How to Get Deodorant Stains Out of Clothing


It’s a story we know too well - you reach for your favorite shirt only to find it with stained armpits! Deodorant stains are so common, and yet can be so tricky to remove. But don’t worry; with the right preventative moves, a little patience and the right techniques, you can tackle any deodorant stain and restore your clothing to its former glory. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the four different kinds of deodorant stains, and explain the best ways to get rid of them. So let’s get started and save those clothes! 

The Different Kinds of Deodorant Stains 

When it comes to deodorant stains, there are three different types. The first type is an oily residue, which is left behind when antiperspirant or deodorant with an oily base is applied. This type of stain often appears as a grayish, dark discoloration on clothing, and can be more difficult to remove. 

The second type of deodorant stain is a white residue on the outside of clothing, which is left behind when a deodorant with a white active ingredient, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide or baking soda is applied. This type of stain often appears as a white powdery residue on clothing, and can usually be removed manually and with a simple washing. 

The third type of deodorant stain is an aluminum stain, which is left behind when antiperspirant with an aluminum active ingredient is applied. This type of stain can be more difficult to remove, and often appears as a yellowish discoloration

Now that we’ve identified the four different types of deodorant stains, let’s take a look at the steps you can take to get rid of them.

Prevention of Deodorant Stains

You know the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and this is without a doubt true for ALL deodorant stains. All of the three stains mentioned above can be prevented or significantly limited by correctly applying your deodorant. Overapplication is the number one driver of armpit deodorant stains in clothing. First off, all natural deodorant products are usually made from some type of oil and wax mixture. Oils are tough to get out of fabric. When you over apply deodorant, it can't absorb into the skin fast enough and inevitably ends up on your clothes which is the beginning of a stain. 

The second factor with prevention of deodorant stains in clothing is applying deodorant to wet underarms. The best time to apply deodorant is actually at night before we go to bed. At night, our body temperature is generally at its lowest point and our physical activity is at its lowest point of the day which gives time for the product to soak into the skin and for the active ingredients to provide the most protection.

Often, we see people that get stuck in the routine of applying deodorant after they get out of the shower in the morning. This is more of a factor with natural deodorant but true even for conventional products as well. When you apply an oil based deodorant to wet skin, the oils cannot pass through the water and end up loosely attached to the skin making them more likely to rub off on the skin - correct amount applied or not. To prevent deodorant stains, apply the right amount at the right time. Follow manufacturing directions.

How to Get Rid of Deodorant Stains 

Ok so you read this article a bit late for prevention. We’ve got some stains to deal with. When it comes to removing deodorant stains, it’s important to act fast. The first step is to scrape off any remaining bits of deodorant (if present) from the surface of the fabric. This will help you avoid any further staining. Once the deodorant has been scraped off, it’s time to treat the stain. 

For oily residue stains, start by applying a detergent directly to the stain and rubbing it in gently. You can also try to mix baking soda in a 3:1 ratio paste with vinegar, lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide (this is the nuclear option). Then, let the garment sit in hot water for an hour or more and then scrub and wash the shirt as normal. Repeat until the stain is gone. This isn't the easiest of stains to remove. Also, if you do decide to go nuclear and use hydrogen peroxide, know that it does have a bleaching effect and so you may not want to try it on clothes that aren't white.

For white residue stains, these stains tend to be the easiest to remove. You typically see them on the outside of clothes and present as a white/clear powdery looking stain in the armpit. You’ll usually find these stains after they’ve been washed and dried and you’re folding them. First, take the two ends of the stain and rub them directly together. This will usually remove the majority of the stain. Then, put the item in the washing machine on a warm setting and use an oxygen-based bleach to get rid of any remaining residue. 

For the third type of deodorant stains on shirts, yellow, aluminum stains, apply a detergent directly to the stain and rub it in gently. Soak the fabric in a mixture of warm water and white vinegar for 30 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary. These are very hard to remove. These stains are caused when the aluminum in antiperspirants react with compounds in sweat and leave those unsightly yellow stains in clothing. The best way to prevent these stains is simply to ditch your unhealthy antiperspirant with a natural, aluminum free deodorant such as Green Theory Naturals’ probiotic aluminum free deodorants. If you’ve made it this far and would like to make the switch to natural deodorant, take 20% of your entire first purchase from Green Theory Naturals with code GTPITSTAINS at checkout (no deodorant purchase is required).

Deodorant stains can be tricky to remove, but with the right techniques and the right product, you can get the job done. We hope this article has given you the confidence to tackle any deodorant stain, and restore your clothing to its former glory. If you need a hand with the tough stains, reach for Green Theory Naturals Stain Remover and you won’t be disappointed. Not only is it super effective, it’s also free from harsh chemicals and is easy on the environment. So go ahead and give it a try!

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