Yellow armpit stain on white shirt. | Social Citizen

How to Get Deodorant Stains Out of Shirts

Whether treating a white or black shirt, there's a good chance your deodorant stains can be removed.
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There’s nothing more frustrating than picking out the perfect shirt to wear for your day and then realizing it’s been stained by your deodorant. Now, you’re left trying to decide what to throw out: the shirt or your deodorant? Hold on… Before you get too rash and throw something away, let’s pause and discuss how to get deodorant stains out of clothes.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to get rid of deodorant stains, including how to get deodorant out of black shirts in particular. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions such as:

Prevent deodorant stains with sweat-proof t-shirts in white. | Social Citizen

Tired of deodorant stains on your white shirts? Social Citizen offers sweat-proof t-shirts for men and for women, built with comfortably hidden underarm pads.

The Fastest Way to Remove Deodorant Stains

For the quickest fix:

  • Take the inside part of the shirt, such as near the back bottom seam, and rub it into the deodorant stain in a circular motion.
  • Start from the outside of the stain and work inwards.
  • If you have time for the shirt to also dry, dab the part of the shirt you are using to rub with warm water.

This should leave the deodorant stain less noticeable at a minimum. If the stain smears and discolors your shirt further, you have more options! The key is to treat your shirt as quickly as possible. The longer you leave in the stain, the harder it will be to get out.

White Deodorant Stains: How Do You Remove Deodorant Residue Buildup from Clothes?

First, let’s talk about the easier type of deodorant to remove: white deodorant stains. Here’s how to get deodorant stains out of black shirts:

  1. Blot with a damp cloth to release the stain from the shirt.
  2. Use a pre-moistened makeup wipe to remove the stain.
  3. Rub with nylon, such as from a nylon stocking, from the edges of the stain inward.
  4. If you’re at home, wash the shirt with warm water. More often than not, a regular wash cycle with warm water is enough to remove the stain.
  5. Use a store-bought stain remover and, following the directions on the package.
  6. Create a DIY solution with white vinegar, combining two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar with one cup of water. Soak the stain for an hour, then scrub with a clean toothbrush. Finish off by washing the shirt as normal.
  7. If nothing else works, consider using an acidic liquid such as lemon juice to remove the deodorant stain. However, lemon juice itself can cause discoloration, so this method is really a last resort.

Yellow Deodorant Stains: How Do You Remove Dried Deodorant Stains?

Now, let’s talk about the dried and yellow deodorant stains that you will get in your underarms from antiperspirant deodorant. These stains become hard because of the chemical reaction between sweat and aluminum, which is why yellow stains are most often caused by antiperspirant deodorant containing aluminum. 

For all of these methods, you’ll want to apply the substance, leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour, then scrub with an old toothbrush before finishing off with a standard wash and dry cycle.

  • Baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and salt - Combine 1.5 cups baking soda with 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide and 1.5 teaspoons of salt. Wet your shirt with cold water and apply the mixture to your yellow stains.
  • Dish soap and hydrogen peroxide - Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap. You can optionally add baking soda for better abrasion.
  • Vinegar - Put plain distilled white vinegar on your deodorant stains. Alternatively, you can also mix in baking soda.
  • OxiClean - Mix one scoop of OxiClean into a gallon of warm water. Submerge your stained shirt for an hour, remove it, and wash and dry it as usual. A plus: this is the best-smelling option out of all of these methods.


Try black sweat-proof shirts to prevent deodorant stains. | Social Citizen

Looking for a new shirt that will solve your deodorant stain problem? Try out Social Citizen’s Social Tee, made with built-in underarm pads to absorb and catch any residue.

What are Deodorant Stains?

Stains on clothing caused by deodorant have two different types:

  • Yellow stains in the underarms of light-colored clothing.
  • White deodorant marks, more visible on darker-colored clothing.

The first type of deodorant stain, yellowish underarm stains, are actually caused by the ingredient aluminum. When it interacts with the proteins in your sweat, it can stain fabric with a discoloration that often appears yellow. These stains are stubborn and can be quite difficult to wash out of clothing, especially if you are using standard laundry techniques.

The second type of deodorant stain is the white deodorant mark that you can see on dark and black clothing. Most deodorants come in the form of a white solid. When you apply this substance to your armpits, it can easily transfer onto your clothing, leaving behind visible white marks. Thankfully, these are usually easier to remove than yellow underarm stains.

Will Deodorant Stains Come Out of Clothes?

If your favorite shirt has picked up a deodorant stain, you may be wondering if it is even possible to get the stain out. Perhaps you’ve already put your shirt in for a laundry cycle or two and the stain hasn’t budged, making you feel like maybe the deodorant stains are impossible to remove.

With enough effort and the right tricks, many deodorant stains can be removed, unless the stain has gotten hard and dark through multiple wears.

If a shirt is important enough to you to try to save, we recommend trying out these tricks. If they don’t work, the difficult truth is that you may have to give up and replace it with a new shirt.

Preventing Deodorant Stains in the First Place

While it’s important to know how to get deodorant stains out, it’s also worth discussing how you can avoid getting deodorant stains in the first place. Some suggestions to consider include:

  • Use a deodorant that does not contain aluminum.
  • Take extra care when putting on your clothes to not let them touch your underarms.
  • Carefully apply your deodorant after you already have your clothes on, not before.
  • Use invisible solid deodorant.
  • Use underarm pads as an extra barrier between your clothing and your armpit.
  • Wear sweat-proof clothing with built-in underarm pads.

How Social Citizen Can Help You

If you want to never worry about getting yellow underarm stains on your clothes again, try out Social Citizen sweat proof clothing. Made with a discreet and comfortable built-in underarm pad, Social Citizen’s clothing provides a barrier between your deodorant and your shirt so that stains (and sweat!) won’t show through. Coming in a variety of fashionable colors and styles, Social Citizen will quickly become your new favorite t-shirt.

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