How to Get Deodorant Stains Out of Shirts

How to Get Deodorant Stains Out of Shirts

    Deodorant stains can be a frustrating and unsightly problem, especially on your favorite shirts! But fear not! With a few simple tricks and household ingredients, you can banish those pesky white marks and keep your shirts looking fresh and fabulous. Let’s take a look.

    What causes deodorant stains?

    Deodorant stains occur when the ingredients in your antiperspirant or deodorant transfer onto your clothing, leaving behind white or yellowish marks, and these stains can be particularly noticeable on dark-colored or tight-fitting garments. The culprits behind these stains are typically the aluminum salts and other active ingredients found in most antiperspirants and deodorants - these ingredients work to prevent sweat and odor, but they can also react with the natural oils and bacteria on your skin, leading to those dreaded white marks on your clothes.

    Types of deodorant stains

    There are two main types of deodorant stains: white marks and yellow stains.

    White marks are caused by the aluminum salts in antiperspirants, which can leave a chalky residue on your clothing; these marks are usually more noticeable on dark-colored fabrics and can be a bit of a pain to remove.

    Yellow stains, on the other hand, result from the interaction between your sweat and the ingredients in your deodorant. Over time, this interaction can cause a yellowish discoloration on the underarm area of your shirts, which can be even more difficult to treat than white marks.

    Prevention Tips

    The best way to deal with deodorant stains is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are a few tips to keep your shirts stain-free:

    Let your deodorant dry completely before getting dressed. This gives the product time to set and reduces the likelihood of it transferring onto your clothing. Apply deodorant sparingly, focusing on your underarms. Using too much product can increase the risk of stains and marks on your shirts.

    You might also want to consider using a clear or gel deodorant instead of a solid white one, as these formulas are often less likely to leave visible marks on your clothing. You can also wear an undershirt to create a barrier between your deodorant and your clothing - this simple step can help absorb any excess product and prevent it from coming into direct contact with your favorite tops.

    Step-by-Step Guides for Removing Stains

    If prevention fails and you find yourself with a deodorant stain, don't panic! Here are three methods for removing those unsightly marks:

    Method 1: Using Vinegar and Water

    Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. The acidity of the vinegar helps to break down the stain-causing ingredients in your deodorant, so spray the solution directly onto the stain, making sure to saturate the area thoroughly. Gently rub the fabric together to work the solution into the fibers, as this helps to loosen the stain and allows the vinegar to do its job. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, giving the solution time to penetrate the stain. Rinse the area with cold water and wash as usual. The stain should be significantly faded or completely removed after washing.

    Method 2: Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

    Alternatively, mix equal parts baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. The baking soda acts as a gentle abrasive, while the hydrogen peroxide helps to break down the stain. Apply the paste to the stained area and gently rub it in, making sure to work the paste into the fabric fibers for the best results. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour, allowing the ingredients to penetrate and lift the stain. Rinse the area with cold water and wash as usual. This method is particularly effective for stubborn or set-in stains.

    Method 3: Commercial Stain Removers

    If homemade solutions don't do the trick, try using a commercial stain remover designed for treating deodorant stains. These products often contain enzymes or other active ingredients that target and break down the specific components of deodorant stains, but do be sure to follow the instructions on the product label and test it on an inconspicuous area of the garment first. This will help you avoid any potential damage or discoloration to your clothing. Apply the stain remover according to the instructions, then wash the garment as usual. Most commercial stain removers are designed to work effectively in a single wash cycle.

    Tips for Treating Different Types of Fabrics

    Different fabrics require different approaches when it comes to removing deodorant stains. Here are some tips for treating common fabric types:


    Most methods work well on cotton, but be gentle when rubbing to avoid damaging the fibers. Cotton is a sturdy, durable fabric that can withstand most stain removal methods. However, it's important to be gentle when rubbing or scrubbing the stain to prevent fraying or pilling of the fabric, especially if you’re working with more delicate women’s designer shirts.


    Use a gentle, non-abrasive method like the vinegar and water solution, and avoid rubbing the fabric. Silk is a delicate material that can easily be damaged by harsh chemicals or rough treatment. When treating deodorant stains on silk, opt for a gentle solution like the vinegar and water method, and blot the stain rather than rubbing it.


    Blot the stain with a clean cloth dampened with vinegar and water, then gently brush the area with a soft-bristled brush. Wool is another delicate fabric that requires special care when treating stains. Avoid using hot water or harsh chemicals, as these can cause the fibers to shrink or become misshapen. Instead, use a gentle solution and a soft-bristled brush to work the stain out of the fabric.

    Dos and Don'ts When Removing Deodorant Stains

    To ensure the best results when removing deodorant stains, keep these dos and don'ts in mind:


    • Act quickly - the sooner you treat the stain, the easier it will be to remove. Deodorant stains can set into the fabric over time, making them more difficult to eliminate. By treating the stain as soon as possible, you increase your chances of successfully removing it.
    • Test any solution on a small, hidden area of the garment first. This will help you ensure that the solution doesn't cause any damage or discoloration to the fabric before applying it to the stain itself.
    • Follow the care instructions on your garment's label. Different fabrics may have specific requirements for washing and stain removal, so it's important to adhere to these guidelines to avoid damaging your clothing.


    • Use hot water, as it can set the stain. Hot water can cause the proteins in the stain to coagulate, making the mark more difficult to remove. Always use cold or lukewarm water when treating deodorant stains.
    • Put the garment in the dryer until the stain is completely removed. The heat from the dryer can set the stain, making it nearly impossible to remove. Make sure the stain is gone before drying the garment.
    • Use bleach on colored fabrics, as it can cause discoloration. Bleach is a powerful stain remover, but it can also strip color from fabrics. When treating deodorant stains on colored clothing, stick to gentler, color-safe methods
    With these tips and tricks, you'll be able to keep your shirts looking their best, no matter how much deodorant you use! Remember, a little prevention and quick action can go a long way in maintaining your fabulous wardrobe! By understanding the causes of deodorant stains, using the right treatment methods for your fabric type, and following the dos and don'ts of stain removal, you can confidently rock your favorite tops without worrying about unsightly marks.

    Article by:

    Gina Kuyers

    Gina Kuyers is the founder of Luxeire. The idea for Luxeire came out of founder Gina’s frustration with the discomfort and high maintenance of beautiful clothing. With a 20-year career and PhD in school psychology, Gina spent decades applying research to real-world problem solving. She brought these well-honed skills to designing and producing a line of elevated wardrobe staples.

    Gina grew up in West Michigan where she attended Calvin College graduating with a degree in education. She continued her education at Fordham where she received her PHD in school psychology. Gina and her husband, David, have four adult children and live in New Jersey—just a short ferry ride from the Luxeire studio in New York City.