How to Dissolve Caked-On Deodorant

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Try a spot of vinegar or ammonia on the inside of the fabric to test for colorfastness.
Try a spot of vinegar or ammonia on the inside of the fabric to test for colorfastness. (Image: Dandamanwasch/iStock/Getty Images)

While swiping deodorant under your arms keeps you feeling clean and smelling fresh, some white solid formulations leave behind patches of product that remain on the insides of your favorite garments. Instead of going sans deodorant or tossing your caked-on clothes, opt to remove these sticky mounds of residue at home without destroying the fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Dull kitchen knife
  • White vinegar
  • Ammonia
  • White cloth
  • Pretreating liquid

Check the garment care label to see if the fabric is washable. If the care label says that the garment is machine washable, then agitation in the washing machine is suitable to wash and remove the stain. If the stained clothing is non-washable, take it to the dry cleaner immediately.

Use a knife with a dull edge to scoop the solid deodorant off the surface of the material. Using a knife to scrape the fabric will not completely remove the deodorant, but the knife’s back-and-forth motion will help to get rid of small pieces of the caked-on product off the garment.

Pretreat stains with white vinegar or ammonia. If the deodorant stain altered the color of your clothing, GoodHousekeeping.com suggests that you apply white vinegar to an old stain, and ammonia to a fresh one.

Place your clothing on a flat surface with the stain facing up. Pour just enough ammonia or white vinegar directly on the stain to saturate the deodorant and the fabric. To ensure that these pretreatments help to dissolve the caked-on deodorant, rub the stain with the edge of a clean white cloth for a few seconds.

Let the ammonia or vinegar remain on the fabric for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse the area completely with warm water.

Apply a quarter-sized amount of pretreating liquid to the stain. Make sure that the pretreating product dampens and covers the stain completely.

Wash the garment in the hottest water cycle that is safe for the fabric. Dry the fabric on the care label’s recommended heat setting. Repeat this stain removal process as necessary, or take the garment to the dry cleaner for a professional cleaning treatment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Blot the stain with a white cloth to prevent transferring dye from the cloth to the dampened stain.
  • If you’ve treated the stain with ammonia, do not mix the garment with chlorine bleach in the wash. Combining chlorine bleach and ammonia may produce fumes that are hazardous to your health.

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