How to Get Deodorant Stains Out of Shirts

The only thing worse than armpit sweat and odor are the stains they leave behind–which anybody who’s used products designed to keep smell and perspiration at bay has likely experienced.

Not only are deodorant stains embarrassing and distracting, but they can also end up costing you a small fortune to repair ruined clothing.  

Today we’re talking about how to deal with unsightly deodorant stains, so you never have to be embarrassed or replace your clothes again. We’re going to discuss what causes stains, how to prevent them, and what to do if you do fall victim to these clothing blemishes.

Why Does Deodorant Stain Some Shirts?

Absolutely anyone can imagine the following scenario: you’re running late for work and frantically trying to get out the door in time. You apply some deodorant and throw on your black shirt in a rush, only to look in the mirror and see more deodorant on your shirt than on your body. You go to the closet to change wondering just how late you’ll be.

Everyone’s experienced this particular scenario because our first line of defense against body odor is not without its issues. Deodorant leaves chalky marks on the skin that are easily transferable, and that can stain clothing with white streaks.

And don’t think that antiperspirant is any less guilty. Sure, antiperspirant won’t create a trail of white marks running down your favorite shirt, but it causes another equally as unsightly problem. It absorbs into clothing, and when combined with sweat, antiperspirant produces hard-to-remove yellow stains.

Some Guidelines to Follow When Removing Stains

If despite being careful to avoid them, you’ve fallen victim to unsightly deodorant stains, there are some ways you can remove them. We’ll get into several of these techniques below, but first, here are a couple of general guidelines to follow when removing stains.

The first is to use a treatment on stains before putting the article of clothing in the wash. Without following this first step, the washer can set the stain and make it much harder, or even impossible, to get out.

The next guideline is equally as necessary, and it’s to make sure to read the care instructions on your clothing and treat an inconspicuous area first. By patch testing a less noticeable area, you may be saving your favorite shirt from being trashed.

Natural Methods of Removing Deodorant Stains

If you don’t have any stronger stain removing products at home, that’s okay because you’ve likely got several items in your house that work wonders as natural stain removers. Give one of the following methods a try and see which one works for you.


Your go-to headache cure may also become your go-to cure for stained clothing. Just crush an aspirin using a mortar and pestle until you have a powder. Mix the powder into half a cup of hot water, apply directly to the stain, and let the mixture sit for a few hours. Then you can put the shirt in the wash as usual.

Dish Soap

You probably already know that dish soap works well when it comes to stain removal. To use this method, mix one part dish soap with two parts of hydrogen peroxide. Scrub it on the stain, let it sit for an hour, and then wash as normal.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is another excellent way to get rid of those pit stains. Mix two tablespoons of vinegar with one cup of water and soak your clothes with the mixture.

Baking Soda & Water

With baking soda, you’ll want to add three parts baking soda to one part water and scrub it into the stain. To give this method a little extra kick, add in a dash of hydrogen peroxide.

Water & Lemon Juice

The acid in lemon helps fight stains. Use equal parts water and lemon juice to get the required effect, and scrub it into the stain.


You can use salt just like lemon juice, though you may need to put your elbow into the stain a bit more. This method is less effective on deodorant marks, but it can help with yellow stains from antiperspirants.

Meat Tenderizer

We know using meat tenderizer on your clothes may seem funny, but give this method a try. All you have to do is wet the stain with warm water and apply a good amount of meat tenderizer. Work it into the stain, let it sit for an hour, and then wash as usual.


Ammonia is excellent for stain removal, and it works well not just on sweat marks, but also with tougher substances to remove like blood and urine. Use it on the affected area with a half-strength solution of ammonia and water before washing. Don’t use it with bleach.

Chemical Methods for Removing Deodorant Stains

If you’d rather go the chemical way of removing deodorant stains, many great products can do the job. Here are a few of our favorites.


Everyone’s heard of OxiClean, and it’s a ubiquitous household product for a reason–it works well. Just the same as with most of our natural methods of stain removal, with OxiClean all you have to do is spray it onto the stained area, let it sit for several minutes, and then throw it in the wash as you normally would.


Deo-Go is specially formulated to get rid of armpit stains; in fact, they guarantee 100 percent that their product will remove discoloration. Their promise? That you’ll get rid of deodorant stains and not your shirts.

Krud Kutter

Krud Kutter is an all-purpose cleaner that works on armpit stains, too. Spray it on the affected area, let sit for ten minutes, and wash as normal.

Prevention Is Key: 6 Methods to Prevent Deodorant Stains

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to stubborn smudges. If deodorant stains are a concern for you, stop them before they start with these six tricks.

1. Let Your Product Dry

Wait a few minutes after you apply your deodorant or your antiperspirant to put your shirt on. Doing so will allow the product to dry thoroughly, which not only lets it do its job better, you’ll also transfer less product to your clothes.   

2. Apply Antiperspirant at Night

You should be applying antiperspirant at night for the best results anyway. Another plus to using it at night is that doing so will help prevent yellow stains because the antiperspirant will be fully absorbed by the time you get dressed.

3. Shave Your Armpits

Underarm hair is a haven for dirt, bacteria, and sweat, which cause sweat stains. Keeping your armpits clean shaven can help cut down on those problems, as well as odor.  

4. Don’t Overdo It

We know how crucial smelling good and being sweat free is, which is why we understand the temptation to use a lot of product. That said, try not to overdo it because more product means more possibility of it getting transferred to your clothing.

5. Play Around with Products

Some deodorants stain less than others, so if you’re having problems with staining no matter what you do, try a new one. Look to the internet for recommendations, and be aware that stains will always be more visible on dark colors like black.

6. Protect Your Shirts

Another great way to avoid armpit stains is to pair a cheap cotton undershirt under your fancier dress shirts. Or, if an undershirt won’t fit because of tailored or fitted shirts, sweat guards are your best bet for avoiding stains.

Stop Stains in Their Tracks

What should you do in the unfortunate event that you do get a deodorant stain on your shirt before work one morning? If you see it, treat it as soon as possible! Letting the stain sit for longer only makes it worse.

You’ve probably heard that some everyday household products also work on deodorant stains, and you’re right. Try using one of the following products on fresh stains:

  • Pantyhose
  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Baby wipes
  • Makeup remover
  • The foam from dry cleaner hangers

If the stain is resistant to one of these methods, it’s time to bring in reinforcements. Hand wash the shirt with detergent and cold water to stop it from setting, and if you have time, put it through the wash.

Natural Deodorants–A Fantastic Alternative

The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. If you’re having trouble finding a traditional deodorant that doesn’t stain your shirts, it may be time to go a new route in your hygiene routine.

Aspel makes 100 percent natural spray deodorants that will not only keep your clothing clean, but they will also provide a light fragrance to keep you smelling great all day long. They’ve got no aluminum and no parabens, and they’re cruelty-free, which means now’s the perfect time to make the switch.

You’ll probably end up breaking up with your current deodorant, but don’t worry–we won’t tell.

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