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How to Remove Yellow Sweat Stains—It Really Works!

Yellow armpit stains on white 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.

A person preparing food in a kitchen, with Stain and Laundry

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.

What 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 meets up with sweat and a cotton undershirt, it becomes a deadly combination creates those stains that appear on your white undershirts or dress 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 shirts to a like-new appearance.

A bottle of beer on a table

You’ll need these items

  • Blue Dawn
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • baking soda
  • stiff brush

Get a small bowl. Pour in 1 tablespoon Dawn 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.

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Pro tip

Hydrogen Peroxide loses its strength after 6 months, or even sooner, if not kept in a cool, dark place. For best results, make sure it’s fresh.

Next, sprinkle baking soda onto the 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, 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 the stain.

Roll that shirt up and allow it to sit for at least an hour—overnight would not be a bad idea. Launder as usual.

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.


First published: 1-16-19; Updated 6-16-20

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5 replies
  1. Annetta Kelley says:

    Years ago, I bought two blouses at a neighbor’s garage sale. It also had under arm terrible stains. So I mixed baking soda and white vinegar into a paste and took a toothbrush and worked it into the stains. Had to reapply twice before they came out, but they did! Your idea is better. By the way, my neighbor was upset that they looked so good!!

  2. Lisa H says:

    The Speed Stick deodorant in the Ocean Surf (blue gel) scent is aluminum-free as well. I think there is one other Speed Stick scent that is colored that may be aluminum-free, too. I believe any of their white formulas have aluminum in them. Since I developed kidney disease 6 years ago, I stay away from deodorants with aluminum.

  3. Judy Harding says:

    Saw this hint earlier on Mary’s posts – the Arm & Hammer deodorant really helps. Not seeing the staining I used to get.


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