No-sweat stain removal for underarms

Underarm clothing stains can be stubborn. Here are some tips for removing them and keeping them from coming back.

Perspiration or product?

Underarm stains usually come in two varieties: perspiration stains and buildup from antiperspirant or deodorant products. Perspiration stains tend to be yellow, brown or green in color. They sometimes feel hard or crusty. Buildup from antiperspirants or deodorants looks very different. At first, these stains will either be white or clear, chalky or greasy. In time, they may turn a darker, gray color.

It's usually easier to remove these stains when they first appear. Stains that have gone through the washer and dryer several times may be more difficult to eliminate.

Who's sweating now?

Here are some general steps* for removing either type of stain from most fabrics:
1. Turn the garment inside out and pretreat with Tide Liquid on the underarm areas.
2. Let garment sit for 30 minutes.
3. Wash in hottest water safe for the fabric with two uses of Tide with Bleach Alternative.
4. Air dry. Repeat the procedure if necessary.

Antiperspirant problem prevention

For all stains, washing garments between wearings is optimal.

For perspiration stains: 

  • Apply deodorant twice daily (once in the morning and again before bed) to provide extra protection against wetness.

For buildup stains: 

  • Apply only a thin, even layer of product to your underarms, according to the package directions. More isn't better. Excess deodorant will rub off onto your clothes.

*These instructions should remove either type of stain from most fabrics; however, check the special directions for particular fabrics in the Fabric Advisor.