5 Things to Know About Armpit Stains

How to Remove and Prevent Armpit Stains

5 Things to Know About Removing Armpit Stains

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Sure, the venerable armpit isn’t a sexy topic, but it can drive the first impression you give off to others. 

Live in a hot climate? We bet you’ve pitted your shirt more than once. Or maybe you’re that guy who gives off more than his fair share of body odor even after a casual walk down the street. 

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In any case, armpit stains are unsightly, annoying and just downright unpleasant. They can ruin the strongest of shirts and leave yellow marks that continue to get worse over time. 

However, there is another way. With a little bit of know-how and preparation, you too can limit sweat stains and actually reverse some of the damage you’ve been doing to your clothes (and your body) with deodorants and antiperspirants. We spoke with a few experts in the deodorant business who know a thing a two about what it takes to keep armpit odor and sweat in check. 


Why It’s Okay to Sweat


The aluminum that’s found in many conventional antiperspirants is a compound that is actually reacting with the electrolytes in your sweat to block your sweat glands from working properly. This and added synthetic ingredients may also cause irritation on the sensitive skin that’s underneath your arms. 

“Natural deodorants allow your underarms to breathe, neutralize odors and relieve moisture levels with natural ingredients. [Ingredients such as] arrowroot and cornstarch are usually present in natural formulas to soak up moisture,” says Kaia Naturals founder Mary Futher. 

She adds that the key is to allow some time for your body to transition and adjust to using a non-aluminum based product, in what’s really a detox for your underarms. Your body might produce more odor and sweat for this short period of time, but in the long-term you should begin to notice considerable, sustainable improvement. 

“Your body is designed to sweat for thermoregulation and to get rid of toxins,” Futher says. “Preventing this natural process is not healthy.”


How to Get Deodorant Stains out of Shirts 


Now that we’ve established that it’s best to sweat, there’s another important thing to remember about stains: time is not on your side.

“Fresh stains are much easier to remove than those over 24 hours old,” says Branch Basics Co-Founder Marilee Nelson. 

She suggests trying cold water first, which could prevent the stain from setting because once it’s set, the stain is extremely difficult — maybe impossible — to remove completely. 

Opting for a plant-based detergent tends to be gentler on your clothes as a whole over time, especially in those flex areas like the armpit area of a sleeve. We even wrote a piece about it and have some great suggestions for making the switch. Over time, this softer approach will lengthen the life of that favorite dress shirt or polo. 


How to Remove Sweat Stains


Let’s get into the heart of the matter. Sweat stains are very tricky, but can be tackled with patience and persistence. 

Use a firm-bristled laundry brush to work in either a nickel-sized amount of a laundry detergent or baking soda solution into the stain and let it sit between three to five minutes. 

“Gently, yet firmly work into the area in circular motions,” says Molly’s Suds Founder Monica Leonard. “We recommend about 60 seconds of brushing it into the fibers and adding a 1⁄2 scoop more (of either a natural detergent or baking soda solution as it dissolves.”

“Then, turn on warm running water — as warm as you can handle. Under the running faucet, scrub the garment until no more yellowing is visible,” she adds. 

Rinse thoroughly after and repeat if the stain is still visible. As the shirt is drying, make sure the stain is gone. If it’s not, drying will set the stain and make it virtually impossible to remove. 


Home Remedies for Removing Armpit Stains


If you’re looking for a more “homely” approach, it’s best to start with your armpits themselves to help prevent stains before they ever make it to your shirt. 

Through the detoxing process, you can use acidic topicals like apple cider vinegar or lemon applied to a cotton ball to help transition your armpits. Wearing natural fibers and eating a healthier diet are also simple ways to help deter odor. 

That being said, another more natural approach is to simply use a baking soda solution to help pull the stain out of the shirt as we’ve mentioned above. Other home options from aspirin to lemons have been known to work, but with varying degrees of success. 


Use Natural Deodorants to Help Prevent Stains 


Hopefully by now, we’ve convinced you that the fight against armpit sweat, stains and odor may be hard, but isn’t hopeless. That last part of the contest is offering some product recommendations to jumpstart your transition to a life with fewer armpit issues.  

Following our guide, the first step is to begin an underarm detox and there are few better ways to do it than with Kaia Naturals’ Detox From Aluminum Kit. This insures you begin by cleansing the area properly using an underarm bar powered by apple cider vinegar that helps build a barrier against pesky odor. In addition it includes a daily charcoal deodorant that helps pull toxins. The brand was started by a former product developer from some of the biggest names in beauty and personal care, so it packs all of the punch while lacking the unwanted chemicals. 

Rustic Maka is another brand flying under the radar, but known for its effective natural deodorant offerings. It’s a family-run operation that’s built to provide non-toxic underarm care for a middle-of-the-road price. It’s deodorants come in baking soda-free and charcoal options that get rid of odors.

One of the biggest brands in the natural game, Vermont’s Ursa Major has been quietly gaining steam with a tightly curated range products that work great on all skin. Its Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant is a best seller for a reason. It goes on smooth and stays fresh. It is a pricier option for underarm care, but is one that this writer can personally attest to: it’ll work through sticky climates or a tough workout and keep things under the arm in check. 

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