Deodorant is a necessary part of life, but can also be the bane of our existence. You want people to know you’re wearing it because you smell great or don’t smell like anything at all, not because you have chalky white smudges all over your shirt.
We’ve all done some version of the same dance — pop your head in the hole and then try to reach the arms through without letting any fabric graze your underarms, or insert arms and then wriggle in through the head hole with zero torso contact until it’s cleared the pits. No matter how impressive our dressing gymnastics, it somehow feels like pesky deodorant stains are inevitable.
Thankfully, since this seems to be a universal problem, there are plenty of hacks to help remove deodorant stains from your favorite clothes. Whether it’s a fresh deodorant stain that you need to erase on your way out the door or some old, crusty residue that’s built up over time, there’s a method that promises to hide the evidence that you are a human who sweats and/or tries to prevent the negative side effects of sweating.
Below, you’ll find our top tips, cleaning hacks and products for removing deodorant stains. So if you want to learn how to remove deodorant stains from clothing, read on!
Tips for Removing Deodorant Stains from Clothing
Dish soap is an old favorite when it comes to all deodorant stain removal, from the brand new to the stubborn. Simply apply a few drops to a wet washcloth and gently rub to form a lather. If you’re on your way out, keep in mind that too much soap can leave its own residue and you’ll get the best results if you let it air dry afterward. For older stains, apply the soap directly to the dry stain and work it into the fabric with a dry toothbrush before washing.
For delicate fabrics or situations where you’d prefer not to get the garment damp, there are some liquid-free remedies that may be just as effective. Firmly rub a fresh stain in a circular motion with nylon stockings, clean socks or dryer sheets to make it disappear. If you want a tiny bit of moisture, try the same tactic with a makeup remover wipe.
These gentler options can be great for recently acquired marks, but sometimes you need something tougher for the persistent stains. That’s when you move on to an acidic solution, most of which you can make from stuff that’s already in the house. Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, white vinegar or lemon juice all work wonders for removing lingering deodorant stains. If it’s a white item of clothing, just soak in equal parts peroxide and water. For colors, you can soak in water with a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar. If you’d prefer to scrub, make a paste with three parts baking soda and one part water or dilute some lemon juice and go to town with an old toothbrush.
While these household hacks come in quite handy for the occasional deodorant stain, it may be worth investing in a specially designed product if this is a recurring problem. There are plenty of effective, affordable options to keep on hand that’ll help you avoid and treat any deodorant stain disaster.
1. Deo-Go Deodorant & Antiperspirant Stain Remover
This sprayable deodorant stain remover was designed to tackle even the toughest stains. It’ll wipe away fresh white marks in a breeze, and eliminate those frustrating sweat spots that develop over time. It’s safe to use on white and colored clothing. Just spray, scrub with a short bristle brush and let it soak in for 20-30 minutes before washing.
2. Natural Pit Stop Sweat & Deodorant Stain Remover
This is another spray stain remover that’s specifically formulated for white clothing, but can also work with colors. It dissolves sweat and deodorant stains with the same spray, scrub and sit method. It also promises to remove the most hardened yellow patches, and even ink or red sauce stains. Just make sure to wash the item separately from any untreated items.
3. OXO Good Grips Scrub Brush
Since a good scrub brush is essential for both of those sprays and many of the home remedies to work, this one would be great to have in the house. Sure, you can use it for dishes or any fabric stains, but the contoured handle and multiple layers of bristles make it ideal for scrubbing out deodorant or sweat spots. It’ll help you maintain a firm grip while you tackle the most stubborn stains.
4. Hollywood Fashion Secrets Deodorant Removing Sponge
This affordable, reusable, long-lasting deodorant sponge is a no-brainer to have in the house. All you have to do is rub it over the residue to remove any of those annoying marks that appear after putting on your clothes. No need to add water or chemicals or fear any damage to fabrics. No wonder this thing has so many five-star reviews.
5. Public Goods Deodorant
Start at the source with an effective deodorant that won’t create white marks to begin with. This natural deodorant from Public Goods has a subtle botanical scent and is gentle on sensitive skin. Reviewers confirm that it keeps you smelling great and doesn’t leave residue on your clothes. While it’s ideal if you’re looking to remain without odor or pesky white marks, it is not advertised as an antiperspirant, so it may not be the best choice if sweat is your primary concern.
6. Superbly Efficient Antiperspirant & Deodorant Cream
A deodorant cream may not inherently sound like the best idea if you’re trying to avoid white marks rubbing off onto clothing, but this one was formulated specifically with that purpose in mind. It’s an antiperspirant and deodorant, so it’ll protect you against sweat and odor, and the micro-sized drying molecules absorb moisture without leaving residue. It’s also gentle, unscented aside from the subtle smell from the natural ingredients, and leaves your underarms feeling soft and smooth.