How to Remove Yellow Sweat Stains—It Really Works!

Yellow stains on the armpits and collars of shirts are a problem if my inbox is any indication, which I believe it is. And I’ve been avoiding the subject because honestly, it’s kinda’ gross.


I can’t begin to estimate how many messages I’ve received asking for help with getting rid of these stains, but it’s a lot. And now it’s time. Today we’re hitting this topic head-on.

A person preparing food in a kitchen, with Stain and LaundryWhat are these stains?

Curious, isn’t it that ugly yellow stains show up only in the armpit area?

Left untreated, these stains can cause the material to become stiff as if just being yellow isn’t disgusting enough. And crunchy.

When an antiperspirant or deodorant soap meets up with sweat and a cotton undershirt, it becomes a deadly combination to create those stains that appear on white shirts after only a few intense sweats.

The magic formula

Readers tell me they’ve tried everything to get rid of these stains—from vinegar to OxiClean to pouring full-strength bleach on the stains—with no success. That’s just how stubborn these stains can be. But not to worry. There is a simple process that will return your white shirts to a like-new appearance.

A bottle of beer on a table

You’ll need these items

  1. Get a small bowl. Pour in 1 tablespoon Blue Dawn Ultra and 2 tablespoons fresh hydrogen peroxide (available in any supermarket, drugstore, online) and stir with a spoon until well incorporated. Apply to the stain making sure the stained area is supersaturated.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda onto the saturated area. Scrub the stain with the stiff brush and don’t be gentle. This is a stubborn stain and the longer it’s been there and built up over many trips through the laundry, the more stubborn it has become. You want to work the magic combo of Blue Dawn Ultra, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda deep into the garment’s fibers. Make sure you are working beyond the visible margins of the stain so that you are not missing any of it.
  3. Roll up that shirt and allow it to sit for at least an hour—overnight would not be a bad idea. Launder as usual.
  4. Caution: This formula and process will work to get out the stain on colorfast shirts. Not sure if yours is colorfast? test first in an inconspicuous place first to see. Then you can decide which is worse: the stain or the after-effect if any.

*Blue Dawn Ultra (also sold as Blue Dawn Ultra Platinum) contains biodegradable surfactants, which are enzymes. This makes the Ultra version of Blue Dawn super powerful and effective against protein-based stains including but not limited to blood, bodily fluids, deodorant, sweat, milk, eggs, and baby formula.

How to avoid yellow armpit stains

Since the aluminum in deodorants and antiperspirants is the culprit here, consider a product that is aluminum-free. These deodorants, which are aluminum-free, score well with high reviews.

If you need the extra protection of an antiperspirant, you may want to consider Klima Hyperdri Antiperspirant, the world’s first aluminum-free antiperspirant/deodorant. The reviews are promising. According to the manufacturer, it takes one week of daily use to see a decrease in perspiration and four weeks of daily use to achieve full protection.


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First published: 1-16-19; Updated 1-18-20

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11 replies
    • Mary Hunt says:

      I wouldn’t recommend a substitution. Blue Dawn contains more surfactants than any other … including the other “colors” of Dawn. Stick with what we know works!

  1. Stephanie says:

    Hello! I can’t wait to try this out. I just want to add, I’ve been using an aluminum free deodorant for three years now, and I still get those stains. So please don’t rule that out as a culprit!

  2. Priscilla Khirfan says:

    I have been successful getting yellow stains out by soaking overnight in Iron Out. Follow directions on container.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Hi Barbara. Well, I dont have a nylon down jacket with a yellow stained collar to test! However, if I did, I would surely give it a try. Just make sure you test in an inconspicuous place first. And let us know what happens. Take pics if you can.


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