Breaking down the build up

We have all used a stick deodorant once upon a time ( I still do). For the most part the woman’s variety tends to be less sticky, therefore breaks down a little better when we start to get warm, but men’s stick deodorant seems to be a different story. Most people probably apply too much deodorant (guilty!), without realizing it. The effect of this starts to show within a few wearing’s of our day to day shirts, the deodorant starts to build up and regular laundering doesn’t seem to touch the sticky build up. As it starts to accumulate, it becomes harder to remove. It starts to create a hard build up in the crease of the underarm where the arm bends and in white shirts it creates a dark spot, and on dark shirts it creates a chalky hard residue.

It becomes a pain to remove once the build up starts to accumulate. The solution for this problem is to steer away from stick deodorants all together. But, to fix the shirts that are affected, all you need is a few household staples and some patience.

Here is what you will need to remove the deodorant build up from the under arms of your favorite dark colored shirts.

  • baking soda
  • white vinegar
  • soft bristle brush

Turn the shirt inside out and dampen underarm area with warm water. Sprinkle the affected areas generously with baking soda, and gently work the area with a soft bristled brush. Pour a small amount of white vinegar over the baking soda paste and watch the bubbly magic happen. The chemical reaction causes a foaming of carbon dioxide to lift stains. Scrub again, being careful not to apply too much pressure and damaging the fibers or color. Wash as directed.

Photo by Skitterphoto on

The process for removing the deodorant build up in a white shirt is a little different because you do not have to worry about color removal of the fabric in the treatment process. The combination of deodorant build up and yellow staining from perspiration makes for some unattractive stains in the under arm area. Here is what you will need for treatment of these types of stains.

  • blue dawn dish soap
  • baking soda
  • white vinegar
  • table salt
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • soft bristle brush (I use an old toothbrush)

Dampen under arms with warm water and apply a few drops of dawn dish soap and brush lightly. Next sprinkle enough baking soda to make a paste and brush lightly again. Let sit a few minutes and then pour about a 1/4 cup white vinegar on each under arm. Again, the foaming chemical reaction of carbon dioxide lifts the stains. You may want to soak the under arms for 25-30 minutes in the white vinegar/soap mixture for caked on deodorant stains.

For stubborn yellowing stains on white cotton tee’s, an extra step may be required. Using 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 tsp table salt, and 1 tbsp hydrogen peroxide, make a paste on each affected under arm area. Using a soft bristle brush ( I use an old tooth brush), gently rub in a circular tapping motion to gently lift the stains without causing too much agitation to the fabric.

2 thoughts on “Breaking down the build up

  1. I tried this and it definitely worked! The added bonus is that the natural ingredients softened the shirts as well. Thanks so much for all your tips and tricks.


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