If only we lived in a world where sweat stains and smelly underarms weren’t a source of embarrassment. But we don’t. And so, for many, those stains and smells are a big sore spot. While deodorant can temporarily help with the smell, for some, it just isn’t enough and still leaves shirts with sweat stains and smells that just won’t wash out.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, we are here to put an end to your shame and embarrassment about your underarm situation. Here are six tricks and tips you need to know to get rid of the armpit smell out of your shirts.
How to Remove Underarm Stains and Smells from Shirts
Before we begin talking about the smells, let’s first start with the stains.
Where the Stains Come From
Oftentimes the stains you see in the armpit of your shirts are thanks to the antiperspirant deodorant you’re using. The key ingredient in antiperspirants is aluminum, which is in there to help reduce the level of sweat and wetness in your armpits. That may mean you get to run around with dry armpits, even on a hot day, but that also means that you pay the price of a buildup and yellowing of the product on your clothes.
You may not notice these stains at first, especially if you’ve been wearing new shirts lately, but over time, the stains will start to show, and your attempts to remove them will go unnoticed.
So, it may be a good idea to switch to a deodorant that is free of aluminum and won’t cause the buildup of product on your shirts that gives you trouble. Whether you opt to switch to a more natural deodorant or not, it’s always a good idea to let the deodorant dry before you put your clothes on.
How to Remove the Stains and the Smell
If you find that your shirts still smell after your switch to aluminum-free deodorant or if you decide not to switch, don’t worry. There are some tricks you can use to get that stubborn smell out.
1. Baking soda
This kitchen staple comes in handy in countless different situations, and now you have one more to add to your list. Baking soda works to neutralize the smells that can get stuck in the armpits of your shirt. All you have to do is make a paste of baking soda and warm water and rub it into the underarms of your shirt. Let the paste sit for 15 minutes, or even better yet, overnight. Then wash it normally.
2. Baking soda & hydrogen peroxide
You can take the baking soda concept to the next level if it doesn’t work on its own by adding hydrogen peroxide to it. You put one part baking soda and one part hydrogen peroxide and mix them up to make a paste similar to the one with water. Then, rub the mixture onto the stained area and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before washing it with a heavy-duty laundry detergent.
3. White vinegar
The smell of this one will wake you right up, but it’s a much better smell than what currently sits on the underarm of your shirts. To use this, you want to first fill your washing machine or a large bucket with water and then add ⅓ cup of white vinegar. Let the shirts soak in this for 20 minutes, and then continue the washing cycle as usual.
4. Oxygen-based bleach & ammonia (for white shirts only)
White shirts can look so fresh and clean until you lift your arms and see the stains underneath the arms. We have a fix for that, but make sure you only use this solution on white shirts, as it will bleach anything with color.
You also want to be careful when working with this mixture, as the chemicals and scents are dangerous. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated room and wear rubber gloves.
For this, mix one-part oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean or something similar) and one-part household ammonia in a non-metal bowl. Then use an old toothbrush to rub that mixture into the stains on your white shirts and let it soak for about 10 minutes before washing as usual.
This one sounds weird, but don’t knock it until you try it. All you have to do is pour several capfuls of mouthwash on the underarms of your shirts and let it soak in for 30 minutes. Then, throw them in the machine and wash them as usual.
This method may be best left to colored shirts, as the mouthwash could alter the color of white clothes.
6. Aspirin & Cream of Tartar
This one sounds like something right out of your grandmother’s guide to life, but it’s a tried and true way to get that armpit smell out. You want to mix 3 non-coated aspirin tablets with a cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the mixture into the armpit and let it soak for at least 20 minutes before washing as usual.