How to Remove Armpit Stains Easily and Naturally

Do you feel frustrated by those yellow deodorant stains that ruin your favorite shirts? Learn what causes them, how to remove armpit stains, and how to prevent them in the future.


We’ve all been there: holding a crisp white shirt that has yellow, stiff (almost crunchy) stains in the armpit areas.


Every wife and mother who does laundry knows about the frustrating challenge of getting pit stains out of those nice white shirts. They’re gross-looking and embarrassing, and they will ruin your favorite shirts.


Commercial stain removers don’t work (I’ve tried!). Is there a way to salvage those shirts and avoid throwing them in the trash?


Believe it or not, removing armpit stains is difficult, but possible. If you want to save your favorite shirts, check out how to remove armpit stains below.


white tank top with yellow armpit stains

This page may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.


What Causes Armpit Stains?


In order to understand how to get rid of pit stains, we have to take a very quick look at what causes them. 


Deodorant stains are caused when underarm sweat (which contains more protein than sweat on other parts of the body) reacts with the aluminum in your deodorant. The effect of this reaction is a yellow stain.


How to Remove Armpit Stains on White Shirts


I have tried many commercial armpit stain removers with zero success. Then I set out to find a DIY version that actually did work. I knew that whatever I used needed to have an acid in it to break the bond between the protein and aluminum.


I tried several different methods, including using lemon juice and one method that uses crushed aspirin. Each method had some level of effectiveness, but none of them worked as well as the method I’m showing you.


Also read: 21 Simple Laundry Hacks to Make Life Easier

DIY Armpit Stain Remover


Here’s how to make a simple homemade stain remover that will bust those deodorant stains right out from your favorite shirts.


Combine in a spray bottle:


  • 1 part Dawn (the blue kind)
  • 2 parts hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tbsp baking soda (optional)*


*Over time, I have seen people recommend using washing soda instead of baking soda. The idea behind this is that when washing soda and baking soda are mixed together, they basically create a homemade Oxiclean. 


I have had great success with baking soda and haven’t tried using washing soda. If you decide to try it, let me know how it worked for you in the comments!


How to Use this DIY Stain Remover


Using this stain remover is very easy to do. Basically, all you have to do is spray it on and let the soap and hydrogen peroxide do the hard work. Here’s a quick step-by-step run down.


  1. Spray this solution onto the armpit areas of your stained shirts and let them sit for several hours while the solution does its work. 
  2. After it sits for a few hours, you can take a laundry brush (or toothbrush) and scrub the stained areas to help break up the stain.
  3. Next, let the shirt soak in water for an hour or so.
  4. Repeat the process if necessary.
  5. Wash the shirt as normal.


I have tried this on several of our white t-shirts and have been so impressed with the results that I found myself shaking my head in wonder at how such a simple DIY solution can have a big impact when commercial products didn’t! It’s just a testament to the wonder of natural products, right?


Tips to Remove Armpit Stains for the Best Results


Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way that might help you troubleshoot any issues you run into.


  • Some deodorant stains have been there for a while and are set thanks to time and drying in the dryer. If you notice the stain is improved but not gone, simply repeat the process.
  • For very tough stains that don’t want to come out, add 1 tbsp of baking soda to your solution and follow the same process.
  • Hydrogen peroxide loses effectiveness in the light, so either make up a batch every time you need to use some or use a brown spray bottle.
  • Do not use chlorine bleach to remove pit stains because it can not only damage your shirts but also cause the stains to look darker.


Does This DIY Armpit Stain Remover Work on Colored Shirts?


Sweat stains in clothes may be most noticeable (and frustrating) in white shirts, but they can also cause problems in colored shirts. I have tried this same method on some of our darker shirts and have been happy with the results. 


I should point out that I haven’t let the spray sit on the clothing for long periods of time (only a couple of hours) because I’m just not 100% confident that the hydrogen peroxide won’t cause fading if left for too long.


How to Prevent Armpit Stains in Shirts


If you want to save yourself some work on removing stains, you can take a few steps to prevent sweat stains from happening. Here are some ideas to help stop yellow pit stains from damaging your shirts:


  • Try to reduce how much you sweat by trimming armpit hair or avoiding foods and drinks that exacerbate sweating such as spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Wash shirts right away after wearing them because stains set into the fabric over time, making them even harder to remove. Even if you don’t have a load of laundry to wash, even just rinsing out your shirt’s armpits with some soapy water in the sink can help prevent the stain from setting until you do laundry.
  • Wear an undershirt to provide a protective layer against sweat. You can wear a basic undershirt or go for a sweat-proof undershirt if you need a little more sweat protection.
  • Eliminate the problem by ditching your aluminum-based deodorant in exchange for an aluminum-free natural deodorant.


I hope that if you’re wondering how to remove armpit stains from your white shirts that you now feel that you have a solid plan for moving forward. I have tried this method to get rid of deodorant stains several times, and while some are more stubborn than others, it works way better than anything I’ve ever found to buy.


More Laundry Help:



  1. Katie S.

    May 24, 2023 at 12:42 pm

    Amazing tips. I am so glad I found this.

  2. shirley S

    May 16, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Stains are the worst. I tried your suggestions and was skeptical, but it worked like a dream.

Leave a Reply