How do I stop the armpit stains on my white t-shirts?
June 17, 2009 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Men's armpit filter: My antiperspirant/deodorant (or me) is staining the armpit area of my white cotton t-shirts. This is happening after literally one to two uses of the shirt. What gives? Can someone recommend a antiperspirant/deodorant that does not do this? Currently I use Degree for men.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
It may not be the deodorant... it may be you. some men have overactive sebacious (sp) glands which can stain cotton.
posted by charles_farley at 4:43 PM on June 17, 2009

Use antiperspirant/deodorants without aluminum (causes the staining) and don't stick them in the dryer. Peroxide, baking soda, OxyClean all work to remove the stains - presoak a bit. I like the Right Guard "Stealth Solid" for non-staining antiperspirant.
posted by kcm at 4:46 PM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

I favor plain old baking soda. Shower normally and towel off. Shake about half a teaspoon of baking soda from the box onto the palm. Sprinkle or drip enough water from the tap to make a thin paste of it. Rub the water and baking soda between palms and fingers. Smear the mixture onto the pits, covering a wide perimeter. It dries off while you brush teeth shave etc. If you're big, maybe it's more like a teaspoon.

When I started this a year ago, I had a little BO for the first couple days, then it went away for good. I don't sweat real profusely, but did have a staining problem when I used commercial products. YMMV, there may be more than one factor to the staining. But hey, the baking soda thing is so cheap you owe it to yourself to try.
posted by maniabug at 5:16 PM on June 17, 2009

Mitchum. You're good to go.
posted by 913 at 5:37 PM on June 17, 2009

Previously and Previously

There is also lots of advice for getting rid of the stains under the tags antiperspirant and deodorant
posted by chrisamiller at 6:06 PM on June 17, 2009

This staining is most often a chemical reaction between the aluminum in the antiperspirant and your sweat, and laundering actually makes it worse (dirt in the laundry water adheres to the aluminum residue). All (or at least nearly all) antiperspirants contain aluminum. A deodorant without aluminum wouldn't counter any wetness, but if you don't sweat a lot it might be enough.

Another option is a prescription-strength antiperspirant such as Certain Dri. You put it on at night, which means that after you sleep and shower in the morning most of the residue is gone. Lately I've been experimenting with combining a prescription-strength deodorant at night with a no-aluminum deodorant in the morning, and that's lessened the problem for me somewhat.
posted by doift at 6:06 PM on June 17, 2009

Had the same problem for YEARS. Had these nasty stains in my undershirts. Yikes. Solution: I quit wearing antiperspirant and just wore deodorants. No more stains. Yes, I sweat, but not enough to where it's a huge problem. If you have an important event, maybe you can do the antiperspirant, but I no longer wear an antiperspirant daily.
posted by resurrexit at 6:13 PM on June 17, 2009

I find that cleaning the pits with an antidandruff shampoo containing zinc pyrithione keeps me smelling like a human being instead of an unwashed armpit, and that provided I wear a clean cotton T shirt every day I need neither antiperspirant nor deodorant.
posted by flabdablet at 7:25 PM on June 17, 2009

I don't own a dryer and I still get the yellow stains. The only thing I've found that gets them out is a soak for a few hours in hot water and washing soda (not baking soda or borax), then wash in normal detergent. If the shirts come out of the washer still with yellow stains, spray or soak the stains with distilled vinegar. Wash as normal. If the stains persist, repeat the process. Also drying the shirts in the sun, not in the dryer if feasible, seems to help after this.
posted by Lycaste at 7:35 PM on June 17, 2009

I have yet to find an antiperspirant/deodorant that worked to my satisfaction that didn't give me these stains, to fully answer your question.
posted by Lycaste at 7:36 PM on June 17, 2009

Mitchum, or if you can give up the antiperspirant part use the "crystal" deodorant (you can find it at Walgreens, Walmart, or most retailers).
posted by thylacine at 7:54 PM on June 17, 2009

I had nasty, caked on stains. Not even stains, just yellow layers of old anti-perspirant that felt, well, like a stick of anti-perspirant when I touched them. Nothing worked. I switched to deoderant. Honestly, before, when I was wearing the anti-perspirant, the sweat would just find a different place to get out of my body. I'd rather have pit-stains (from wetness, that dry) that sweaty-chest stains. Pick your battles. (and btw, deoderant= no stains in the shirts)
posted by Ghidorah at 7:55 PM on June 17, 2009

certain dri! you're never going to be wet AND you're never going to get pit stains ever again!
posted by lia at 8:10 PM on June 17, 2009

A $1 spray bottle, some clorox. Spray it onto the shirt, let it sit for a while (30 minutes?), toss it into the wash -- ZAM!! -- yellow is gone. Obviously this is for white shirts only but it does work real well on them, in my experience. And/or also presoaking in HOT water after the bleach thing -- you'll be like Mr. Clean.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:22 PM on June 17, 2009

First, anti-perspirant/deodorant should only be applied in a thin layer. This won`t change the effectiveness of the product since it`s designed to work in a thin layer. If you do this, it slows down the staining process.

Second, once there is a yellow stain, get ahold of some oxi-clean. Boil some water and dissolve the oxi-clean into it. Spread on stains and leave over night. Wash like normal. Do a spot test on colored fabrics first because this method if very effective and can remove the original dye in the shirt as well.

I`ve had the same problem for years and this is the only method I`ve found that removes stains completely.
posted by fan_of_all_things_small at 10:36 PM on June 17, 2009

A third for Mitchum.
posted by davejay at 12:54 AM on June 18, 2009

Definitely go the crystal deodorant route.

Not only does it not stain and work better than typical roll/spray-ons, it's by far the cheapest you'll ever buy. My AU$4 block has been going for almost 2 years and there's at least 50% left.

Here's some on Amazon, but go support your local health food store, it'll be cheaper too.
posted by trialex at 1:49 AM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Certain Dri made me stop sweating in my armpits. It got to a point where I only need to use it about once a week now and I don't sweat in the 'pits anymore.
posted by PFL at 7:19 AM on June 18, 2009

I had the same problem and tried Certain Dri as well as Mitchum. Both of them were irritating in some way. Finally, though, I found a product that I really love: Adidas with CottonTech. It's a great deodorant but also works great as an anti-perspirant without using aluminium or other metals, which is what causes the stains (all stains are a thing of the past for me now). If you're buying it check the label to make sure it says CottonTech, as they have a few types that look similar.

Only problem is that it's tough to find the stuff, but well worth it when you can. The women's fragrance smells almost the same as the men's, but is much easier to find.
posted by sub-culture at 8:41 AM on June 18, 2009

Mitchum. Use a tiny bit because it goes a long way.

Don't slather it on thick. There's no need to.
posted by Zambrano at 10:39 AM on June 18, 2009

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