Have you ever finished a load of laundry only to discover that deodorant stains are still on your favorite shirt? If how to get deodorant stains out of shirts isn’t rocket science, what do you do when the washing machine won’t do the trick?
Removing white deodorant marks is different from removing yellow sweat stains. Deodorant stains are caused by particles left behind when deodorant comes in contact with your clothing, usually appearing as white stripes down the sides of your shirts. When deodorant buildup isn’t removed from clothing properly, it can cause stubborn white marks that are difficult to erase.
Luckily, your deodorant-stained shirts haven't seen the end of days just yet. We’ve compiled the best methods for removing deodorant stains, plus tips for preventing them altogether.
You can remove deodorant stains from shirts with ingredients you probably already have around the house, like baking soda -- the stain removal champ.
- Combine 4 tablespoons of baking soda and ¼ cup of warm water to make a paste.
- Spread onto the stain and let dry.
- Launder the shirt as usual.
- If the stain is older and set in, leave the paste on the fabric for about two hours before washing.
Dish Soap + Hydrogen Peroxide
This magic combination can lift even the ugliest deodorant stains out of shirts.
- Mix 3 tablespoons of dish soap (Dawn is highly recommended) with six tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide.
- Scrub the stained area with a stiff brush or old toothbrush for one to two minutes. Let the shirt sit for about an hour and then launder as usual.
Like hydrogen peroxide, you should also keep white vinegar on hand to remove tough stains.
- Combine 4 cups of warm water with 1 cup of white vinegar.
- Wet the stain with the mixture, and rub the material together with your knuckles.
- If the stain remains, try soaking your shirt directly in the vinegar solution for a few hours.
- Toss the shirt into the washing machine as usual.
When life gives you lemons, use them as stain removers! The acidity in lemon juice makes it an effective stain fighter.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon directly onto the stain, soaking the area.
- Add a teaspoon of salt.
- Rub the stained area with the mixture until the stain vanishes.
- Hang the shirt out in the sun to completely dry.
Pro-tip: Exposing your shirt to the sun creates an added bleaching effect.
Your Sunday morning savior can also double as an effective stain buster.
- Use a mortar and pestle (or two spoons) to crush two aspirin into powder form.
- Mix the powder into a half cup of hot water.
- Pour the solution onto the stain and let it soak for a few hours before laundering.
Note: This method is only recommended for white shirts.
Yes, that's right — you can tenderize a deodorant stain out of your shirt!
- Wet the stain with warm water.
- Liberally sprinkle unseasoned meat tenderizer (like this meat tenderizer from McCormick) on the area and massage with your fingers. FYI: Using a regular meat tenderizer will simply add another stain.
- Wait at least an hour for the solution to set in the fabric, then wash as usual.
Ammonia is a multi-purpose stain-removing agent you can use to remove deodorant stains from shirts.
- Pretreat your shirt by sponging a mixture of ammonia and warm water onto the stain. Be sure to use 50% strength ammonia in a well-ventilated area.
- Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.
- Wash as usual.
Pro-tip: Before using any stain treatment method, check the care label of your garment. Some fabrics, like silk and wool, may be dry clean only and should not be spot cleaned by these methods. If your shirt is washable, you may want to test your stain removal method on an inconspicuous area first.
Deo-Go was specifically designed to remove deodorant stains and buildup.
- Turn the shirt inside out and spray Deo-Go directly onto the stains.
- Make sure both sides of the fabric are wet.
- Scrub stains with a short bristle brush.
- Let sit for 20-30 minutes, then wash as usual.
Pit Stop is an organic stain remover designed to treat deodorant and sweat stains on clothing.
- Spray Pit Stop on the stains from the inside of the shirt.
- Make sure the fabric is saturated, then scrub with a small brush.
- Let sit for 20 minutes, then scrub again if necessary.
- Wash separately from untreated clothing.
Armpit stains got you down? Read: How to Prevent Pit Stains: 9 Ways to Save Your Shirts
Frequently Asked Questions
Still struggling to get rid of deodorant stains from your shirts? We answer some commonly asked questions below.
How can I get rid of deodorant stains fast?
Once a deodorant stain appears, every minute counts. It's much easier to remove fresh stains than ones caked onto the fabric and then baked on in the dryer.
If you’re on the go and notice a fresh white deodorant mark, try keeping one of these deodorant stain remover products handy. All three are great for touch-ups, and you can easily store them in your purse or glove compartment.
If you’ve used up all your store-bought options, try:
- Dryer sheets
- Nylon stockings
- Foam from dry cleaning hangers
- Baby wipes
- Makeup remover
“Dry” methods like dryer sheets, stockings and foam can be used as light abrasives to brush off surface traces of deodorant. Use firm, short strokes, being careful not to rub the fabric too aggressively to avoid damage.
Baby wipes and makeup removers can erase fresh stains but leave wet marks in their wake. Try blotting any wet areas with a tissue or a dry towel after using for best results.
Pro-tip: These methods get rid of white marks quickly. However, be sure to launder your clothing after wearing it to remove any deodorant traces that remain.
How can I get deodorant stains out of black shirts?
You must take some extra care when removing deodorant stains from black shirts to preserve their color. First, try one of the “dry” methods listed above. If that doesn’t work, follow with the vinegar method above, scrubbing with a clean toothbrush to break up the deodorant stain. Then wash as usual.
How to Prevent Deodorant Stains Before They Happen
Now that you know how to get deodorant stains out of clothes, how about an ounce of prevention? Here are a couple of deodorant mark detours to try:
- Use a gel or spray deodorant instead of a solid formula.
- Make sure your deodorant is completely dry before you dress. Use a hairdryer on cool to help if you’re in a hurry.
- Only use as much product as you need. Slathering on multiple layers may not make you drier and can contribute to deodorant buildup on your clothes.
- Wear a Thompson Tee, which acts as a barrier between your deodorant and your clothing. It’s 100% effective for avoiding deodorant stains altogether!
Thompson Tee sweat proof undershirts for men and women can help avoid those embarrassing deodorant marks and keep your shirts looking brand new. The patented underarm barrier absorbs armpit sweat and prevents moisture (and deodorant or antiperspirant stains) from permeating outer layers. You won’t have to worry about removing deodorant stains again!
Try a Thompson Tee risk-free today!