How to remove deodorant stains from shirts and other clothes

The secret in learning how to remove deodorant stains is using the right products for the job. We reveal how to get deodorant out of shirts, t-shirts and tops, and fast.

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Desperate to learn how to remove deodorant stains from your clothes? Us too. Putting a shirt on only to discover unsightly deodorant stains is a new level of annoying.

Maybe you've just buttoned up a crisp white shirt and realised there are yellowish tinges in the armpits, or you've just wriggled into a black dress only to discover white streaks that won't budge, even after a through rubbing down... the struggle is real.

Stain removal is a bit of a minefield and tackling a stubborn deodorant stain is no exception. 

Experts at Nivea explain, 'Sweat stains are caused by sweat mixing with your skin's natural bacteria, your deodorant or even your clothing. If you were to look at the colour of sweat as a chemical component you would see that it is not yellow coloured, it's these reactions that cause it to turn yellow.'

'Deodorant stains are different from sweat stains - these are usually white marks made up of antiperspirant particles that contain salts and other ingredients designed to help prevent sweating. When you sweat through these ingredients, they can form solid stains that are often hard to remove in the wash.'

Fret not though, because we're here with the lowdown on how to get deodorant stains out of a variety of clothes.

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How to remove deodorant stains

Yellow deodorant stains are the trickiest to get out of your threads but when there's a will, there's a way.

According to experts at Nivea, the best way to get rid of armpit stains is with an acid, which will dissolve the bonds between proteins and alkali in sweat and the aluminum in the deodorant which create the stain.

Nivea warns, 'Also, as tempting as it may seem – especially with white clothing – avoid household or chlorine bleaches as they will only make things worse'

Here's a round up of the best acids to use to remove deodorant stains:

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(Image credit: Getty)

How to remove deodorant stains with vinegar

Vinegar is a miracle worker for cleaning your home and when it comes to stain removal of any kind, it's great at removing ugly yellow stains. It's also safe to use on both colored and white clothing.

Here's how to use vinegar to get rid of yellow pit stains:

  • Combine two tablespoons of vinegar with a cup of water and soak the clothing.
  • Apply the solution directly to the areas needing treated and use elbow grease to work it in.
  • If the marks are still visible, mix a solution of vinegar and water in a basin and let the garment soak in it for an hour.
  • After an hour, agitate the stain with scrubbing brush or cloth.
  • Then chuck the garment in the washer on a hot cycle. 

How to remove deodorant stains with baking soda

Another winning natural multi purpose cleaner is baking soda and handily most of us have some knocking around the back of the pantry. If you don't - no worries - plain soda water or even bi-carbonate of soda will do the trick. 

Here's how to use baking soda to get deodorant stains out of clothes. This approach is useful for those dried, old pit stains. 

Note: As always, test on an inconspicuous area.

  • Combine three parts baking (or bi-carb) soda into a paste one part water to create a paste. 
  • Scrub into the stain and let it sit for a few hours.
  • Before washing it out in the washer on a hot cycle, add a dash of vinegar to really blast that stain. 
  • You could also add a bit of hydrogen peroxide for white clothes.

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How to remove deodorant stains with lemon

Lemon juice is an acid and a highly effective natural stain remover that'll do a great job of removing yellow deodorant stains from even white shirts. You can even use lemon to clean your home.

Here's how to remove deodorant stains with lemon juice.

  • Slice a lemon in half and squeeze out the juice on to the stain. If you haven't a fresh lemon to hand, simply mix lemon juice with water in equal measure and rub it into the stain.
  • To boost the power of the lemon juice add a generous pinch of salt and rub it into the shirt, until you can't see the stain.
  • Then, set the shirt out in the sun for around an hour or so, before finally washing the shirt.
  • Throw it into the wash with your usual detergent and look forward to sparkling results.

How to remove deodorant stains with hydrogen peroxide

A stain is no match for hydrogen peroxide which is brilliant at removing the most stubborn stains like grease stains and red wine. 

Err on the side of caution with colored clothing though; hydrogen peroxide has bleaching qualities so it's only suitable for white clothes.

Here's how to use it to remove deodorant stains:

  • Combine six tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with three tablespoons of dish soap.
  • Dip a scrub brush into the solution, and scrub the stain.
  • After a couple of minutes of scouring the stain, the grime should be gone.
  • But if the stain is really dried in, soak the stain in equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water.
  • Leave the shirt out for an hour before chucking it in the washing machine.

How to remove deodorant stains from fresh deodorant

Getting rid of fresh white deodorant marks is a more straightforward job. Use socks or nylon stockings, or at a pinch, try dry towels, dryer sheets or even wet wipes. 

Use your weapon of choice and rub vigorously on the marks in a circular motion. If you have an outfit plan b, chuck the stained garment in the washing machine for a thorough clean.

Jenny McFarlane
Senior Digital Editor

Jenny is Senior Digital Editor and joined the team in January 2021. She also works on the homes brands' video show, on the Future Homes Network, which is packed full of ideas to help you make the most of your own home and garden. Since getting on the property market with her first apartment and then more recently a house, her passion for interior design and gardening has taken on a new lease of life. Jenny's currently on the lookout for a doer-upper to put her stamp on. She loves collecting and salvaging unique items (much to her other half's despair) but sniffing out stylish home bargains is her one true love. When she has a spare minute, she loves to do a spot of crafting, having studied textiles at Uni – although she hardly gets the chance with a toddler who keeps her permanently on her toes.