How to Get Rid of Armpit Stains and Sweat Stains
Eliminate Sweaty Rings From Sheets, Pillow Cases, and Hats
You don't need special stain removers or strong chemicals to remove sweat stains on clothing, bedding, and other fabrics. Even if you have armpit stains changing the color of the underarm part of t-shirts, causing yellowing or darkening, there's an easy solution.
Never use hot water or toss in the dryer until the stain has been removed, as the heat can set the stain making it harder to remove or permanent. Do not use chlorine bleach, as the reaction between bleach and the minerals from sweat can actually make the stains worse.
Learn which simple ingredients or ordinary laundry products can eliminate those discoloration rings and the steps you can take to remove them.
How to Remove Underarm Stains and Odor From Clothes
The 12 Best Laundry Stain Removers of 2023, Tested and ReviewedRead Now
The 8 Best Clothes-Drying Racks of 2023Read Now
The 10 Best Laundry Detergents of 2023, Tested and ReviewedRead Now
Best Dry Cleaning Delivery ServicesRead Now
The Best Dish SoapsRead Now
The Best Laundry Stain RemoversRead Now
Why Does Sweat Leave Stains?
Sweat contains high concentrations of salt and other minerals from our bodies. When it soaks into the fabric of clothing, bedding, and even pillowcases, this can change the color of the material. Your favorite black shirt may have white rings in the underarm area, or your bright white clothing can even turn yellow. However, sweat isn't the only cause of the stain.
When your clothes have sweat stains around the underarms, the real cause of these unsightly marks is a mixture of the minerals in your sweat mixed with the ingredients in antiperspirant or deodorant (primarily aluminum). This combination creates yellow stains on white clothes and discolors the armpit areas of colored clothes. When dealing with sweat and deodorant marks on clothing, treating the stains early is key. Once these inevitable spots appear on your clothes and bedding, it's best to rinse them in cold water before they dry completely.
|Stain type||Protein and chemical|
|Detergent type||Enzyme-based laundry detergent|
|Water temperature||Cold to warmest safe for fabrics|
|Cycle type||Varies depending on the type of fabric|
Before You Begin
Test stain removers and cleaners, no matter how innocent they seem, on colored clothes before using them on sweat stains. Hydrogen peroxide, for example, is a mild bleaching agent that can lighten colored fabric that is not colorfast. Start by dampening a white cloth or a cotton swab with peroxide (or another stain remover or cleaner you'd like to use), then dab it onto an interior seam, hem, or inconspicuous area of the fabric to make sure no color comes off. If you see some color on the cloth or swab, use vinegar or a commercial stain remover that's safe for colors instead of the instructions below.
When to Call a Professional
If the stained garment is labeled as "dry clean only," take the item to a professional dry cleaner as soon as possible, and point out and identify the stain.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Sponge or toothbrush
- Large basin or sink
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Enzyme-based stain remover (optional)
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent
- White vinegar (optional)
How to Remove Sweat Stains From Clothes, Sheets, and More
Sponge the Stain
Mix baking soda with enough water or hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Rub the mixture onto the stained area, using a sponge or an old toothbrush. Alternatively, you can sponge the stain with undiluted white vinegar. Allow the item to sit with the solution for up to 30 minutes.
Rinse out the solution thoroughly with cold or lukewarm water.
Do not rinse with hot water because it can set the stain.
Pretreat With Enzymes
Apply an enzyme-based laundry stain remover or laundry detergent (Tide and Persil are heavy-duty detergents with enzyme-based formulas) and let it sit for five minutes or as directed.
Wash as Usual
Wash the item as you normally would, using the hottest water possible that is still at a safe temperature for the fabric. Do not use hot water or toss in the dryer until the stain has been completely removed.
Line Dry the Garment
Let the clothing air dry, then check for any evidence of the sweat stain. If the stain remains, repeat the treatment as before.
Additional Tips for Handling Sweat Stains
As a last resort for stubborn sweat stains, start back at Step 1 and try an alternate stain fighter. For example, if for your first try you used a vinegar soak, try again with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste (unless, of course, your garment failed the colorfast test). Never use chlorine bleach, as the reaction between bleach and the minerals from sweat can actually make the stains worse. Once you know the sweat stain is gone for good, you can resume drying the clothing in a dryer.