How To Get White Deodorant Stains Out of Black Shirts

White stains on black clothing are a pain. Here’s how to remove deodorant stains out of black shirts.

Black is usually a great color to wear when it comes to stains. If I’m wearing white to a party, I actively avoid red wine (which is fine since I prefer hard liquor anyway). 

Still, one substance black isn’t impervious to is anything powdery. Don’t wear black when you’re baking and using flour. You also want to avoid black if you’re anywhere near chalk. 

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid deodorant, at least not in polite society. Even the most gel-like deodorants have a powdery quality about them. And if you aren’t careful, this could stain the interior and the exterior of your black garments.

Get those unsightly deodorant stains off your favorite shirt with the following tips!

How To Remove Deodorant Stains From Black Shirts

Here are five super easy methods. In fact, most of them are home remedies utilizing things you probably already have in your kitchen or pantry.

Soak Your Clothes in White Vinegar

For this method, all you need is a bowl that can hold your garment, a clean, spare toothbrush, and some white vinegar. Don’t use any other vinegar besides white. We’re trying to lift stains, not add to them.

Before properly washing your black dress shirt or sweater, leave it in a bowl of white vinegar to soak for an hour.

Then, take a toothbrush to the affected areas if the stains are still visible. You’ll simply brush them out gently.

This method actually works on light clothing, too, so if your white shirt has sweat stains, feel free to subject it to the pre-wash vinegar dip, too.

The Lemon Juice Method

Lemon juice isn’t just great for digestive health. It’s also a great spot treater for shirt stains.

Take a cup of water and mix in equal parts lemon juice. Pour the mixture right onto the white marks and let it sit there for just a few minutes.

The citric acid in the juice disperses the stain, which means you can also use bottled lemon juice. Bottled juice isn’t ideal for culinary purposes, but it can often be even more acidic than fresh juice.

Like the vinegar method, this also works on light-colored shirts as well as dark shirts. The only difference with light clothes is that you’d place them in the sun for a good hour after you’ve spot-treated them.

The lemon and sunlight work together to bleach the surface, brightening it up in addition to banishing the stain.

The Baking Soda Cleaning Solution

Did you know you can make a pretty effective cleaning solution using just baking soda and warm water?

You’ll mix the baking powder and water until it becomes a paste. You want the consistency to be quite similar to the consistency of toothpaste, but it’ll be grittier.

Apply the paste directly to the underarm stains (or wherever the deodorant may have ended up in the course of your day!), and wait. Let it sit there for about half an hour.

Then, just take some hot water and wash it off. The paste should take most, if not all, of the stain with it. Anything left over will be easy work for the washing machine.

If the stain is especially relentless, the paste is gentle enough that you can leave it on your clothes overnight.

Hit That Stain With Some Nylon Stockings

It should go without saying that the best approach to stains is an immediate one. The longer you wait, the more the stain will set and the more difficult it will be to get rid of.

If you notice a fresh stain of deodorant buildup on your shirt right away, you can simply take a nylon stocking and rub it over the affected areas.

Photo by Lukefotografo /

You can use a dry sock or towel as well, but nylon is so effective because it’s elastic and strong. It’s tough on the stain but not on the garment.

Then, immediately throw the shirt into the washing machine. It should come out looking brand new.

Get Your Shirt Professionally Cleaned or Use Stain Remover

And, of course, If all else fails, you can always get your shirt professionally cleaned. If you have a dry cleaner you trust, just show them the stain and let them know it’s a stubborn deodorant situation.

If the black shirt or garment in question is made of a delicate material, say silk or cashmere, I fully implore you not to mess with it yourself. You don’t want to ruin a piece of clothing you paid top dollar for.

Plus, there are also stain removers you can get at the store or online. There are stain removers made for delicate materials, as well as sprays that you can use on the stained portions before throwing the shirt in the wash.

It doesn’t always work for deodorant stains, but I sometimes keep one of those Tide pens on my person if I think I’ll be in the line of fire. I’ve been to my fair share of summer white parties that risk serving red wine and brown liquor.


Here are some quick TLDR answers to questions covered in this article:

How Do You Get White Deodorant Stains Out of Black Clothes?

There are several great home remedies, such as soaking the garment in vinegar or using a lemon juice or baking soda solution on the affected areas. From there, you can throw it in the wash.

How Do You Remove Old Deodorant Stains From Black Clothes Without Washing?

The best way to do that is to get it dry-cleaned. Otherwise, you’ll have to use methods that include water.

How Do You Remove Deodorant Buildup From Shirts?

If it’s fresh, just take a piece of nylon, such as a nylon stocking, and run the buildup off of the shirt.

How Do You Get Armpit Stains Out of Black Clothes?

Before washing your stained garment, you can try store-bought stain removers, vinegar soaking, a lemon juice solution, or a baking soda paste. If all else fails, a professional cleaner is a good way to go.

What Not To Do To Get White Deodorant Stains Out Of Black Shirts

I hope all of this helps!

One thing I want to mention since I’ve seen it advised in other informationals, is to avoid hydrogen peroxide. It works well on lighter-colored clothes but will definitely stain black garments.

In fact, avoid it completely unless the shirt in question is true white — not cream, not beige. 

Again, avoid doing any DIY stain removal on delicate or expensive pieces. And when you can, treat those deodorant stains as soon as they’re fresh. The sooner, the better!

How do you get stains off of your black clothes? Have you tried any of these methods? What’s worked best and less well for you? Let me know in the comments!

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