If you’ve noticed yellowing areas under the arms or around the collars of your favorite t-shirts and blouses, you’ll want to know how to get rid of sweat stains. On first seeing them, you probably thought bleach would get them out, right? Think again. Bleach can make sweat stains even worse.
Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of sweat stains using things you probably already have around the house.
How To Get Rid Of Sweat Stains
Surprisingly, what most of us think of as sweat stains weren’t actually caused by sweat. They’re actually a chemical reaction between the aluminum in antiperspirants and your sweat; wear a non-aluminum antiperspirant and you won’t have them. But, since aluminum works to block your sweat glands, many people find antiperspirants without it aren’t as effective. So if you don’t want to change your pit stick, try one of these methods instead.
While doing laundry may give you a headache, the aspirin aren’t for you: they’re for the pit stains. Crush two into powder them stir them into a bowl containing 1/2 cup warm water. Arrange the shirt so the armpits are immersed in the water and let them soak for 4 hours, then launder the shirt using the hottest setting the fabric can handle.
Liquid dish detergent and hydrogen peroxide
The combination of 2 teaspoons liquid dish detergent and 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide is very effective on sweat stains. Rub it into both sides of the fabric and let it sit for an hour, then rinse in warm water and launder as usual. Note: hydrogen peroxide has a bleaching effect, so don’t use this on anything but white shirts.
Lemons and sunlight
Lemon juice has powerful bleaching properties, which is one of the reasons it’s an age-old way of lightening hair and dark spots on the skin. Squeeze some lemon juice on the sweat stains in the morning and put them out in the sun — which also bleaches fabric — and the stains will be gone by the end of the day.
Vinegar, water, baking soda, and salt
Combine 1 cup of warm white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water in a bowl, then soak the shirt in it for a half-hour to counteract the aluminum residue. Meanwhile, make a paste out of 2 tablespoons baking soda, and 1 tablespoon each table salt and hydrogen peroxide. After soaking the shirt, squeeze out the moisture and rub the paste on both sides of the sweat stains. Wait 20 minutes then launder the shirt.
One of the easiest ways to get rid of sweat stains is by stirring 1/4 cup of Oxiclean powder into 4 cups of warm water in a large bowl. Submerge the shirt and let it sit overnight. The next day, after the stains have disappeared, launder the shirt and enjoy that blinding white brightness.
How To Prevent Sweat Stains
Don’t feel like having to get rid of sweat stains week after week? Here are four ways to prevent them without changing your antiperspirant:
• Wear an undershirt: One generation ago it was unheard of for a man to wear a dress shirt without a layer beneath it. That meant a white t-shirt, which these days men pretty much wear as outerwear, too. Yes, those inexpensive undershirts will get sweat stains but the pricey (and more difficult to launder) dress shirt won’t. The solution is to wear them only as undershirts, just like your dad did.
• Go bare there: Miley Cyrus may have made underarm hair temporarily fashionable for women, but hairy armpits lead to more sweat stains. Keep your pits shaved, or at least trimmed, to reduce discoloration.
• Use armpit shields: Protect your finer dresses, blouses, and shirts with sweat-absorbing shields which act as a barrier between your armpits and the fabric. After wearing, either toss (if disposable) or launder the shields. As a bonus, wearing shields with your “dry-clean only” clothes means you can go longer between trips to the cleaners.
• Launder right away: Whenever possible, launder your white t-shirts, dress shirts, and blouses immediately after wearing to stop the aluminum-sweat reaction. If you don’t have time to launder, at least rinse the armpit areas under cold water to remove antiperspirant residue and stop discoloration.
Equipment I’ve Used For This: