds the stain to the fabric. Pretreating with a stain remover can also make the situation worse.
In regard to antiperspirants being unhealthy, yes, the body does find other ways to expel toxins, but the aluminum which antiperspirants rely on is a known toxin which can accumulate in the brain. Google "aluminum toxicity" for comprehensive views of symptoms and sources of aluminum contamination in the diet. (06/16/2009)
By Liz H.
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