How to Get Those Stubborn Deodorant Stains Out of Your Clothes

Secret deodorant illustration

Deodorant stains are a real bummer – why can’t you smell like a cleanly human and keep your favorite white t-shirt crisp and clear at the same time? While the cause behind the stains is still somewhat up for debate (aluminum compounds look like the likely offender), we found a few ways to corral the mess in the meantime.

The first trick to keep in your playbook is also the simplest of the bunch: just try to wipe it off. For emergency moments or the first signs of a deodorant stain striking, you can just use a damp cloth and try to tackle the problem early on. This is perfect for keeping the problem in line if you just don’t have the time for too much TLC, and if it fails, you can move on to one of the more advanced tactics.

As far as said “advanced” tactics, one of our biggest go-to’s is a good soak in white vinegar, which is most likely to solve your deo-woes. Let the garment sit for 45 minutes to an hour, then gently brush the stain with an old toothbrush or textured cloth. Then launder as usual and make sure the water is hot. As in like, h-o-t. This is your best bet for stain solving with both whites and colors.

Still looking around your kitchen for a cleaning agent? Baking soda works wonders for your teeth and can do the same for your clothes. Mix three parts baking soda with one part water, then rub the resulting paste directly into the stain. Let it sit for a good hour or two and really think about the consequences of its actions, then toss it in the wash as normal, again with some high-temp H2O.

Working exclusively with stains on your now-less-than-white whites? You can crush a few aspirin, add just enough water to get things pastey, apply directly to the stain, and wash as normal. Follow the same steps as the baking soda hack, but keep away from especially colorful or dark clothing.

One final, albeit less conventional option, is to try to transfer the stain. With a clean sock or nylon stocking, gently rub the stained area in a firm, circular movement. Launder as usual, but be gentle with the detergent.

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