Yellow armpit stains on clothes are the pits! Here’s how to remove yellow sweat stains from white shirts.
I have a confession. I’m one of those people that wear white shirts with and under everything, and I’m a girl who sweats. There’s nothing like the perfect, comfy white T, am I right? Confession number two…I’m also one of those people who develop really gross, yellow pit stains on all of my white shirts, and when they get bad enough, I throw them away!!! Or at least, I have in the past. What made me stop and research an alternative was going through my closet, pulling out my absolute favorite, most comfortable white t-shirt the other day and sadly realizing that it’s time is past…or is it?
I did several searches online and found lots of recommendations, but most of them were advertising one product or another. I wanted to test some of the different solutions without the pressure of saying one specific product or brand was better than another, and I was hoping to use things I already had in my cleaning closet or pantry. I just wanted to find an honest-to-goodness solution that would let me keep my favorite t-shirt, so I went through my cupboards for the suggested supplies and decided to try out these three methods – see my results below!
METHOD #1 – Remove Pit Stains using Vinegar, Baking Soda, Salt & Hydrogen Peroxide
I saw this one first, had the supplies, but I admit it also struck my fancy because it’s something my Great Aunt Margaret would have told me to do. She was full of what we called ‘old world know-how’.
What You’ll Need:
- 2 Cups Distilled White Vinegar
- 4 Cups warm water
- ½ c Baking Soda
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Hydrogen Peroxide
- Old toothbrush for scrubbing
How to remove armpit stains using vinegar, baking soda, salt & hydrogen peroxide
Start by filling your sink with the warm water and vinegar. I didn’t want to tie my sink up for too long, so I actually did mine in a large bowl, which worked great too. Place the garment in the water/vinegar to soak for 20-30 minutes.
While the garment is soaking, mix the remaining ingredients together to make a paste. This actually made way more than I needed, so I used some of the remainders to scrub my stainless steel sink – worked like a charm!
Once the soaking time is up, wring out the garment until it is just damp, then use the peroxide/salt/soda paste you made and work it into the pit stains using the toothbrush.
I scrubbed around on it for a good while, then threw the shirt into the wash for a normal cycle.
Did It Work?
I’ve never been a fan of having my hands, or my kitchen for that matter, smell like vinegar. I gave it the old ‘college try’, but the solution just didn’t work for my nasty pit stains. It did improve the shirt…just not enough, especially for all the effort! I definitely didn’t like the length of time this process took. Here’s the result:
METHOD #2 – Remove Pit Stains Using Dish Soap, Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda
When I found this method online, it just seemed to make more sense to me. Dish soap…soap is always good, and I pulled out my favorite brand in case my pits were also greasy. Peroxide…a natural whitener. I mean, it bleached my hair out really good all those summers ago, back in the 80’s, right? And baking soda…a nice, natural exfoliant that cleans everything else easily, so why not pit stains?
What You’ll Need:
- Dish soap
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Baking Soda
- Your good ‘ol scrubbing toothbrush
How To Remove Pit Stains Using Dish Soap, Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda
I found the basic theory for this one online, but there was truly no “HOW” listed, so I’ll tell you what I did. It just made sense to me to start with the soap. I applied a generous amount all around the general area of the pit stain in my shirt first. Next, I sprinkled a good amount of baking soda on top – enough that I could actually make a thick paste with just those two ingredients and my toothbrush, and gently massaged it around. Then, I added the peroxide and let it sit for a few minutes, hoping the bubbling it produced would help loosen up the yellow stains and lift them out of the cloth. Lastly, I threw the shirt into the laundry for a normal wash cycle.
Did It Work?
While I found this method more enjoyable and definitely easier and less stinky than the first one, it still didn’t quite solve my actual dilemma of the pit-stained shirts. Again, as with the first trial, the shirt was definitely better, just not pit-stain free. I also liked this one better because I had better control of the ingredients I was using, so it didn’t seem so wasteful, but unfortunately, it still wasn’t a winner. Here’s my results:
METHOD #3 – How To Remove Pit Stains Using OxiClean
I hope Oxi Clean is something you already have in your cleaning closet – a year or so ago, I discovered OxiClean White Revive, and it is my new favorite additive to my laundry. I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to having good smelling laundry, and this totally does it for me!
So yes, I realize that now I sound like kind of a hypocrite because, at the very beginning of this article, I said I didn’t want to be pushed into using cleaning agents that were being advertised and sponsored. Let me just say that this commentary is not sponsored, but since this is the only solution that actually worked on my nasty, yellow pit-stained t-shirts, I would be happy to be a paid spokesperson – LOL. I’m just as happy to share with you my honest, unrequested opinion.
What You’ll Need
- OxiClean – there are several formulas on the market now, but my favorite is OxiClean White Revive.
- Your trusty side-kick scrubbing toothbrush
- A sink or large bowl full of water
How To Remove Pit Stains Using OxiClean
This was the easiest method I ran across. I simply dissolved a scoopful of the Oxi Clean in water. Once again, I didn’t want to tie up my kitchen sink for too long, so I used a large kitchen bowl and used room temperature tap water. Once the OxiClean was dissolved, I put my shirt in to soak. About a half hour in, I used a small amount of the Oxi Clean on my toothbrush and just rubbed it directly into the pit stains for extra measure, and then put it back in the bowl to continue soaking. Because the stains on my shirt were pretty intense (I know…eww, gross, but what’s a girl gonna do?!) and because I really love my shirt, I left mine to soak overnight, and then threw it all – water, OxiClean and shirt, into the machine for a normal wash cycle.
Did It Work?
Yes – I was pleasantly surprised at the results, plus my whole shirt seemed to brighten up as a result of the soaking, and it smelled so fresh too!
So What Was The BEST Way To Remove Pit Stains?
I hate to say it, but only because I sound like a commercial, which was not my intention. The OxiClean White Revive was the easiest, least time consuming and used the least amount of products…and it worked the best of all of them! I’ll be able to get some extended use out of my favorite white t-shirt, and as fore-mentioned, my shirt came out smelling wonderful – bonus!
I will say, none of the methods I used returned my shirts to ‘like new’ condition, but that’s to be expected. One other disclaimer – I had planned to try a bleach product (to remain nameless), but I had two concerns with bleach when it came to my favorite shirts. First, bleach usually will eat through cotton and cause small holes. I may be using too much, but that has been my experience with it in the past, and I didn’t want to cause holes and stains in my pits. Secondly, the recommendation for getting stains out with bleach recommended using hot water, but one of the other laundry habits that my mother ingrained in me and I can’t help thinking of – never use heat on stains; no hot water, no heated dryer because heat will set the stain. I didn’t try bleach at all for those two reasons.
In the end, I’m happy with the results I got from the OxiClean and I’m going through my closet and drawers to host a special soaking session for all my whites. I’m also looking forward to not having to buy so many new t-shirts in the future!