How to Remove Deodorant Marks From a Shirt

deodorant marks on a garment

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Deodorant can readily cause white streaks and stains on your clothes as you pull a garment over your head. Fortunately, there are some quick and effective ways to remove deodorant marks. Use these tips to help you get rid of deodorant streaks and stains on clothes and prevent them in the first place.

Removing Deodorant Marks and Stains on Clothes

Most deodorant streaks are simple to remove, and you don't even have to take off your shirt. Here are four easy methods:

  • Rub the deodorant residue with a pair of pantyhose or knee-highs. Just use some brisk wrist action; no heavy scrubbing needed.
  • Grab a piece of foam rubber from a dry cleaning hanger, and rub the deodorant.
  • Erase all traces of deodorant with a new or used fabric dryer sheet by rubbing with quick, short strokes. A used dryer sheet is best because a new one might leave some white residue on dark fabrics. Make sure that the dryer sheet is completely dry.
  • If you don't have anything on hand, grab your shirt and briskly rub the fabric together against itself to loosen the deodorant residue. Then, brush it away. Use this as a last resort because the rubbing can cause wrinkles and even stretch or snag some delicate fabrics.

There also are commercial deodorant mark removal products that you can purchase. Consider the Hollywood Deodorant Remover Sponge; Gal Pal Deodorant Be-Gone Removing Sponge; Pure Style Girlfriend's Tidy Up Deodorant Removing Sponges; Skid Out Deodorant, Drip, and Drool Erasers; Braza Wipe Out Deodorant Erasers; and Scotch Essentials White Mark Eraser. Any of these tools can easily be stored in a desk, tote bag, or car to have on hand. All of these commercial sponges are essentially just foam rubber. The key is to rub the deodorant with a dry, textured material that will loosen the residue without damaging the fabric.

If you use a wet baby wipe or stain removal wipe to tackle the deodorant residue, the moisture in the wipe can sometimes adhere the waxy deodorant even tighter to the fabric. Plus, you'll have a damp spot to contend with on your shirt. If you must use a wipe, first try to remove as much moisture from it as possible.

Always launder your clothing as soon as possible, even if it looks clean, after using a deodorant stain removal method. Laundering will remove all traces of the deodorant residue and prevent staining. If deodorant residue becomes embedded in clothing fibers, you'll begin to see yellowing or stiffness in the fabric—especially on underarm areas. And the residue can potentially trap in bacteria. The yellowing happens as your body salts react with the aluminum-based antiperspirants that are contained in some deodorants.


Watch Now: How to Remove Underarm Stains and Odor From Clothes

Prevent Deodorant Marks on Clothes

Here are five tips to prevent deodorant marks on clothes:

  • Allow the deodorant you apply to your armpits to dry completely before dressing. If you must speed up the process, a quick blast of warm air from a hairdryer can help.
  • Avoid applying too much deodorant. If it is not working and you think more is better, try changing brands instead.
  • Switch from a solid white product to a clear gel deodorant formula. Aerosol sprays are also a good choice and less likely to leave marks on clothes.
  • Slip on an undershirt first to prevent staining your outer shirt.
  • As you pull a knit shirt or dress over your head, roll up the bottom hem outward before putting it on. Once it's on, unroll the hem. If you've gotten any deodorant on the fabric, it will be on the inside where no one will see it.

Some people recommend putting on the shirt before applying deodorant then reaching under the shirt to roll on deodorant to the armpits. That might prevent stripes, but you're also going to have lots of deodorant residue on the underarms. And that can lead to odor and staining.