white clean shirt hanging on the wall with laundry products

Get deodorant stains out of your clothes with 4 easy & natural methods.

Last Updated: June 12, 2022

Why does deodorant stick to clothes like glue? Find out how to really get it off your clothes and other fabrics for good—without chemical cleaners.

Let’s be honest—deodorant stains on your shirt are extremely unsightly, not to mention frustrating. Some might even dub a deodorant-stained shirt as all but useless. We’ve all tried water, a little soap, and a full-on wash in the washing machine to get rid of these stains, but sometimes nothing works. So, how do you really remove deodorant stains?

But, for the sake of journalism and learning about all things cleaning, we’ve compiled some of our favorite natural cleaning methods to help make your clothes deodorant-stain-free and as good as new.

Moral of the story? A deodorant stain doesn’t have to kill the shelf life of your favorite shirt. It’s more than savable with a little effort. Have a look.

Why does deodorant stain?

Image of peach deodorant.

The main reason deodorant (and, really, antiperspirant) stains clothes is because of the aluminum in the product. Aluminum salts are what create the white marks on your skin and clothes after you’ve rubbed deodorant onto your armpits.

What deodorant doesn’t stain your shirts?

We’re happy to report that most natural deodorants don’t stain quite like conventional antiperspirants do. This is because most natural deodorants are aluminum-free.

Baking soda can also cause slight staining, so finding a natural deodorant that’s aluminum-free and baking-soda-free is your best bet for a stain-free shirt from the start.

Learn more about how natural deodorants work and how to switch straight from one of our Grove writers who tried it out herself.

Grove Tip

A nifty trick for removing deodorant stains from cotton, wool, and denim without any cleaners

Try this quick method first, before you spend your energy scrubbing that stain.

The easiest way to remove antiperspirant stains from denim, cotton, and wool fabrics is to use a clean cotton sock.

Place the sock on your hand and rub on the stain in circular motion until the stain vanishes. Voilà!

No stain removers or heavy scrubbing required. It’s almost like magic.

The best natural products for removing deodorant stains

You will need:

If you haven’t switched to natural deodorant quite yet and are still suffering from antiperspirant stains on your clothes, you can remove them quite easily with a few natural products.

  • Laundry stain remover
  • Natural laundry detergent
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Optional: Lemon juice
  • Optional: Salt
  • Optional: Distilled white vinegar
  • Optional: Baking soda

How to remove deodorant stains from fabric: Step-by-step guide

Method 1: Natural stain remover

Step 1: Spray the stain remover on the outside of the shirt on the stain until the fabric is saturated. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to rub the stain remover into the stained area if needed.

Step 2: Let it sit for 5–10 minutes.

Step 3: Put the piece of clothing in the washing machine with a natural deodorant and then wash it as normal. Air dry in the sun, which will help kick any leftover stain remnants.

Grove Tip

How to get deodorant stains out of leather

You’ll want to stick to a mild soap, natural stain remover, or natural laundry detergent for leather specifically.

Rub out as much of the stain as possible. Make a solution using warm water and a gentle soap or laundry detergent. Gently dab the stained area with this soapy mixture. Dry the leather item before use.

Learn some tips for cleaning faux leather in our guide: 5 Ways to Clean Faux Leather Naturally.

Method 2: Lemon juice and salt

Lemon juice has major acidic properties which make it an excellent cleaner, even for severe underarm sweat stains.

Step 1: Pour some lemon juice onto the stained area and sprinkle salt on top.

Step 2: Rub the stain with this mixture, using your hand or a soft-bristled toothbrush, and let it sit for some time (over an hour at least).

Step 3: Wash the fabric in the washing machine with natural detergent. Let it air dry in the sun (The sun has extra stain removing power!).

Method 3: Distilled white vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent cleaner. You can use it to virtually clean anything.

Step 1: Generously dab the vinegar onto the stained area. It doesn’t need to be diluted with water (distilled white vinegar won’t bleach your clothes), but you can dilute it in a 1:1 ratio with water if you are nervous.

Step 2: Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, rub the vinegar into the stained area.

Step 3: After a few minutes of letting it sit, throw it in the washing machine at the hottest temperature recommended for the fabric. Repeat this process as needed.

Step 4: Air dry in the sun, which has great stainbusting, whitening powers.

Method 4: Baking soda

Like vinegar, baking soda also works efficiently on almost all kinds of stains.

Step 1: Make a paste of baking soda using water and rub onto the stain using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Quick tip: You can also crush a couple of aspirin pills and make a paste with water and get a similar stain-fighting effect.

Step 2: After a few hours, wash it in a hot laundry cycle with natural detergent.

Step 3: Air dry in the sun for maximum stainbusting.

Learn more about baking soda’s cleaning power—we tried it out on some gnarly stains and surfaces.

How to get deodorant stains out of bras

You can also use natural products to clean deodorant stains without exposing the fabric to harsh chemFor deodorant-stained bras, the easiest way to remove the stain with minimal effort is to pre-treat your bras before washing.

Make a solution with water and oxygen whitener (which is safe for colored clothes too) and soak the bras for up to 30 minutes. Then wash per the label instructions.

You can also use the baking soda and water paste mentioned above to pretreat sweat and deodorant stains.

Remember to use warm water for cotton and synthetic materials, and cold water for silk and wool blends.

Tips for preventing deodorant stains in the first place

Ideally, it’s always better to try to prevent antiperspirant stains in the first place … instead of going through the hassle of removing them.

Try these tips to help:

  • Wait until your deodorant is completely dry on your armpit before getting dressed to prevent transferring to fabric.
  • Wash light colored clothes as soon as possible after you wear them to prevent those yellow deodorant-sweat stains from setting in.
  • Wear a moisture-absorbing undershirt for added protection.
  • Use a natural deodorant that doesn’t contain aluminium or other synthetic ingredients.

Read more from Grove.