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How to Remove Deodorant Stains From Clothes

Man with deodorant stains on the armpit area of his blue shirt.
AJR_photo / Shutterstock

You’re getting ready for a date. You’ve gone to painstaking detail to make sure you look your absolute best and even bought yourself a new pair of jeans and a shirt to meet up for drinks. And that’s when you spot it – the leopard-like stripes of deodorant marking up both sides of your new shirt.

You curse the reflection in the mirror because this happens every time you get dressed for a date, get ready for work, or toss on gym clothes. In following your typical preparation routine, you slap on underarm deodorant or antiperspirant right after getting out of the shower and don’t allow time for the antiperspirant to dry before tossing on a shirt.

Here’s the good news — changing into a new shirt isn’t necessary unless your deodorant is made from spackle or exterior paint. Removing deodorant stains and streaks from clothing is a quick process if you follow the correct steps.

Easy Ways to Remove Deodorant From Clothing

White and black shirts with deodorant stains.
Todja / Shutterstock

Here are a few remedies for removing deodorant streaks from shirts using stuff hanging around the house that should get the job done, won’t take much time, and won’t make you late for your date.

  • Damp Washcloth: One of the easiest solutions to removing deodorant from clothing is a damp washcloth, but here are a few things to keep in mind. First, use a fresh washcloth. Don’t run the chance of soap or the scent of dirty or musty towels compounding the issue and making the stain worse.Next, be sure the washcloth is only slightly damp and not soaking wet. You don’t need massive, still-visible water spots on your shirt when you show up to the bar. Finally, don’t rub the washcloth into the stain. This move will only cause the deodorant to smudge, spread, and get caked into the fabric. Just dab the stains with the wet cloth until they go away.
  • Body Wipes: Face and body wipes are the perfect tool for removing fresh antiperspirant stains since they don’t contain any harsh chemicals that further stain the fabric. They’ll also leave the shirt smelling fresh as a newborn. Now, if you’re a single guy with no baby in the house, you’re probably thinking that this tip is pointless, but baby wipes are a bathroom essential that every guy should have on hand.
  • Used Dryer Sheets: There’s probably a science behind this trick, but we’re in too much of a rush to explain because you’re going to be late for drinks. A used dryer sheet will remove the chalky deodorant streaks in a snap. Just be sure the dryer sheets aren’t fresh from the box. A new dryer sheet may leave some white residue of its own on darker fabrics. Also, be sure that the dryer sheet is completely dry. Just grab one out of the dryer because we all know you let them pile up inside for a couple of loads.
  • Nylons: Alright, these probably aren’t lying around the house until you’re dating a woman or have a spouse, but nylon stockings help remove deodorant stains. Roll up the pantyhose into a ball and rub away at the white marks until they’re gone.

Ways to Remove Deodorant Stains From Clothes Before Washing

A deodorant stain on a white shirt on a wooden surface.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you don’t have time to remove the stain or don’t realize that the deodorant has stained your clothing until days after, here are some ways to remove the unwanted streaks before washing. Many of these tricks will also work for the staining under the armpits. If the armpits area of your favorite shirts is yellower than a chain-smoker’s teeth, try a few of these home remedies to remove the discoloring.

  • Salt: Yes, salt. Wet the stained area and sprinkle salt on, Salt Bae-style, or mix salt and water and dab it on the deodorant stains. Let the salt mixture soak in for as long as possible, at least a few hours, and repeat if necessary.
  • Vinegar: Combine four cups of warm water with one cup of white vinegar. Put the stained area into the vinegar mix and rub out the stain. Wash the shirt as usual to remove any faint vinegar smells.
  • Baking soda: This works to remove sweat stains and possibly stains from chain-smoker’s teeth. Mix three parts baking soda and one part water to make a paste. Rub the paste into the stain and let sit. Follow the washing directions for the shirt as usual.
  • Lemon juice: Yes, just straight lemon juice. No mixing involved. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice — or buy lemon juice if you’re super lazy — and squirt it on the stain and let dry before tossing into the wash.

How to Prevent Deodorant From Staining Your Clothes

An opened deodorant stick on top of a white shirt.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The best way to avoid those ivory strokes of deodorant across your new black sweater — that you didn’t notice until a half-hour into your date — involves a little preparation.

  • Give deodorant enough time to dry before getting dressed. If you’re really in a hurry, hit your pits with some hairdryer action but not for too long, that will make you sweat more.
  • Don’t go overboard with the application. Just two to three swipes should do the trick. If you think you need more, maybe your deodorant isn’t strong enough.
  • Switch to a gel or spray deodorant.
  • Put on the deodorant after you put on a shirt. Just leave it out on the bathroom counter as a reminder.

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Chris Illuminati
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Chris Illuminati is the author of five books and his writing has been featured on websites such as Rolling Stone, Men’s…
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