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Deodorant Build-up Stains

Deodorant Stains on shirts.

I have been working on putting products into a website that a couple of my neighbors and I have started. I have taking the photos to add some of the clothes to the line. Some of the shirts are name brands and in very good condition. When I was resizing the pictures, we noticed that our teenagers love to use deodorant! To the naked eye you cannot see the mounds of caked-on deodorant on the shirts. The camera does not lie!

I started my Internet search on the best way to remove the caked-on deodorant from these shirts. I came across several sites that describe how to do this. This article will describe what I did to remove the stains.

Shirt Deodorant Stains Before

My research:

I started reading an article on Mrs. Clean USA because it was the first page to turn up in my Google search. The article was very informative but I was not impressed with the layout of the site and my eyes drifted away from the reading. So I returned to Google for another site. I am not trying to be shallow about the look and feel of a website but if I cannot maneuver or stay focused on the article, it seems it loses its creditability.

Finally at the bottom of the search page, I found I normally do not even click on the website because of all the popup ads that they place on every page but I found the article supplied some great information. The stains are caused by the mixture of chemicals in the deodorant and the salt in the sweat from the body.  This was a huge help for me. I know that good old elbow grease will do the trick but I also know that this can damage the fabrics. On cotton t-shirts scrubbing will sometimes lead to balling of the fabric. This is a very unattractive result to the shirts that I want to sell. I did take the advice of several people and I decided to try the white distilled vinegar soak. This is the process that I did.

The Steps:

  1. I placed the shirts in the washing machine on a small load using hot water.
  2. I added 1 cup of white distilled vinegar into the water and allowed the shirts to soak for one hour.
  3. Throughout the soaking time I grabbed the shirts and gentle rubbed the underarm area.
  4. I drained the vinegar and water solution.
  5. I started the wash cycle with warm water and soap as normal.
  6. After I let the wash run half way through the wash cycle, I stopped the load and let soak for 30 minutes.
  7. I then allowed the washing machine to continue its wash.
  8. I checked the shirts before putting in the dryer.
  9. Repeat process before you put in the dryer if you think you did not get the desired effect.

Deodorant Build-up Stains

Deodorant Build-up Stains after


I was impressed with the outcome of the shirts but I did repeat the process to see if I got a better result on one of the shirts. The orange shirt did get most of the deodorant off. The blue shirt was not as successful. It does look better but I wanted a better result so I repeated the process.

I also think that educating our teens not use so much deodorant would help. I read too that if you completely let your deodorant to dry before putting your clothes on will also help to prevent this from occurring in the first place.

I did come across a site that explained scientifically how this reaction does happen. But since I am not a chemist I will leave it to the experts. If you are interested, visit Vision Learning

Rebecca Devereaux
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