Posted on: June 26, 2007 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 22

What Causes Yellow Armpit Stains?

If you want that “corporate hotshot” look, a yellowed collar or yellowed armpits are about as impressive as yellow teeth (Tips on how to get rid of yellow teeth) or yellow, tobacco-stained fingers. Everybody “knows” where that yellow has come from: sweat. Someone who sweats does not generally get favorable treatment in the world of white collar employment (It’s not called “yellow collar” employment for a reason).

Some say using a deodorant rather than an anti-perspirant may solve yellowing problems; others say it doesn’t matter what you use, it’s sweat, not the anti-perspirant, that does the damage. We don’t know what would happen if a scented powder were used, but we think it would at least be a good idea on the inside of your collars. One suggestion for avoiding unsightly yellow sweaty build-up is to dampen the collar and arm pits of the garment with white vinegar as soon as possible after removing it.

Yellowed whites can also result from aging fabric and bleach. Yes, bleach. You can turn ordinary whites, ones that don’t have a finish, yellow by using too much bleach. Also, many manufacturers now use a finish that makes white clothing look whiter. Bleaches can react with this finish and turn your clothes yellow.

Removing Yellow Armpit Stains

These methods are not guaranteed to work for everybody, but should work for some. If you know any more please add them using the form at the bottom of the page.

  • Using one of three Rit products may rescue garments that have aged or have been turned yellow through over-bleaching. RIT Color Remover can remove yellow bleach stains from normal fabric, Rit Color Brightener handles yellow age stains, while Rit White Wash gets out the yellow from fabrics that have finishes that cannot be bleached.
  • OxyClean can whiten fabric and does not damage most finishes on white fabric.
  • Pre-soak the yellowed garment in a mixture of all-fabric bleach (it is not as strong as regular bleach and doesn’t cause yellowing), a laundry brightener such as OxiClean, and baking soda.
  • Wash out the stains in about two gallons of cold water mixed with 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent.
  • Washing the stained clothing in a mixture of half a cup of powdered dishwasher soap with half a cup of all-fabric bleach may sometimes remove the stain.
  • Apply a paste of baking soda and water to the stains and let sit for about 20 minutes. Wash as usual.
  • Rub the dampened stain with a stick of chalk (if you find the right colors of chalk, you can even use this on colored fabrics).
  • Spray the yellowed areas with a clear mouthwash and let the item sit before laundering.
  • Crush sufficient aspirin to make, when mixed with enough water, an adequate amount of paste to cover all the areas of yellowing, let sit overnight, then wash. You may repeat this treatment until the stain comes out, and you may gently rub the stain with a soft toothbrush, being careful not to damage the fabric.
  • Expose the garment to direct sunlight for a day or more.
  • Apply spray paint remover directly on the stains (outdoors) and let stand for about 30 to 60 minutes. Moisten the area with more paint remover and brush both sides of the fabric with a soft tooth brush. Rinse with warm water, then wash.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of armpit stains.

22 People reacted on this

  1. To remove stains from bright clothing without having to buy non chloine bleach or bleach for colors…. fill your washing machine up half way with water and add bleach… I use 4 capfulls but ive found that you can use less or a little more if youd like… My bright colors come out looking brand new and almost any stain comes right out… just make sure that you have the bleach completely mixed in with the water and all colors will come out looking good as new.

  2. stop this problem at its root, folkds. two words: certain dri. this antipersperant changed my life. believe me, my pit sweat was the worst i’ve ever seen.

  3. ‘or just buy a NEW undershirt from Winners for about $4 …cheapos’

    hmmmmmmmm okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay then RJB…how about 30.00-40.00 white tshirts with graphics on them that my teen son wears. NOT going to go out and rebuy them because I am a ‘cheapo’.


  4. ‘or just buy a NEW undershirt from Winners for about $4 …cheapos’

    Hey RJB.. How about a whole load of shirts costing $20 – $80 dollars each that turned yellow because of bleach!?!? Do you want to buy by my new wardrobe “cheapo”? Think before you respond.

  5. I have used C L R spray on my arm pite stains. I soak it fo 10 minutes and it seems to keep the stains from coming back and getting worse. Becacause I am lazy I like some thing simple that doesn’t require a lot of work or remembering for that matter. Spray, soak and go!! If that doesn’t work, yes its time to buy a new shirt.

  6. Please don’t soak your clothing in your urine. The agent working on the stain is Ammonium…just go out and buy some.

  7. Get an old toothbrush and some shampoo and brush the shampoo on the stains. This trick works on all the normal fabrics and colors. With the added bonus of it smelling better then the chemicals. The shampoo is meant to help remove the body’s natural oils.

  8. pee is not the answer for christ´s sake!!!!!

    actually is fairly simple to get rid of armpit stains, i swear this works.
    i´m a pilot and i have to use white shirts on a daily basis,so armpit stains used to be a constant issue with my white shirts.
    i´ve tried almost everything(not pee,yuk!!!) going from bleach to vinegar and baking soda, the only thing that manages to get rid of those darned stains is, powdered oxiclean, you have to use a lot of the stuff, but it´s worthwhile, disolve three tbspoons of the powder in two cups of the hottest water you can get out of your tap, wet the stain area with it and then apply some more dry oxiclean powder to the stain, a bit more of the water(try not to wash away the powder, just get it wet) and rub it well,wash it imediatelly in the proper cycle for the garment in the hottest water the garment allows you to without damage, add another three scoops of the powder to the washing machine, and no detergent. the hottest the water, the better it works. when it´s done hang it outside to dry(don´t use your dryer), if it looks a bit yellow just before drying don´t panic, the stain will be completelly gone when it´s dry.
    hope this helps y´all, it shure has saved me a whole lot of money in new shirts.

  9. Before you treat the consequences, CURE THE PROBLEM!!!

    First, look up Corynebacterium tenuis. This bacteria causes a yellow (or black or rarely red) discharge from the arm pits. It is very common and will undoubtedly come back to you some time in the future.

    Second, treat it yourself with either: Povidone iodine or chlorhexadine (Hibiclenz), use as a wash for your armpits daily for 1-2 weeks.

    Third, call or visit your MD (probably doesn’t warrent a visit) for topical erythromycin or clindamycin solution to use in the armpits.

    Fourth, Now you can go back and do whatever you want to get the existing stains out.

    Good luck!

  10. PitStop armpit stain remover is a powerful pre-treatment that works (with 100% effectiveness) on nasty underarm perspiration stains.

  11. To remove nasty yellow underarm stains resulting from excessive sweating use PitStop. Pre-treat the stain before laundering and it will restore shirts to their original color or your money back. PitStop is the only stain remover of it’s kind that will dissolve these stains with 100% effectiveness.

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