How to Prevent Pit Stains and Save Your Favorite Shirts

Do you ever think about how to prevent pit stains before you put on your clothes for the day? Probably not. Most of us don’t think about how to eliminate pit marks (or prevent them in the first place) until it’s too late and our favorite shirt is now in the trash.

Removing disgusting yellow stains isn't easy and can be an uncomfortable process. Washing, soaking or scrubbing do little good. You have no choice but to buy new shirts, and the cycle continues.

Good news, though: You’re not alone when it comes to this struggle. And luckily, there are many ways to mitigate sweat before it gets out of hand.

This guide will teach you how to prevent pit stains so you never have to soak, scrub or throw out another shirt again. We also cover more about the science of pit stains, some common misconceptions and what not to do when you break out in a sweat. 

Here are nine ways to prevent pit stains:

  1. USE ALL-NATURAL OR ORGANIC DEODORANT AND LET IT DRY
  2. APPLY LESS DEODORANT
  3. RE-EVALUATE YOUR ANTIPERSPIRANT
  4. TRIM OR SHAVE ARMPIT HAIR
  5. TAKE SWEAT-REDUCING SUPPLEMENTS
  6. ASSESS YOUR DIET
  7. LAUNDER SHIRTS RIGHT AWAY
  8. WEAR LOOSE-FITTING SHIRTS
  9. WEAR A SWEAT PROOF UNDERSHIRT

Why You Get Pit Stains

Understanding how pit stains form helps you prevent against them. Here are some leading causes of those pesky yellow stains:

1. Proteins in Your Sweat

Sweat is technically odorless. But your sweat contains protein (not the kind you’re probably thinking of), and this protein absorbs sweat compounds, causing sweat to stink. When the proteins mix with aluminum from your antiperspirant, a yellow or white stain forms (along with a nasty odor). 

Read more about the science behind pit stains.

2. Cotton Shirts

Cotton also contains proteins, so cotton shirts are susceptible to pit stains. (Read on to learn how to prevent pit stains by choosing the right fabrics.) Cotton also absorbs moisture, so it’s not an ideal fabric for heavy sweaters. 

3. Your Hamper Habits

We all do it: You toss your sweaty shirt directly into the hamper until laundry day. But this creates a breeding ground for yellow stains, which are especially noticeable on white shirts.

The more time sweat and aluminum have to soak into your shirt, the more difficult they are to remove.

Most people make the mistake of bleaching their white shirts to get their yellow pit stains out, but that makes the stain much worse.

If you’re looking for the best ways to pre-treat a pesky stain, keep reading!

4. Medical Conditions 

A rare condition called chromhidrosis could also cause pit stains. People with this medical condition have yellow, green and even blue sweat. If you notice these symptoms, consult a dermatologist.

How to Prevent Pit Stains

Why wait for yellow stains to form to deal with them? Use these tips to stop pit stains at the source:

1. Use All-Natural or Organic Deodorant and Let It Dry

Substituting all-natural deodorant for your aluminum-based brand is a great way to stop pit stains and possibly reduce your risk of disease. Several studies have linked aluminum to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and kidney disease.

Although natural deodorant doesn't contain aluminum, wearing too much can still cause yellowing. Don’t forget to allow your deodorant to dry before getting dressed.

2. Apply Less Deodorant

If you’re prone to nervous sweating or sweating in class, you might be habitually inclined to cake on deodorant or antiperspirant each day. But slathering on multiple layers of deodorant can also cause pit stains, or make them worse.

A few swipes or a thin layer is sufficient enough. Go easy with the application, and allow plenty of time to dry.


Plus, an excess amount of product can clog your sweat glands, amplifying the breeding ground for sweat or bacteria. The more deodorant you apply, the bigger the chance that it will come into contact with your shirt.

3. Re-Evaluate Your Antiperspirant 

By definition, antiperspirants contain aluminum. Mixed with sweat, aluminum causes yellowing.

Aluminum also blocks your sweat glands. When too much sweat builds up in the glands, it releases at once. The secreted sweat mixes with deodorant on your skin, producing visible yellow pit stains.

To prevent pit stains and eliminate this chemical reaction from occurring, stop wearing antiperspirants with aluminum altogether. 

4. Trim or Shave Armpit Hair

Trimming or shaving your pits is another option.

Grooming your underarms prevents dirt and bacteria from collecting and mixing with the aluminum in your deodorant. Hair collects and retains more moisture and sweat than skin. So the less you have under there, the better. Keep those pits trimmed and stains at bay.

5. Take Sweat-Reducing Supplements

Supplements aren't scientifically proven to reduce sweating, but many people find them helpful. 

Super sweaty pits mean worse pit stains. But before you splurge on a dozen different deodorant brands or stain removal products, why not try one of these natural remedies?

Here are some natural supplements that can help with sweat:

  • Vitamin B complex
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Vitamins C
  • Vitamin E
  • Lecithin capsules
  • Sage
  • Witch hazel
  • Eucalyptus
  • Chamomile

Discover more natural ways to stop sweating.

6. Assess Your Diet

Digestion and sweat production are linked. Certain foods or beverages require extra effort to digest, which can cause a spike in your internal temperature and result in more sweat.

To reduce sweating and prevent pit stains on shirts, opt for foods and drinks that ease digestion and stress, such as cauliflower, spinach, watermelon, almonds, sweet potatoes, bananas or green tea.

We cover the top 10 foods and drinks that reduce excessive sweating here.

7. Launder Shirts Right Away

Don’t allow stains to settle into the fabric - they’ll soon be impossible to clean thoroughly. Hand wash or machine wash sweaty shirts as soon as you can, so you won’t have to work twice as hard to remove the stains later.

Pro-tip: We highly recommend pre-treating severe stains before washing or laundering. See below for our top tips on how to pre-treat sweat stains. 

8. Wear Loose-Fitting Shirts

Wearing loose clothing and breathable fabrics can also help ward off pit stains. When you wear tight clothes, the fabric sits right up against your pits. Deodorant rubs off on your shirt, and when you sweat, a stain forms.

Click here to learn more about the best sweat-blocking materials.

9. Wear a Sweat Proof Undershirt

To protect your dress shirts from pit stains, wear a protective undershirt. Having an extra layer between your sweaty pits and your clothes can make all the difference in preventing unwanted pit stains.

If you’re a heavy sweater, a standard undershirt likely won’t do the trick. Instead, use Thompson Tee’s sweat proof undershirts for ultimate protection against underarm sweat and odor.

The patented sweat proof barrier locks in and vaporizes armpit sweat, keeping you dry all day! These shirts are the best way to prevent pit stains before they start.

Check out  our comprehensive list of solutions for preventing underarm sweat.

How to Pre-Treat Pit Stains

Before throwing your shirt in the hamper or bleaching it, pre-treat it with a spray or laundry soap to prevent the stain from setting. Here are some effective pre-treat products:

  • Raise Armpit Stain Remover: Spray the affected area with Raise Armpit Stain Remover and toss your shirt into the wash.
  • OxyClean: Add one scoop of OxyClean to a bowl of cold water. Let your shirt sit in the mixture for at least an hour, depending on how bad the stain is, then throw it in the washing machine.
  • Stewart’s Bluing Whitener: Mix 1/4 teaspoon with 4 cups of water (1 quart) and add the solution to the final rinse cycle of the wash.
  • Aspirin: Crush a few Aspirin and mix with water to create a light paste. Apply the aspirin mixture to your stain, let it sit for 15 minutes, then wash your shirt as you normally would.
  • Dish soap and hydrogen peroxide: Create a mixture of ⅓ dish soap and the other ⅔ of water. Let your shirt soak for an hour and then throw it in the washing machine. Avoid using this method for colored shirts as it works best for white shirts.

If your shirt label says “dry clean only”, skip the DIY process and head straight to a professional (it’s not worth the risk!). Make sure to point out where your stains are so the dry cleaners can take specific action for yellow stain sweat.

The Ultimate Solution To Prevent Pit Stains and Save Your Favorite Shirts

To prevent pit stains from ruining your shirts, you need to stop armpit sweat right at the source.

Arm yourself with Thompson Tee’s patented Hydro-Shield sweat proof undershirts. They’re guaranteed to stop 100% of sweat stains and odor from seeping through and ruining your favorite dress shirts or outer layers of clothing

Whether you’re a heavy sweater or just want extra protection for job interviews, date nights, meetings or even your wedding day, know you can count on Thompson Tee’s bestselling sweat proof undershirts as your best line of defense against sweat.

Ready to win back your confidence and put an end to pit stains for good? Try a Thompson Tee today!

If you're looking for more sweat prevention tips, check out our blog or our Sweat 101 resource page.

Lawrence Hunt

Recent Posts

Try a Thompson Tee For Yourself RISK FREE FOR 30 DAYS

We gladly accept returns or exchanges on all opened or used Thompson Tee shirts up to 30 days from purchase date so feel free to wear it, wash it and try it

REGAIN YOUR CONFIDENCE FOR $26.99

Men's Sweat Proof Shirts

MEN’S SWEAT PROOF 
SHIRTS

ORIGINAL FIT - COTTON - $26.99
Crewneck / V-Neck / Deep V-Neck

SLIM FIT - RAYON FROM BAMBOO - $31.99
Crewneck / V-Neck

Women's Sweat Proof Shirts

WOMEN’S SWEAT PROOF 
SHIRTS

ORIGINAL FIT - COTTON - $26.99
Scoop Neck

SLIM FIT - RAYON FROM BAMBOO - $31.99
Scoop Neck / V-Neck