How to Get Deodorant Stains Out of Shirts

Did deodorant stains ruin your favorite shirt? Use our tips to learn how to get deodorant stains out of shirts and prevent new ones from forming.

What Are Deodorant Stains?

If you're tired of ruining your shirts with deodorant stains, you're not alone. This common annoyance results from the combination of the salt and other minerals in human sweat with the aluminum in many antiperspirants. Depending on your personal biology and the type of deodorant or antiperspirant, you may be more or less likely to experience unwanted stains. However, you don't have to live with the results of this chemical clash. One of the best ways to avoid deodorant stains is to choose a deodorant that doesn't leave white marks. But, if you notice stains on your shirts, learn how to get deodorant stains out of shirts with our top solutions.

How To Get Deodorant Stains Out Of Shirts

The best method will depend on the color of the shirt, the material, the color of the stain, and other factors. Before you try any of these cleaning solutions, be aware that your shirt may not survive the process. So, proceed with caution and carefully read the care instructions on your clothes before you get started.

Our first tip is to avoid using bleach on deodorant stains, even on a white shirt; it tends to make the stain worse. If you use bleach, colored fabrics may develop permanent stains and gentle care fabrics may tear. The tips below are arranged from the safest and least likely to damage your garment to potentially damaging solvents.

Fabric on Fabric

This tip couldn't be easier. Just take a clean part of the inside of your shirt and rub it against the deodorant stain. This solution sounds too simple to be true, but it works for many fabrics. Try both an up-and-down motion and a circular motion.

Cool Water

While your first instinct may be to soak the stain in hot water, heat will actually cause the discoloration to become permanent. Instead, start with cool water to rinse the stain. Then, use one of the methods below to treat the stain before washing it in the machine with hot water.


Basic detergent should be your next line of defense against deodorant stains. Use your regular brand and wash the garment on warm. If the stain remains, pre-treat the fabric with a spot stain remover before running it through the washer again. Turn the shirt inside out and apply the solution directly to the stained area.

Makeup Wipe or Baby Wipe

Makeup wipes and baby wipes are designed to be gentle on your skin, so they tend to be gentle on fabrics as well. Carefully rub the stain using the wipe. You can also take this step to pre-treat your shirt before putting it in the washing machine. Don't have wipes handy? Some cleaning experts recommend using a dryer sheet, a sock, or a pair of nylon pantyhose. Head to the laundry room and get creative.


Make a paste from a few tablespoons of water and a few crushed tablets of uncoated aspirin. Use a clean toothbrush to apply this paste to the stain, leaving it on overnight before throwing in the washing machine as you normally would.

Vodka or Rubbing Alcohol

Make a solution with one part vodka and one part warm water in a spray bottle. Spray it on the stain, and then machine wash the garment. If you don't have vodka in the house, give this tip a try with rubbing alcohol.

Salt Water

Fill a container with a quart of hot water and add four tablespoons of salt. Apply the mixture to the stained fabric with a sponge, then machine wash the shirt.

White Vinegar

Soak the stained portion of the shirt in white vinegar for at least 60 minutes. Next, use a clean, never used toothbrush to brush the stain. If the stain remains, move on to another method. If the stained garment is delicate, use one part vinegar and one part water instead of pure vinegar.


Make a solution of one part lemon juice and one part water and apply it to the stain. Let the shirt sit in the sun for 60 minutes, rinse the diluted lemon juice out, and wash it as you normally would.

Baking Soda (White Shirts Only)

This method is only for white shirts since it can further damage colored shirts. Combine three parts baking soda with one part water until a thick paste forms. Turn the shirt inside out, then apply the paste to the stained area and let sit for at least an hour before washing in the machine.


Make a solution from a quart of lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon of ammonia, and a small squirt of liquid dish detergent. Soak your stained shirt in this mixture, then rinse completely before washing as usual. You can scrub the stain to loosen it before soaking if desired.

Cleaning Sponge or Stain Removing Pad

A cleaning sponge works wonders for all types of stains, including deodorant marks. Get the sponge wet, then wring it out until damp. Rub the stain in an up-and-down motion.

Hydrogen Peroxide (White Shirts Only)

Combine two parts of hydrogen peroxide with one part dish soap and use the solution to treat the stain. Let it sit for an hour after a gentle scrub. Machine wash as usual. Avoid this method for colored shirts since peroxide will bleach the material. You can also try a solution of hydrogen peroxide diluted with an equal amount of water.

Tips To Prevent Deodorant Stains

  • If your outfit allows you to wear a short-sleeved undershirt, doing so can shield your shirt from deodorant stains.
  • Avoid shirts that fit closely in the underarm area, since the contact with skin can cause stains.
  • Before putting your shirt on, let your deodorant dry completely. This creates a barrier that prevents sweat from escaping.
  • Remember that you don't need a thick layer to block sweat and odor effectively.
  • When you come home from working out, wash your clothes right away to prevent the chemical reaction that allows sweat stains to set into the fabric.
Shopping for a new formula? Try a clear gel or invisible solid! Antiperspirants can also reduce stains because they block sweat from exiting your pores. Ban® Roll-Ons are the ideal choice if you want to avoid deodorant stains. This formula glides on clear and stays clear all day, so you won't notice white marks on your favorite shirts.

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