Every guy has experienced it. You go out in the heat, work up a sweat, and after a few weeks that light shirt you’ve been wearing develops gross yellow sweat stains in the underarms. Don’t worry. It’s actually extremely common for those who wear antiperspirant. It’s caused by a reaction between the aluminum inside antiperspirants and your own sweat.
Luckily you can fight these unsightly pit stains on two fronts. Here, we’ll tell you how to remove sweat stains from your favorite clothes, as well as how to prevent them altogether by adjusting the products in your dopp kit. Keep scrolling to find out the right way to reclaim your clothes and conquer sweat stains for good.
What Causes Sweat Stains?
Those annoying yellow pit stains on your t-shirts? They’re caused by a chemical reaction between your sweat and one or more ingredients in your antiperspirant, especially aluminum. They mix with proteins from your sweat and then bond to clothing, causing a build up that yellows over time.
The good news is they’re not permanent. There are several ways you can remove them.
How to Get Sweat Stains Out of a White Shirt
Your yellow, pit stained clothes aren’t ruined! You can still salvage them by removing the stains left behind by the aluminum in antiperspirant. Depending on how long the stain has been around, there are several different solutions you can try. Here’s where to start:
- First, Treat With Vinegar
- For bad stains, try baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
- If that doesn’t work, soak the shirt even longer
Dilute two tablespoons of regular white vinegar in one cup of room temperature water. Use a dry, clean cloth to apply the mixture to the stain, rubbing gently. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes before adding it to the washing machine with cold water. Repeat this process until the stain disappears. Dry only when the stain is gone.
In a bowl, mix one part baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide until it forms a paste. With your fingers, rub the paste into your stains before washing on cold.
For heavy duty stains, soak them for 20 minutes in a mixture of one cup white vinegar to two cups of water. Then squeeze out excess water and apply a paste of a half-cup baking soda with one tablespoon of salt and one teaspoon hydrogen peroxide. Rub vigorously into the stain before washing with like colors.
Tips for Preventing Pit Stains Deodorant Stains
So, it’s possible to salvage your clothes, but why should you have to? There are some really easy ways to rid yourself of yellow stains for good. The best way to do that is to never get them in the first place. You can switch up your grooming routine, wear another layer of protection, and attack future stains before they set in. Here’s what you need to know.
Use deodorant that doesn't stain clothes
The easiest way to avoid pit stains is to remove aluminum from the equation altogether. Try swapping your antiperspirant for a natural deodorant that uses naturally derived ingredients to fight odor and sweat.
At Oars + Alps, we use ingredients like Corn Starch and Arrowroot Powder in our natural deodorants to fight sweat stains naturally, with no reactive metals. The gentle formula leaves you smelling great with less sweat—and it doesn’t leave any stains behind at all. There’s even an unscented option made with prebiotics for sensitive skin.
Wear an undershirt
Another way to prevent sweat stains is to make sure your deodorant or antiperspirant don’t mix with sweat. For that, you can wear an undershirt, especially one that’s sweat-proof, to keep your metal-based antiperspirant totally separate from the proteins in your sweat. Better still, you’ll have less laundry to do and won’t have to keep replacing your shirts every few months.
Wash shirts as soon as possible after wearing
Yet another method of preventing pit stains is washing them away before they have a time to react with your antiperspirant and bond to your clothes. To do this, wash them as soon as possible after working up a sweat. You can also pre-treat really bad stains for 15-20 minutes before putting them in the wash. Be sure to follow the directions on pretreatments and always spot check a product to make sure they won’t discolor your garment.
Another tip: Don’t try to solve the problem with bleach. It whitens unstained garments, but it will actually make pit stains worse. This is especially true on fabrics with stretch, as well as wool, leather, and silk.
Keep Your Shirts Safe from Sweat Stains
Again, there are lots of ways to get rid of sweat stains on clothes, but our recommended method (for your shirts and your health!) is to swap your antiperspirant for a naturally derived deodorant from Oars + Alps. See all of our natural deodorants that won’t stain your clothes here.
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