How to Remove Underarm Stains on White Shirts


Perspiration stains absorb into the fabric of white shirts leaving yellow, dingy marks. Besides being embarrassing, the yellow stains prove difficult to remove. The first thought is to use bleach to brighten and remove perspiration stains from white shirts, but bleach only darkens the stain further. Perspiration on a white shirt creates a protein stain. Protein needs broken down by certain chemicals for complete removal.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Spray bottle
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Bowl
  • 3 aspirins
  • Cream of tartar
  • Toothbrush
  • Pour 1 tbsp. of heavy-duty laundry detergent onto the perspiration stains. Rub the detergent into the stain.

  • Lay the shirt on a clean table in the sun, with the sun's rays shining on the detergent and stains. Allow to sit in the sun for three to four hours. Keep the shirt damp by misting with a spray bottle.

  • Place the white shirts in the washer and launder with heavy-duty detergent in cool water. Allow to air dry.

  • Mix a solution of half hydrogen peroxide and half water in a bowl. Pour the solution onto any perspiration stains not removed during washing. Allow the hydrogen peroxide solution to remain on the white shirts for 30 minutes. Launder in cool water and detergent, and allow to air dry. Soak the perspiration stains in full-strength hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes if the stains remain.

  • Create a cleaning paste by crushing three aspirins and mixing them with 1 tbsp. of cream of tartar and 1 cup of warm water. Apply the paste to stubborn perspiration stains with an old toothbrush. Scrub the stains, then rinse in a sink of warm water. Continue scrubbing with the paste and rinsing the fabric until all stains are removed. Launder the shirts with detergent, and allow to air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Follow the care instructions on the white shirts. If they indicate professional cleaning only, take them to your local dry-cleaner for proper stain removal.

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