Do you have those nasty yellow armpit stains on your white t-shirts?
They can be frustrating to remove, especially if they have been there for a while. There are a few methods you can try to remove the stains, if one doesn’t work, move on to the other. For really old stains though, there is no guarantee that you will completely remove the discoloration.Knowing how they got there in the first place and learning how to prevent them may be the best solution for your newer shirts.
What causes yellow armpit stains? Those stains are more than likely caused by your antiperspirant and further intensified by natural body oils, along with the absorption of the fabric. Antiperspirants have various sorts of aluminum-based compounds as their main "active" ingredient, which are hard to remove with detergent alone, especially if you are not washing in warmer temperatures. If not removed completely, build-up and yellowing starts to happen.
Tips to help you remove yellow armpit stains
Soak the stains in white vinegar for 30 minutes and then rinse. Next, apply straight enzyme-based detergent (like Tide) to the stain and rub in. Then wash the shirt in the warmest temperature allowable on the fabric care label. To be sure the stain is completely gone, do not dry it in the dryer – instead, line dry in the sun.
I have also used an Oxiclean solution in place of the enzyme-based detergent first, then the detergent in the wash.
Another tip – if you see that some stain remains after removing it from the washer, try sprinkling the stain with meat tenderizer and let it sit for an hour before washing it again.
How do you prevent yellow armpit stains? Switching to a deodorant, instead of an anti-perspirant may help. Just about every anti-perspirant has some aluminum-based compound, look at the ingredients (aluminum chloride, clorohydrate, zirconium, etc).
If you are dead set on sticking with your anti-pespirant, proper care may lessen the severity of the stain. First - wait a few minutes for it to dry before dressing. As soon as you take off the shirt, pre-treat the armpit area with a stain stick or spray, before throwing it into the laundry basket.
Try not to buy shirts that are too tight, or hug the armpit area too closely.
Before washing, remember to apply detergent straight to the armpit and rub in – same way you would do to prevent ring-around-the-collar.
Remember not to dry any shirt that still shows some stain – it will only set it in the stain. Just go back and re-treat again.