Underarm Smell on T-shirts

I have a very embarrassing problem with my t-shirts. They start to smell under the arms even when they are freshly washed. I am using deodorant (tried lots of different brands) and shower everyday, so it cannot be me.

When I buy a new t-shirt I can wear it maybe 3 times (wash it always after one time wearing) and then it turns out stinky again. At the moment I really do not know what to do anymore as I just chuck all the t-shirts out and some of them are not even a month old.


When I wear them they start to smell a short time after I put them on and they really stink like I have worn the shirt for 3 days or so. I was reading already some comments here and tried the baking soda, but it did not work, maybe I done something wrong, no idea? Do I need to soak it together with water in an e.g. bucket or just put the soda powder over the smelly spots? For how long should I leave it on/soaking?

I also tried to find white vinegar, but I am living in the Czech Republic and I can only find the white wine vinegar here.

I would appreciate it to get some other tips and tricks how to prevent these issues. I am really starting to get fed up as I am spending lots of money on t-shirts, deodorants, different washing powders/gels, etc.

Many thanks.

By Mr.Pink

June 15, 20100 found this helpful

White vinegar is about the best thing I know to use. It will even remove very old odor (like 2 years old). Surely you could obtain some somehow, order online or something. It might be expensive, but worth it.

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June 15, 20100 found this helpful

I don't know how easily you will find this in your area, but this worked for me. I had an old shirt in storage, and when I put it on for the first time this season, after a while I noticed that smell. I'm certain I washed it before storing it away. So I sprayed some enzymatic cleaner on the underarm areas. I sprayed the shirt, let it sit overnight, sprayed it again, let it sit another day, and then I washed it. Voila! No more smell.

This brand is readily available in the US (although it's not the brand I used). If you read up on it, maybe you can find something similar locally. Try where you find pet supplies.


I hope you find something that works for you. This is not a common problem for me, so I was pretty surprised with my smelly shirt. It worked very well for me. Best of luck!

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June 16, 20100 found this helpful

Try to have only cotton shirts, not cotton/polyester.

Polyester textiles are problematic for various reasons: odor, stains, hot to wear.

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June 17, 20100 found this helpful

I think that white wine vinegar will do the same job as white vinegar. Give it a try.

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June 17, 20100 found this helpful

The problem needs to be tackled from two fronts: you personally and your shirts. If your shirts smell bad all the time, it's probably because you have a yeast overgrowth problem in your armpits. Cut out dairy and sugar from your diet. And then shave your armpit hair a little. Don't get rid of it completely, but just lessen the thickness. Less hair means less bacteria to grow. Then wash underarms with a paste of water and bicarb soda. Buy only cotton shirts or high cotton content blend shirts and when washing use the hottest heat you can. Add some white vinegar to the rinse cycle and bicarb soda to the washing powder. Then hang in the sunlight so the UV rays can kill any lingering bacteria.

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June 17, 20100 found this helpful

Tossing vinegar into the rinse when washing.

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June 18, 20100 found this helpful

If all else fails, make some underarm shields (you could even use the body of old shirts). Then you can just chuck out the shield instead of the shirt.

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June 18, 20100 found this helpful

You may want to switch laundry detergents.

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June 18, 20100 found this helpful

You may need to see a Dr. You may have some sort of medical problem.

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July 7, 20130 found this helpful

Deodorant may be your problem if it contains an antiperspirant. I had this problem until I switched to a natural deodorant. Maybe try a deodorant without the antiperspirant for a while. That will also get rid of yellow stains on white shirts and white stains on black shirts. You could also try to wipe your underarms after bathing with vinegar, witch hazel, or coconut oil. Pretreat your shirt underarms with white vinegar before washing them.

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June 15, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

I know this is similar to some other questions, but I thought I would give it a go. I am trying to figure out how to get the underarm odor smell out of my t-shirts. Febreze does not help and no matter how many times I wash them, after a few hours they armpits of the shirt start to smell. Any ideas?

Joanna, UK


Underarm Smell on T-shirts

My dad found that if he wore any tee shirts with orlon, antron, or nylon mixed with cotton they got a funny smell. Only pure cotton didn't take on the odor. I've noticed the same thing. (09/09/2005)

By siris

Underarm Smell on T-shirts

Try soaking them in white vinegar and then wash as usual. That should work. (09/10/2005)

By Mary

Underarm Smell on T-shirts

Rub a little hair conditioner, the stuff you use to detangle your hair after each shampoo, into each arm pit area and then laundry as usual. Works great at removing "ring around the collar" too. (09/10/2005)

By snigdibbly

Underarm Smell on T-shirts

Had this problem years ago when hubby wore dress shirts everyday. Keep a small spray bottle with white vinegar by the washer and spray each under arm with it, let sit a minute while you sort other things and then just wash as normal.
I discovered this problem when ironing the shirts and the heat would heat them and up would come the odor. Golly, I needed to get rid of that quickly! (09/11/2005)

By guest

Underarm Smell on T-shirts

Make sure too that you are clean when you put the shirt on, and that you have used an antiperspirant.
Deodorant only masks a smell, and usually not very well, but the antiperspirant stops your pits from sweating, and also keeps it from smelling. Rubbing your underarms with vinegar, and letting it dry before you put the antiperspirant on will also help. It helps to kill the bacteria that causes the smells. Good luck, I hope you find a solution that works for you. (09/12/2005)

Underarm Smell on T-shirts

Definitely, all undershirts should be 100% cotton. Anything with polyester in it, such as a cotton-polyester blend, will retain odors.

Secondly, underarm deodorants do not "mask" odors. They have at least one antibacerial ingredient (such as triclosan) that prevents odors by keeping bacteria from growing in the armpits. (Deodorant soaps help delay odor recurrence by the same means.)

I always wear permanent-press outer shirts with a 100% cotton undershirt. Since I'm allergic to the aluminum chlorhydrate in antiperspirants (I get a rash from it), and I find it is ineffective in any case, a good stick deodorant with antibacterial capability works quite well for me.

You might try a laundry detergent with baking soda in it, such as Arm and Hammer detergent (if it exists where you live), because baking soda can help get rid of odors in fabrics. If you can get washing soda (sodium carbonate) and add it to you laundry with the detergent, that can help, too. Follow the package directions on the washing soda as to the correct amount for your type of washing machine, and you may well be able to cut the amount of detergent you use in half, because washing soda softens the water. (I'm told washing soda is found in the U.K. and it has other uses, too, besides laundry.) (05/01/2008)

By Todd in San Francisco

Underarm Smell on T-shirts

To prevent underarm odor: rub 1/2 lime under your arm pits prior to bathing once a week (if you are a woman, make sure skin is not irritated from waxing/shaving). I also swear by Weleda natural deodorant, comes in citrus and rose (as a woman, I prefer rose). It works wonders because it has natural citric oils, not synthetic.

For a white t-shirt you can try laundering with lime juice, but remember lime juice can whiten clothes if left on for a period of time, so do a test on an old shirt before proceeding! (06/25/2009)

By my2cents

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