Unsightly yellow armpit stains can destroy a white shirt quickly, and that expensive shirt may be relegated to the rag bag. Understanding the cause of the stains is the first step to prevention. Yellow underarm stains on clothing are caused by sweat compounded by the use of antiperspirants.
Wash your underarms with an antibacterial soap twice every day. According to “Fitness” magazine, sweat contains bacteria that can exacerbate underarm stains. Although all sweat contains bacteria, the problem will be more pronounced for some people, and antibacterial soap can help.
Use antiperspirant sparingly. Apply an even, thin later to your underarms and allow the antiperspirant to dry completely before getting dressed. According to the website SweatSolutions, antiperspirant works by plugging the sweat ducts just below the surface of the skin. A heavy application of deodorant is no more effective than a thin layer, the site notes.
Try deodorant instead of antiperspirant. Antiperspirants contain aluminum and other ingredients that stick to the fabric and as a result, sebum and oil are trapped in the fibers, according to the “Chicago Tribune.” As the fabric dries, a yellow stain is left behind. The ingredients in deodorant, such as hydrogenated castor oil and stearyl alcohol, are more water-soluble. Test different brands of antiperspirant or deodorant, as different brands have slightly different formulations and one may work better for you.
See a dermatologist if the problem persists, advises “Fitness” magazine. A dermatologist may prescribe a topical antibiotic or a stronger deodorant available only by prescription.
Rinse an affected white shirt with cold water immediately after wearing, suggests SweatSolutions. Hot or warm water can set the stain, making the situation worse. After rinsing with cold water, launder the garment as usual, using the warmest water suggested on the tag.