How to Remove Sweat Stains from White Clothes

How to remove sweat stains from clothes

At the beginning of 2017, I committed to not buying any new clothes for the rest of the year. Given that I have already made it 6 months (happy June by the way!), I have no intentions of turning back now!

No new clothes also means no new white shirts, and I have a few that I love that over time have developed the dreaded yellow armpit stains. Without the option to replace them with new white shirts I was on a mission to find a solution that could remove the stains. After trying a number of stain removal recipes that didn’t work, I finally found a winning combination.

What causes stains?

Yellow sweat stains are the pits (...literally) here's a fool proof way to remove sweat stains from white clothes

Sweat itself is supposed to be colorless, the yellow stains happen when sweat from your armpits interacts with chemicals on the surface of your skin (typically aluminum – a chemical in antiperspirants). Livestrong also told me that yellow stains can happen due to sweat + bacteria on the surface of your skin… yipes!

How can I avoid yellow sweat stains?

One way to avoid the yellow stains caused by chemicals in antiperspirants is to stop wearing antiperspirants! Remember, deodorant and antiperspirant are not the same – so using aluminum-free deodorants might be the easiest way to avoid yellow armpit stains. I switched to natural formula deodorants earlier this year.

How do I remove sweat stains?

Before and after using this fool proof recipe to remove sweat stains from white clothes

For stubborn stains definitely pre-treat by soaking them for 30 minutes – 1 hour in the following:

Magical scrub recipe that will remove sweat stains from white clothing

Next comes the scrub. I tried a number of scrub recipes that either barely worked or didn’t work at all, namely: salt + baking soda + hydrogen peroxide, crushed asperin + water (I think that this trick actually made the yellow stains worse…), dish soap + hydrogen peroxide.

The ONLY stain removal recipe that truly worked was the following that I found in a Clark article written by Mike Timmermann:

How to remove sweat stains from clothes

Really rub this mixture into the stain (I spent a good minute scrubbing it around) then let it sit on the stain for an additional 30 minutes or so.

Magical scrub recipe that will remove sweat stains from white clothing

Then toss the shirt into the laundry machine and wash according to label instructions.

Works like magic! Before you throw your stained white shirts away this method is absolutely worth trying. Then switch to natural deodorant and you won’t have to worry about those pesky yellow stains coming back.

Want more? Learn how to remove sweat stains from hats!

Fool proof recipe to remove sweat stains from white clothes
Step by step using a fool proof recipe to remove sweat stains from white clothes

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  1. My son recently got a couple small stains on a brand new white shirt. A week later I washed a new top with some white shorts I had only worn once resulting in pink spots everywhere. I used the dawn soap, peroxide, baking soda combo. It worked like a dream. Thank you for the tip!

  2. I wore one of my husbands brand new t-shirts (on his request, I told him I will not be responsible for anything. I insisted on one of his much older t-shirts. After he washed it in cold water and hung to dry then put in dryer to soften. When he was folding it he found the stain. He brought the shirt to me, told me about the stain and said it was mine. I told him I may be able to get it out. I didn’t mention the previous conversation due to the fact that it wouldn’t do any good and probably start an argument.) I’m not sure if I want to get it out but I want to try your recipe for future reference. Thank you very much for the help and recipe. I will advise if it works. He put it in the dryer after it was dry so I’m not sure if the stain is set in or not.

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