Deodorant goo removal?
December 9, 2006 7:24 PM   Subscribe

What will dissolve deodorant/antiperspirant goo?

My shirts all have white deodorant goo on the armpits once I'm done wearing them for the day. (This happens with any kind of stick deodorant -- even the ones that are supposed to 'go on clear' or whatever.) When I put the shirts in the laundry, the goo leaves the armpits of the shirts, but much seems to remain in the wash-water. It forms this filmy layer on the surface of the rinse water and it ends up on all the laundry. If I re-wash, more goes away, but never completely.

I've also noticed that if I get some deodorant on my hand while applying it (no idea how), soap and hot water don't seem to completely remove it. So I'm guessing the same thing happens in the laundry. I've tried oxyclean, but this doesn't seem to have much of an effect.

Is there a product that will dissolve the deodorant/antiperspirant so it will actually rinse away in the wash? Has anyone else solved (or even had) this problem? (btw, I know that switching to gel or liquid or certain-dri-type deodorant would work :) (Oh -- to clarify, I intend the term deodorant to be synonymous with deodorant/antiperspirant)
posted by sentient to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Don't know the answer but have definately had issues with deodorant caking on my shirts. Some brands are better than others but haven't found one without at least some "issues".
posted by Octoparrot at 8:09 PM on December 9, 2006

The gel deodorants - not antipersiprants, just deodorants - don't do this.
posted by nicwolff at 8:20 PM on December 9, 2006

Not quite answering the question: Is it a dosage issue? I've noticed some people use hugely more deodorant than others, wiping the stick back and forth a dozen or so times. Perhaps less residue would dissolve more easily in the wash.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:21 PM on December 9, 2006

I've heard some things that may help, but have never done controlled studies to test them - YMMV

- Let the deodorant dry a little before putting on a shirt. Less will rub off that way.

- Blot your armpits with tp or a kleenex after application. This is especially true for guys, where a lot of the deodorant may stick to the hair, where it doesn't do any good. Anti-perspirant has to get down to the skin to clog up the pores.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:22 PM on December 9, 2006

Are you possibly using too much deodorant/antiperspirant?

The best way to prevent antiperspirants from transferring onto clothes and from potential staining, according to Thomas, is to apply just a thin layer of antiperspirant to your underarms and to allow it to dry thoroughly before donning clothing.

More here including some solutions...

More info on removing sweat stains here including techniques that involve backing soda and hydrogen peroxide and pre-washing.

I found all this info via Google using the search phrase "sweat stains."
posted by wfrgms at 8:24 PM on December 9, 2006

What's the problem with using a gel exactly? You state "I know that switching to gel ... would work" ... so, um, why not do that?

I use Dry Idea Unscented Clear Gel and have never had this problem.
posted by dmd at 8:26 PM on December 9, 2006

Shaving your armpits would definitely help (but that would cause me to call you a nancy-boy from now on).

Ever try aerosol deodorant? I've used Old Spice for over a decade and have never had this problem. I sweep across two-three times and then I'm done. I stick to deodorant, not anti-perspirant.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:33 PM on December 9, 2006

Sorry, aerosol should be a separate idea from Old Spice (a stick).
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:34 PM on December 9, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers, all.

So I'm the only one who gets deodorant film in the washer?

busy old fool et. al. -- It could just be a dosage issue -- I guess the more I use, the more gets on my shirts, the more it ends up not dissolving in the washer and getting on everything... It seems like it works better if I use more; maybe that's not true, though. (I think I may be one of the 12 wipes people.)

wfrgms -- that's the funny thing; I don't generally have a problem with sweat stains, per se... in fact, the caked on deodorant comes off the shirts well. It's just that it stays in the water and gets on everything else.

dmd -- so, the thing is I don't really like the gels. They're slimy and never really dry, in my experience. They, sort of, immediately transfer to my shirt, which feels funny, whereas the stick kind must do so gradually throughout the day. It has been a while, though, so perhaps I'll give a gel a try.

btw, FWIW I'm a female and also generally have shaved pits. SeizeTheDay -- you can still call me a nancy boy if you want. :) I wonder if men's deodorants are stronger than women's, in general, so men don't need as much despite the pit hair, etc.. I guess 'secret' brand would have us believe that.

Any thoughts about a deodorant solvent/dissolver, in case I want to be stubborn and not heed any of the different-deodorant-trial advice? I do appreciate it, it's just that I've never found the clear deodorants to work too well. And there's the slimy feeling thing with the gel. I guess I can't have my deodorant cake and eat it too, though. Pun seriously not indended.
posted by sentient at 9:23 PM on December 9, 2006

"slimy and never really dry" ... you're using way, way too much. One pass of one click is all it takes.
posted by dmd at 9:42 PM on December 9, 2006

I'm wondering if your water is funky. If your dishwasher is doing icky things to your dishes, maybe your water is just full of chemistry. Have you tried some kind of water additive, like washing soda or borax? Some other kind of water softener in the wash water? (Our water has some kind of bad mojo going here. It doesn't do that in the laundry, but the dishwasher is a nightmare.)
posted by unrepentanthippie at 9:43 PM on December 9, 2006

Shaving your armpits would definitely help (but that would cause me to call you a nancy-boy from now on).

Men can use scissors to carefully get rid of excess foliage and not sacrifice any of their machismo. (Um, so I have heard.)

Also, I use Spray-n-Wash or a similar pre-wash spray on all the underarm areas of my shirts.
posted by The Deej at 10:51 PM on December 9, 2006

"...maybe your water is just full of chemistry."
That is so great, unrepentanthippie! I may have to use this phrase in the near future.

I am partial to agree with the statement above that maybe you have hard water; I live in an area with extremely hard water, and I definitely have to add "water softener" to the dishwasher if I have any hopes of sparkling - nay, reasonable translucent - glasses.

Additionally, I wonder if perhaps your laundry detergent is ineffective? What type do you use? Does it do the job of getting major stains out of your clothing?

As an aside, I use Secret's Soft Solid (the kind that you mention advertising as "Goes on clear"). I never have said problem with deodorant residue.
posted by numinous at 11:06 PM on December 9, 2006

Yellow marks left on clothing from deodorant are the result of the active ingredient, aluminum chloride. Yes, there is aluminum in deodorant. Try pre-treating the area before laundering by rubbing a bar of soap on the shirt's underarm area. Don't use a soap with dye, obviously.
posted by HotPatatta at 11:07 PM on December 9, 2006

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