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What is the Best Way to Remove Deodorant Stains from Clothing?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Removing deodorant stains from clothing can take a lot of work, and there seems to be no one definitive method that all agree will work. In all cases, it's best to test any method on a small, unseen part of the clothing before trying it on the stains. Some fabrics may be more vulnerable to detergents, bleaches, or ammonia.

In almost all cases, it's best to treat the deodorant stains as soon as possible. This is because the stains will set, and you have a better chance of removing them sooner than later. One method advocates taking a pair of stockings or nylons and rubbing the stains. This is a safe method to try on just about any fabric, since it will not harm the material.

Others suggest washing the garment inside out to remove the stains. Direct exposure to the agitation of the machine can often help get the deodorant out. This method cannot be used with fabrics that must be hand washed or dry-cleaned, however.

Some cleaning experts suggest rubbing the deodorant stains with a paste made from baking soda, or using whitening toothpaste and allowing the fabric to sit overnight. Many detergents may also contain whitening agents that will effectively remove stains. On dark clothing, however, this method may cause the fabric to discolor.

Many people swear by the vinegar method, which involves applying vinegar to the stains and letting the garment sit overnight in a vinegar and water solution. Use white vinegar, and not wine, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, and do not mix vinegar and baking powder, as this can cause a messy chemical reaction.

Some people say if the deodorant stains are treated soon enough, the best method is to use a commercial stain remover. This again should be used with caution on delicate fabrics. Many feel that a stain sick, similar in look to a deodorant stick, is better than spray stain removers.

If you notice marks on clothes that must be dry cleaned, be sure to point these stains out to the dry cleaner and get the garment to the cleaners as soon as possible. Sometimes, dry-cleaning will remove a stain.

There are many other suggestions for stain removal, and you may need to experiment with several methods before finding the best one. To avoid stains in the future, look for antiperspirants or deodorants that are advertised as non-staining.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon924112 — On Jan 02, 2014

The nylons worked wonderfully. I scored a great dress at an even greater discount, in part because it had deodorant stains, I think, so I was worried-- but it came right off! So happy right now.

By anon337230 — On Jun 03, 2013

I was wondering if someone can help me. When I put my deodorant on my bra by the armpit after a while it starts to get clumpy on my bra and I've tried everything. They are Victoria's Secret bras and I don't want to put them in the trash.

By anon222556 — On Oct 15, 2011

Put some ammonia in a spray bottle, saturate the stain let sit a few minutes, rub heavy stains and you will see the stain move like a salt stain. Wash within five minutes. If you let it dry you will have to spray it again. This will also help remove grime and germs from the rest of your wash. It's a cheap fix from a dollar store and it works. We use a clear gel and the stains are bad, but are gone after this treatment.

By underarm — On Jul 27, 2011

Deodorant powder works for me: no staining, no odor masking or even when I sweat, no odors!

I used to have a very funky smell, like a cockroach, but after using Uarmsol deodorant powder, now I have no more bad odors. Even when I sweat, I have no odors or after sport smell.

It's amazing and I'm loving it. I can't go out without putting it on first.

I'd recommend it to anyone who needs a deodorant that doesn't stain, doesn't like shaving armpits and no smell when you sweat.

By anon178242 — On May 20, 2011

That was amazing! Nylons took deodorant stains out of a dry clean only top (and they were there since last summer). It took less than one minute and it really looks great!

By anon124408 — On Nov 05, 2010

No matter what type of deodorant I use, clear or not, I still get stains on my clothing. The only thing that I have found that works for me to removed the stains is Deo-Go from Klima Deodorant. It works great!

By anon116366 — On Oct 06, 2010

Drizzle with Lestoil then rub fabric on itself and wash as usual.

By anon93227 — On Jul 02, 2010

wow, the nylons worked! I am in complete shock at how well it worked. I tried a dress on that I want to wear out tonight and got deodorant on it. No time to dry clean or hand wash so thought I'd try the nylons - I picked up the first pair of stockings I came to in my underwear drawer and it's like an eraser!

By cbrown — On May 14, 2010

After trying so many concoctions of baking soda, peroxide, aspirin, etc., finally something really does work. The Deo-go, mentioned in an earlier post is amazing! I bought it from their website, haven't seen it in stores yet.

By anon52567 — On Nov 15, 2009

OK. I use clear deodorant and still get stains, so that is not the answer. Something to oxidize the aluminum is probably best -- anything related to acetic acid, baking soda, lemon juice, etc.

By oldblighty — On Oct 09, 2009

There is a product called DEO-GO which is specifically formulated to remove deodorant and anti-perspirant stains, I believe you can buy it online.

By anon43289 — On Aug 27, 2009

Many deodorants from a health food store do not leave a white residue whatsoever and usually give more deoderant protection. I use Laffe's roll on. It costs a little more, but no more stains and the better protection makes it well worth it.

By anon38022 — On Jul 23, 2009

I tried the suggestion of rubbing nylon stockings against the white stain on a black polyester dress and it did work. Trying to use soap and water might discolor the dress so try this first. Thanks for the tip!

By ghaeltamayo — On May 11, 2009

I need a solution for deodorant stain removal, please.

By anon29570 — On Apr 04, 2009

I have to say clear deodorant does not solve the problem. I use clear deodorant only, and still get stains. It's the aluminum salts in the deodorant that often cause the stains, so your best bet to prevent them would be to find one without aluminum in it.

By solomonh — On Mar 31, 2008

Clear deodorant is the best bet here - it won't stain so you don't have to deal with any of this!

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor,...
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