If you own old shirts, chances are a few of them have sweat stains. Underarm stains — the yellow buildup that you see on your men’s shirts — are caused by a chemical reaction between a deodorant’s ingredients and the salt produced by your sweat. The culprit is aluminum, which is found in the majority of mass-market anti-perspirants and deodorants.
Thankfully, though these pit stains can be unsightly, you don’t have to throw out a perfectly good shirt with a yellow stain. There are a number of ways for men to prevent or rub out those stains with some common household items and a little elbow grease:
1. Use a men’s aluminum-free deodorant to prevent pit stains altogether. Switching to an aluminum-free product like MenScience Advanced Deodorant will stop deodorant stains from forming. Because a deodorant doesn’t help control sweat, you may want to consider using a men’s corn starch body powder to combat perspiration.
2. Pat down the garment with ammonia and then rinse it off. Be careful though: If you’re working with wool or silk then first dilute the ammonia with water to create a 50/50 solution.
3. Moisten the yellow area with water and then massage the stain with a bar of laundry soap.
4. Try spraying the spots with alcohol and letting it sit for a few hours before washing.
5. Mix laundry detergent with a little water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the yellowed spots and let the garment sit through the night before putting the shirt through the laundry.
6. Spritz the area with white vinegar and then add in some borax. Put the clothing into a garment bag and leave them overnight before washing.
7. For simple sweat marks, sponge a 60/40 solution of water and vinegar onto the shirt and then put it in the washing machine.
8. Mix a quart of warm water with four tablespoons of salt and then soak the garment.
9. For another good stubborn spot solution, try sponging the yellowed area with warm vinegar and letting it sit for a few hours before throwing in the wash.
10. Apply hydrogen peroxide to a yellowed area on a white shirt and then let it sit for a half hour. Only use this solution for white shirts; hydrogen peroxide may whiten colored shirts.
And remember that, as with any stain, the sooner that the stain is treated the easier that it will be to remove it.