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How To Remove Caked On Deodorant From Shirts
Removing Underarm Deodorant Stains from Cotton Clothing
A light smear of antiperspirant or deodorant that transfers to a shirt while it is being put on will usually come off with regular washing. This assumes good wash habits: a properly loaded washer, a good detergent and the right laundry additive, and the hottest water appropriate for the load.
Removing Deodorant Stains from White Shirts
Crusty build-up on underwear style t-shirts, on the other hand, is very difficult to remove, and it’s better not to let it happen in the first place. If this is the problem you are dealing with, and your shirts are in pretty bad shape, I would start fresh with new undershirts, and keep the stains from building up by doing the following:
- . Pre-treat the armpits of each white t-shirt each time you wash the shirt with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel. Use the broad scrubber tip to apply the gel and gently rub it into the stain. Since you want to prevent build-up, do this whether or not you actually see any stain every time you wash a shirt.
- . Wash immediately in hot water with detergent and ½ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach₂ with CLOROMAX®.
- . Unless you have an obvious stain you were trying to remove, you can tumble dry the shirts with the rest of your white load. Otherwise let them air dry.
Since these stains are very individualized, what works for one person doesn’t work for another, you may also want to try pretreating the stains with a little liquid laundry detergent before washing. Body chemistry, antiperspirant choice and activity level all contribute, so it’s good to experiment to see what works for you. Changing deodorants may even be necessary to help get the stains under control.
Removing Deodorant Stains from Color Shirts
There’s also the issue of what to do for colored shirts — you can try pretreating the armpit area with Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster as follows:
- . Apply liquid Clorox 2® Stain Remover & Color Booster directly to the armpit area and rub in; wait 3–5 minutes (don’t let it dry on the fabric). Doing this each time you wash a shirt will help prevent build up.
- . Wash immediately in the hottest water recommended on the care label with detergent and additional Clorox 2® based on your load size.
- . If there were obvious underarm stains that you pre-treated, then be sure to air dry the shirt and check for success; repeat if necessary.
Removing Crusty Deodorant Build-Up from Shirts
Just in case you have some crusty stained t-shirts that you do want to try restoring, here’s a recommendation often provided in clothes washer user’s guides that you can try:
- . Working into a dishpan, pour boiling water slowly through each armpit stain. This is to “melt” any build-up, which is a combination of deodorant, sweat, body soil, bacteria, etc. It will help if you position the shirt in the dishpan before you start so that you can get to each stain without touching the shirt since once you begin — it will be boiling hot!
- . Don’t rinse the shirt — just pour off as much of the hot water as you can. This keeps the build-up in a more “melted” state. And if you do need to handle the shirt either use kitchen tongs or wear gloves.
- . Apply a mixture of 1:1:1 parts baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and water directly to the stain. Sometimes this is referred to as a paste, but it is actually quite watery, so be sure to mix up enough so you can saturate the stains.
- . Rinse the shirt, and then follow up with a hot water wash with a good enzyme-containing detergent. (For white t-shirts, be sure to add ½ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach₂ with CLOROMAX®!)
While swiping deodorant under your arms keeps you feeling clean and smelling fresh, some white solid formulations leave behind patches of product that remain on the insides of your favorite garments. Instead of going sans deodorant or tossing your caked-on clothes, opt to remove these sticky mounds of residue at home without destroying the fabric.
Check the garment care label to see if the fabric is washable. If the care label says that the garment is machine washable, then agitation in the washing machine is suitable to wash and remove the stain. If the stained clothing is non-washable, take it to the dry cleaner immediately.
Use a knife with a dull edge to scoop the solid deodorant off the surface of the material. Using a knife to scrape the fabric will not completely remove the deodorant, but the knife’s back-and-forth motion will help to get rid of small pieces of the caked-on product off the garment.
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Pretreat stains with white vinegar or ammonia. If the deodorant stain altered the color of your clothing, GoodHousekeeping.com suggests that you apply white vinegar to an old stain, and ammonia to a fresh one.
Place your clothing on a flat surface with the stain facing up. Pour just enough ammonia or white vinegar directly on the stain to saturate the deodorant and the fabric. To ensure that these pretreatments help to dissolve the caked-on deodorant, rub the stain with the edge of a clean white cloth for a few seconds.
Let the ammonia or vinegar remain on the fabric for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse the area completely with warm water.
Apply a quarter-sized amount of pretreating liquid to the stain. Make sure that the pretreating product dampens and covers the stain completely.
Wash the garment in the hottest water cycle that is safe for the fabric. Dry the fabric on the care label’s recommended heat setting. Repeat this stain removal process as necessary, or take the garment to the dry cleaner for a professional cleaning treatment.