Ever noticed how conspicuous underarm deodorants are on white shirts? The shirt is usually left with a yellow unsightly stain. While black shirts may not show signs of staining, the stains are usually present as well. It is, therefore, important to make sure you have removed deodorant stains from all your shirts when washing them. Left unchecked, these stains can trap bacteria, cause odor, discoloration and stiffness of the fabric.

How Do the Deodorant Stains Form?

Deodorants are made to work on the smell that comes about as a result of sweating and perspiring. Some deodorants have a very strong scent so that they end up being more irritating than the sweat itself. 

The antiperspirant content in the deodorant is what is responsible for stopping the sweat glands from performing their function. The sweat glands are meant to produce sweat, which in turn cools down your body as the sweat evaporates. 

The ingredients that make your sweat glands not to produce sweat are the same ones that are responsible for staining your fabric. Aluminum salts (aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum chloride and aluminum zirconium) are put in deodorants to reduce sweat production. These salts combine with sweat to form a gel that blocks the ducts that lead to the sweat glands. This prevents sweat from coming to the surface for a while. 

When there is excess humidity or when you work out, the antiperspirant will wear off, and your body will start sweating again. The minerals in your sweat will mix with the chemicals in the antiperspirant, and the mixture will stick on the fibers of your fabric. This mixture results in the stains you see on your blouse, shirts or even undergarments.

How to Remove Deodorant Stains

To get rid of deodorant stains effectively, you first have to establish what kind of fabric you are dealing with. Different fabrics have a different approach.

For Washable Fabric

Washable fabrics include Spandex, Polyester, Olefin, Nylon, Modacrylic, and Acrylic Fabric.

For washable fabric, follow the steps below:

  1. Many deodorant stains came off by pretreating. This method involves smearing a stain-removing agent before laundering. Apply it directly on the stain.

  2. Then launder normally.

If the stain does not come off after pretreating:

  1. Rinse off the detergent

  2. Flush using white vinegar

  3. Then rinse in clean water

If the stain is persistent:

  1. Flush the stained patch with denatured alcohol

  2. Rinse with clean water

  3. Dry the fabric or launder it normally

You can also follow the instructions on the video below:

For Non-Washable Fabric

Non-washable fabrics include Wool, Triacetate, Silk, Rayon, Linen, Fiberglass, Cotton, Carpet/Wool, Carpet/Synthetic, Burlap and Acetate.

For non-washable fabrics, follow the steps below:

  1. Rub alcohol on the stained patch, then cover it with an absorbent padding that is dump ( the padding should be dipped in dilute alcohol with two parts water for Rayon, Triacetate and Acetate. For silk, first test for colorfastness prior to using alcohol)

  2. Keep both of them moist

  3. Let it stay on as long as it takes to remove the stain.

  4. If the stain is persistent, flush it (this is the method of smearing stain remover in order to loosen the staining components and the residue left by stain removers) with a mixture of little ammonia and warm sudsy water. When dealing with wool and silk be extra careful

  5. Rinse the fabric with clean water

  6. Ensure you dry thoroughly 

If the fabric’s color has been changed, you can reverse this effect by using a damp sponge. The sponge should be dampened with 2 parts of water and one part of ammonia. Stroke lightly, moving the sponge outwards starting from the centre of the stain.

Note: Do not iron deodorant stains as it ruins most fabrics.

How to Prevent Deodorant Stains

You can take following measures to prevent deodorant stains:

  • Wear a t-shirt beneath the outer expensive shirt

  • Use aluminium-free deodorants or those that have minimum aluminium salts

  • Let the deodorant dry before dressing to avoid coming into contact with your clothing

  • Use baking soda in place of deodorants. It combats body odor

  • Instead of deodorant, use a sugar-free alcohol based mouthwash to wipe your underarms and stay fresh.

  • Use one stain remover before you try another cleaning solution.
  • Before using the next stain remover, rinse off the previous one thoroughly.
  • Treat the fabric gently.
  • Give the cleaning solution enough time to soak and dissolve the minerals bound to the fabric. (Deodorant and sweat stains are minerals that are stuck to the cloth).
  • The darker the stained patch is, the harder it will be to clean.
  • Before trying any cleaning solution, check on the clothing item’s tag to see if it is meant to be dry cleaned.

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  • Mark TanAug.18 03:16
    Really love this article that you wrote. I came across the same problem and everything is sorted here. Along the way, i stumbled upon this site that has detailed stain removal instructions for 226 types of stains. You might find it useful here >> http://www.dobiqueen.my/226-stain-removal-guides
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