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.

Upset girl looking at tshirt with yellow armpit stain after laundry


I can’t begin to estimate how many email 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.

Yellow pit stains happen when the protein in odorless, colorless human sweat reacts with the aluminum in antiperspirant deodorants. 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 like-new appearance.


How to remove yellow armpit stains

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 and stir with a spoon until well incorporated. Apply to the stain making sure the stained area is supersaturated. Caution: Hydrogen Peroxide loses its strength after 6 months, so 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 to 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.

RELATED: 25 Remarkable Ways to Use Blue Dawn Outside the Kitchen

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.

Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant

Kopari Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Tom’s of Maine Natural Aluminum-Free Deodorant Stick

Art of Sport Men’s Deodorant Clear Aluminum-Free Stick

Soft & Dri Aluminum-Free Deodorant

If you need the extra protection of an antiperspirant, you may want to consider Klima Hyperdri Antiperspirant Serum, 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.


PREVIOUSLY: 8 Quick and Easy Tips to Slash Your Home Heating Costs

Question: Have you ever suffered from the heartbreak of yellow armpit stains? How have you dealt with it? Respond in the comments area below.

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10 replies
  1. Jule barta says:

    I have been using this formula for years and it works great, not just on pit stains, but all kinds of stains. I have even had success with old stubborn stains I thought would never get out. I use it on everything and have never no fabric has ever bleached or faded. To help prevent stains, I learned to blot baby powder on the inside pit area of my light shirts. This simple preventative step has saved me a ton of time stain fighting before laundry.

  2. Alicia Delgado Terry says:

    Can this formula be used on colored clothing? I’m wondering because I always thought that hydrogen peroxide had a some sort of a bleaching effect.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Alicia Delgado Terry … Yes! You are right about the slight bleaching properties of HP, however my research says that it is not usually a problem with darker colored T-shirts, etc. HOWEVER … always test in an inconspicuous place, first. PLEASE!! and Good Luck. Let us know how it turns out for you on a colored item.

  3. jimijean says:

    It’s Me Again Margaret — 50+ years ago I had a baby (1 of 3) who was a spitter. Left really ugly yellow stains particularly on undershirts. I used a soak of Electrasol dishwasher soap and Clorox bleach diluted with hot water. Worked wonders. I tried it on T-shirts and it worked wonders there also. Electrasol now appears as Finish. Go figure.

    And while I’m at it, whatever happened to a room spray labelled “Oust”. Best stuff ever especially for lingering tobacco odor. And before Nok Out of course. I think Oust got sucked up by Glade, which it had greatly out-performed and they lost the formula fairly quickly! Is a moot question now that Nok Out has arrived but nevertheless I am curious.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Hmnmm … not sure I’ve ever heard of Oust! Sounds very interesting, tho. Thanks for those tips re: Electrasol turned Finish! I’ll check it out!

    • JN says:

      Since dishwasher soaps have had major reformulations since the prohibition of phosphates, I don’t think the formulas using them for laundry stains work as well as they used to.


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