Goodbye to Yellow Armpit Stains!

armpit stains


You may have seen this picture of the spilled red wine posted on Pinterest or other sites around the web lately. It’s from an online article at and the title is:

The Only Spot Remover You’ll Ever Need.

Well that definitely got MY attention…because I had JUST the “spot” to test this “spot remover” on. Lately the undershirt/t-shirts my boys wear have been bugging me to no end! They are relatively NEW t-shirts…but after a few times wearing them playing basketball or whatever boys do to get all sweaty and disgusting….the underarm areas are all stained yellow!
The BEFORE and AFTER’s are QUITE amazing…….especially considering I had tried everything I could possibly think of to get them white again.

Wine StainThe online article describes the stain remover mixture as consisting of one part Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with two parts HYDROGEN PEROXIDE  (which of course I have OODLES of for making my Miracle Cleaner).

The author then goes on to say you pour the mixture directly on the stain, and watch it disappear like MAGIC.”


armpit stains

I knew the stains on my boys t-shirts were uber STUBBORN (since even pouring straight bleach on them hadn’t worked previously)…so I used the above “recipe” PLUS added some baking soda (of course!) for the extra scrubbing element…and I used a small laundry brush to work the whole concoction into the stain for a few minutes.  After that I walked away and let the whole thing sit there for an hour or so and then laundered as usual.

And here are the “hard to argue with” results!

armpit stains


As I HOPE you can see in these photos….the difference was actually quite amazing and very encouraging! Can’t wait to try it on more clothes that have been hiding in my closets, too embarrassed to come out.



UPDATE: 11/20/2011


There have been a few comments posted inquiring whether you can use this on colored clothes too. This weekend I decided to put it “to the test” on an old DARK BLUE t-shirt of mine that had some grease spots on the front that I have tried EVERYTHING I could think of to get out…to no avail.

armpit stains

As you can see….no ill effects (ie. fading/bleaching of the color!) The mixture I scrubbed on with the brush above was 1 tsp. Dawn dishwashing detergent, 3-4 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, and a couple tablespoons of baking soda.  Pretty pleased with this since this is an OLD shirt that I just hadn’t got around to throwing out. Now I don’t have to! :-)

armpit stains



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      • Hallie Wiseley says

        The dawn shouldn’t cause it to decompose, but hold off on the baking soda (CHNaO3), since it will cause a chemical reaction. But if you just keep the peroxide & Dawn mixture cool and sealed and don’t expose it to light, it should be OK–don’t worry about refrigerating it unless your house is hot. Light acts as a catalyst and makes it the hydrogen peroxide split into water and oxygen [(2)H2O2 --> (2)H2O + O2]. That’s why the diluted bottles that you buy at the grocery store are opaque brown.

      • Erika says

        Actually, Hydrogen Peroxide can keep for a very long time if you put it in a bottle that does not allow light in, or duct tape a bottle so no light can get it. Works wonders in my work.

        • Cee says

          Sure, as everyone is saying above don’t expose it to light (but the refrigerator will also do that since most fridges I see in people’s homes are sealed off from light. I suppose refrigerating is not that important if you consider all the comments, but it is recommended by Sigma, a chemical manufacturer, to store it sealed tightly and cold for BEST results. (admittedly, we have a 30% solution at work, most solutions available over the counter are 3%.)
          Thanks Jillee!

  1. Rachel JL says

    It probably doesn't matter which Dawn you use, since they effectively have the same active ingredients. That's just a guess, though. My niece and I are trying it with a generic version, so hopefully! If it doesn't work, I'll go buy the real thing.

  2. Betty819 says

    My dear MIL swore that Dawn would take a lot of stains out. DH turned over a diet root beer one day this week on the light beige carpet. He immediately tried to blot up the soda, not rub it in. I suggested Dawn but we didn't have any. We used all the carpet stain remover in the house, then drug out the Bissell rug shampoo machine and worked for 2 days to get that root beer stain up. It did finally remove it or make it hardly noticable. I was ready to try Simple Green or white vinegar. Would either of them have worked? Won't peroxide act as a bleach on fabrics?

    • Kara says

      It is my understanding that OTC hydrogen peroxide will not remove color…it is the beautician’s formula of ‘peroxide’ that will strip color from hair, fabric, dishware, etc.

      • Cee says

        Yes, that’s true. The Red Cross got blood all over a favorite red shirt of mine one day while donating.. and the ladies told me not to worry, hydrogen peroxide would get it our without bleaching the shirt. I went back to the lab and poured it on, it worked instantly! Now I use hydrogen peroxide to remove blood from everything- my dog had a cut and got a bit on the walls and floor, it came right off and did not damage any of the colors.

      • Amy says

        I found on the internet how to take stunk smell off of dogs when our dog got sprayed recently and the hydrogen peroxide lightened her hair. Maybe dog hair is different, idk but that’s what happened.

      • shalom says

        I f it’s a matter of trying it or tossing a garment I’m willing to try it, but it did bleach my son’s hair. When he was small he got a sore on his scalp so I did usual of treating the sore with hydrogen peroxide and neosporin. After several treatments I noticed the hair in that area was lighter. lol I don’t remember if he went outside and that play a part in it or not.
        I have read a comment (can’t remember where) where a “nurse” said not to use hydrogen peroxide on a sore. The person didn’t give a reason. However, I have used it for years to help clean out a wound or sore. My son got an infected fingernail one time and I used the same combo. To me it seemed to look a little worse, so when he had to see the doctor for another reason I showed the doctor and told him what I was doing. He said it look fine and to keep doing what I was doing.

    • Maggie says

      Ugh, isn’t banana stain the WORST?! I hate how it gets gooey and seeps down into the carpet, and gets all entwined in the fibers, and makes you want to cut out that chunk of the carpet and burn it… Ok. Kind of over-dramatic…

  3. Anonymous says

    Ok…I was excited to find this as I have some white banquet table cloths that I use for weddings, banquets etc. For some reason after treating and laundering them (folded and put away) when I go to pull them out there are bright yellow stains where the "used" to be before laundering them. I was so hoping this would work. I treated 3 table cloths, let them sit for awhile and washed in hot water. The stain wasn't even lightened a bit. Any suggestions – please help if you can. Thanks so much…Sue

    • Highlandangel says

      I have tried dissolving Dawn dishwasher detergent in boiling hot water. Let it cool and then put in the whites to sit over night. This gets out most stains I have tried it on. Grease stains, I use engine degreaser from an automotive store. Spray it on and let it sit. Sometimes I will rub it in. Afew times I had torepeat this step, but only because I did not let it sit long enough.

    • Carla says

      My son is a chef and would come home with all sorts of stains, from berries to blood stains from raw meat, and ythe worst was mustard. One thing I found that works well is a product called Soilove. It keeps his chef coats very white. I use to buy it at SafeWay stores but the only place I can find it now is at the 99cent only store. Not the found at the Dollar stores. you can search for it on the web. Thats how I found it. I squirt it on the satins scrub with a soft brush, sak for a little while and then wash with detergent and a little bleach. When my whites start to get a little dingy I add some to the wash, it brightens the whites.

    • Shelley says

      Try mixing hydrogen peroxide with Biz (powder). Make a paste – it will get warm when you mix it. Make the paste sort of thick but not so thick that you can’t spread it with your finger. Apply to stain and let sit overnight, then launder as usual. I leave the paste on when I throw the item in the was. This has never failed me except for getting out ink. Hope it helps.

    • Wendy says

      There is some stuff that my husband got at Menard’s (he worked there at the time) called Mom’s Goop. It’s made by the same people as Goop hand cleaner. I have had the best luck with it. Even after washing and drying, it gets stains out. I’ve also found that it must be the same thing as Goop because I tried that (because it’s cheaper) and it worked just the same.

    • Lilian says

      Mix 1 gallon hot water with 2 big scoops of Oxiclean. Soak the cloths in the solution overnight. The stains will all be gone and not come back with no scrubbing… trust me! If this doesn’t work, the stains are probably rust (which they don’t sound like it)… if this is the case, buy a bottle of Stain Devil (small yellow bottle in the laundry section in the grocery store) for rust… works great. :-) I can’t tell you how many clothes, cloths, etc I’ve saved with Oxiclean…

  4. Anonymous says

    Same solution works for your carpets as well! I use this to clean up dog "messes" and it really gets the odor out! Only difference is I do the liquid soap/peroxide first and when it's almost dry, then I sprinkle the baking soda and vacuum when it's dry.

  5. Jill Nystul says

    Oooo…now I want to try the Cream of Tartar trick! Thanks. I'll let you know how it works!

    Sue…did you use a scrub brush on the stains? How long did you let them sit before washing? I think it would be worth trying again and leaving the solution on longer.

    I don't think you can PRE-mix this stuff because the hydrogen peroxide loses its' effectiveness as it exposed to sunlight. That's why it's packaged in the dark brown bottle.

  6. Anonymous says

    Ok looking at your photos the before back ground is so much darker than the after. Also I was comparing the before and after photos of the cami and I have to say that's not even the same cami. One has a seam and the other doesn't???

    • mokie says

      The difference in the color of the backgrounds is due to white balance. Digital cameras aren’t so great at figuring out neutral colors – the sensor will try to judge from what the camera thinks is white, but different types of lighting can leave a blue or orange tint in the image.

      In this case, because the washed shirt is brighter, the camera read the scene as brighter and lightened the other colors in the image accordingly. So the difference in color supports the results.

      As for the seams, they all seem to be present and accounted for to my eye. One shirt is pre-wash and the other is post-wash, so they are lying differently in the two photos, which may account for the seam you think has gone missing.

  7. Jill Nystul says

    Anonymous Skeptic…

    For your viewing enjoyment, a slideshow of every picture I ever took of the t-shirt and cami in question.

    I mention in the body of the post that my AMATEUR photos didn't do the subject matter justice.

    Have fun. I'm sure you will have lots of insight to share. As long as you keep it constructive I won't remove your comments. You can tell your friend Todd I removed his because of language.

    You might also want to read some of the 138 comments above…many from people who had success with this.

  8. Beth says

    THANK YOU!!! I used 1/2 cup Dawn, 1 cup Hydrogen Peroxide and 2 T Baking Soda, mixed it in a bowl, dipped my scrub brush in it and scrubbed the collars and underarms of my husbands white t-shirts. I let it sit for an hour and washed it in hot water with a little of my laundry detergent and BAM!!! Amazing! Oh, I also scrubbed in on one of my camis and it's awesome! Thank you for sharing Jillee!

  9. Anonymous says

    I will def be trying this to remove those yellow stains! Also wanted share that I use Goo Gone spray gel to remove any oil/grease stains in clothes. You do not have to use it right away, so if you catch the grease stain after the clothing item has been washed and dried, just spray it on the spots and wash as usual. I don't even scrub. One bottle lasts a very long time as its heavily concentrated. In our house of two adults, Im always getting oil splattered on me in the kitchen and my hus is in construction and one bottle has lasted us about 3 years! And it's wonderful to have around to remove adhesive from price tags off of products. :). Here is a link to the product.
    (I use Goo Gone spray gel [its orange] by Magic American)

    • SaraV says

      Great idea! You can also use straight Dawn (or generic dish soap, like I use) to treat a grease stain. I just pour it on, rub it in, then pre-treat with a stain remover—and it will take the grease right out! BEST part of this is you can do this even AFTER fabric has already been washed/dried in dryer and it will STILL WORK! (Once I didn’t catch it on one of my son’s shirts until after numerous wears/washes, and it worked like a charm!)

    • Angie says

      This homemade stain remover is just that – a stain remover – not a laundry detergent. All you are doing with it is treating stains, not washing your entire load with it. I personally think you should be fine using it.

    • Cari says

      That’s actually just a money ploy. HE detergents are more expensive, if you’ll note. You can use regular detergents, just not as much. It’s a suds-ing thing. And a few times, especially if followed by a washing machine cleaning, won’t hurt a thing. I spot remove with pure Dawn all the time. And I’ve soaked an entire load with Dawn, vinegar, peroxide, and baking soda with no problem. (Then washed with Tide Pods.) I have a friend who is a washer/dryer salesman and he let me in on the tip, so I like to pass it along when I can!

      • Michelle says

        I had to go double check, but my HE detergent is the same volume and same price as the top-loader variety. Also, I bought regular detergent by accident once and decided to just use it. Used less, hoping to control the FOAM, and beyond the clothes not smelling as clean (I use dye and fragrance free, so that wasn’t the issue, smelled like dirt and sweat!), the washer totally locked up from all the suds. It was insane!! That said, There wouldn’t be enough of the Dawn to adversely affect the washer simply from treating a few shirts. Now if you put it on the entire load… :)~

  10. Swan says

    If anyone else suggested this, I apologize. There were so many comments, I did not read them all. To remove set in oil stains, just "reactivate" the stain with more oil just before laundering (I keep a can of WD40 in my laundry closet just for this, and spray it right on the stained spot) then rub a liberal amount of Dawn dish detergent into the stain and launder as usual. No real scrubbing is required. It works very, very well. I got that tip from the "Queen of Clean" laundry stain book years ago. It sounds so counter-intuitive to add oil to an oil stain, but it works.

  11. Swan says

    @BabyBumpBeyond, I used to get great results removing set in yellow baby stains with a paste of meat tenderizer and water (the plain white kind, NOT the orange seasoned kind). Rub a thin paste into the stains and let sit for about an hour, then wash. It's great for those old protein stains like milk, formula and spit up. It works even better on fresh ones. Just mix up some in a spray bottle (less concentrated) and spray all around the neckline of your new baby's clothes before washing, and none of those will set.

  12. Anonymous says

    I have battled armpit stains for over 20 years during that time I have tried every suggestion I could find. In my search I have found that you shouldn't used bleach or hot water because it will set the stain. Since I have stopped washing my whites in hot water and bleach I have noticed I don't battle the yellow staining nearly as often. I am glad to have your suggestion in my arsenal of cleaning tips!

    • Lynda says

      for anyone who has a problem with underarm sweating if you use vinegar as an antipersperant instead of
      antipersperant or doderant you will keep dry and you will not have any stains. I have used this for 30 years. I keep cotten balls in a air tight container covered with vinegar so I always have them on hand. If it wears of just use more vinegar and you don’t smell like a french fry the vinegar smell leaves shortly after it is applyed.

  13. dolma says

    I'm writing from Bulgaria / Europe where there is no Dawn. I was wondering why it is so popular in the US? Could you share the secret ingredients so that maybe we can find an alternative here or in any other country outside US? I tried to search in the company site but didn't find details.

    Have you actually tried the recipe with any other dish washing liquid and have you found any difference?

    • dbvernon says

      I don’t know if you have been back to read the comments further down but it seems like people have tried other liquid dish soaps and have had success with it. Dawn claims it is a grease remover so if you can find a dish soap that says “degreaser” on it then it might have the same main ingredient as dawn. I would tell you the main ingredient but right now I have the green apple scented antibacterial dish soap and am not sure if it uses the same ingredient as the regular blue Dawn dish soap.

  14. r stickler says

    I would've thought straight dishwashing detergent on the stain right before laundering would've gotten the grease spots out. My husband has a shirt that had a 'mystery stain' on the front pocket that nothing removed; had a bar of Fels Naptha (yeah, like our moms used!), rubbed it on the stain, washed it yet again, worked great.

  15. Anonymous says

    FYI…to remove ink and permanent marker from a washable item, spray it heavily with aerosol hair spray and then launder as usual. I bought new pillows for my couch and they would've been trashed after my daughter wrote with a Sharpie on them, but this saved them. I use it regularly and find no difference in brands. I keep a cheap can in my laundry room.

  16. Anonymous says

    Do you know if this will work on the stains you get when you accidentally send a tube of Chapstick in with the wash? Half of my boyfriend's wardrobe is currently covered in Chapstick spots!

  17. melissa says

    i just moved into a new home and my lil yorkie worked her way into my room which is off limits and urinated on my carpet…ugh…any ideas on what will remove this yellow stain?

  18. Anonymous says

    I just used this to scrub my fiance's very yucky 7 year old baseball hat that has been worn almost daily and never washed. I scrubbed it in all over the hat, especially on the (supposed to be) white D and detroit lettering, then let it soak for an hour, and threw it in the wash on delicate, and it came out looking like new! Almost all of the sweat stains on the inside are gone and the hat looks all clean and the d and detroit are white again! It worked fantastic!


    Is it weird that I want to go home and dig through all my husband's nasty arm-pitted stained shirts to try this??? HAHA! Thanks so much for the post! I love your blog!

  20. Anonymous says

    I didn't read through all of the comments so someone may have already posted this little tidbit…armpit stains are generally not caused by sweat but by antiperspirant. If you use deodorant rather than antiperspirant you may avoid the stains altogether. There is new evidence that the aluminum in antiperspirants may cause neorological issues. Another reason to switch…

    • Kay says

      Actually, this is not totally true. While I agree with switching over to to deodorants, I have white shirts that are stained in other places I sweat a lot but where I don’t wear any deodorant. So, while I’m sure it contributes (all the sticky stuff that never really washes out!), sweat is still a large contributing factor.

      • Cee says

        Kay, I sweat like crazy and I can attest this isn’t entirely true as well. Antiperspirant doesn’t work very well for me so I decided to start using some natural deodorant because of the dangers of the aluminum, and I sweat so much more it was embarrassing (and I don’t embarrass easily.) Most of my shirts, regardless of color, have developed serious issues in the pits whether I’ve worn deodorant, antiperspirant, natural stuff or nothing.

  21. Kelsey Holbrook Stiles says

    Jill! This is so funny, I knew you had a blog going but I had never visited and then I was searching last night on Pinterest for something to help out my husband's stained shorts and the first thing that popped up was your page!
    Congrats lady!

  22. Anonymous says

    OK, here's a new one. After reading your recipe and getting excited, I decided to try it for something totally different.
    We have white vinyl siding and under each window there are these long gray streaks. I have tried everything, including RV streak remover. I figured what did I have to loose. I mixed up a batch and got my scrubbie out, and walla it worked. The house looks like a new house – NO MORE GRAY STAINS. It even worked on mildew like stuff on the house. I will be using it on more things.
    Thanks so much for the recipe. I LOVE IT!!!

    • Jillee says

      cdubray….from everything I had researched…it is the original Blue Dawn that is most preferred. But honestly…I think your orange antibacterial should work as well. I’d give it a try. :-)

  23. Natalia says

    OMG! you are like my cleaning guru!! I swear to God!
    So, I found your receipt on Pinterest, and decided to give it a try (since everything else hasn’t worked), I tried it on a pink shirt and a white and black blouse that I was about to put in the trash. So I did your receipt but instead of Dawn I used the one that’s in my country (México) and it’s called Axion (I use the Aloe for my dishes) because we don’t have blue Dawn. And OMG!! it worked!! the yellow stains in the white and black were GONE!! (but the black parts kind of went to the white ones.. I’m going to try get rid of them, because now all the white is stained in black “/ ) and the pink one had like a deodorant crust or something.. and now its GONE, its look like NEW!! so it definitely works!! I would recommend to just try it in ONE color shirts

    Thank you so much!! I might translate your receipt to spanish so my hispanic friends can have this awesome receipt! (linking you off course!)

  24. Jillian says

    Just so you know, I’ve been pushing dish soap on grease stains for years. Just a little on the grease stain and them throw the item on the hamper for a couple hours, overnite or even for a few days. Then throw them in the wash and voila! No more grease stain.

  25. Judy says

    After spilling barbeque sauce on the sleeve of one of my favorite colored t-shirts, I decided I had nothing to lose. I followed this “recipe”, adding the baking soda. At first, I didn’t think it was going to remove the stain but, I saturated it, scrubbed it with an old toothbrush, and let it set for about an hour. I rinsed it out with straight peroxide and the barbeque stain was gone! Thanks!!

  26. Ruth says

    Out of curiousity, I have a question for you. I’ve always used Peroxide on blood stains, but learned to rinse out after a little while because it will eat the fabric. Have you noticed anything like this, or do you think the Dawn and soda will help stop this reaction?

  27. says

    I have a $200 camera…point and shoot obviously by the cost. I have learned to take decent pictures…even of food.

    My tip for you if you did not get your camera for Christmas is NATURAL LIGHT! Be sure to play with the different settings, too. If I leave it on the kids/pet setting, it takes the picture too quickly to let in light. BUT the indoor setting works well.

    I just wanted to share that with you. Hope you don’t mind. Thanks for the sweat stain help!

  28. Osgoodgirl says

    I’m so pleased. I’ve been married for 33 years and have tried, in vain, to remove “pit stains”. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I thought why not couldn’t hurt. I wasn’t really expecting much but wow was I impressed. I used and old toothbrush to rub it in good and then added a little baking soda and scrubbed again. I let it set for about 1 hour then just before putting the shirt in the washer I did the old fashioned scrubbing it between my hands. Washed it with everything else and TA-DA I couldn’t see ANY of the stain. Thank you so very much. Now that I’m getting older it is wonderful to find something new that works so well. Thank you, thank you, thank you. P.S. I had some leftover and put it in the cupboard. I used it about 2 weeks later and it worked just fine.

  29. Lynda says

    Thank you for this tip Jillee. I will definately be putting it to the test very soon :-) I’m wondering if this would work on athletic socks, specifically “dry-fit”? My son is an avid sports player, and is required to wear white, Nike dry-fit socks with his uniforms. I have tried bleach, Oxy-wash, and a billion other products and my son still has gray, stained, dingy socks. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated!

  30. Candice Renee says

    Um, totally amazing and MUCH needed! White t-shirts are my favorite (in all varieties) and I pitch them once they have the underarm stains because I too have tried everything to get them out. This has saved me!

    • Tanya says

      I agree, this is totally amazing, and the single best hint I’ve ever found on the Internet. Why isn’t this on all of those silly “life hacks” lists?

      I thought my karate gi’s were permanently yellow in the pits as I’d tried straight bleach as well. I can’t even see where the stains were now. Wow. And so cheap, too!

      So many thanks!!

  31. Missy says

    Wow! Honestly, when I saw this, I was very skeptical that it would work on my hubby’s undershirts, so I was shocked at the results! I just tried it on one underarm of one shirt for comparison sake, and I couldn’t believe that it was the same shirt! . Thanks for posting this amazing tip!

  32. says

    The sleeve of my off-white sweatshirt landed in some baked beans while reaching for some food in front of it. I didn’t realize it & when I put my arm down, it got on other parts of my shirt. I scrubbed in your spot remover with a toothbrush. I could still see a little, so let it set a little while. I was so impressed, I tried it on 5 other shirts with spots. After laundering, EVERYTHING came out spotless. The proof is, I missed a tiny spot of beans & it did NOT come out in the wash.

    Thanks so much for all your homemade cleaners.

  33. Paul says

    I just made the “recipe”, I threw it in the microwave for a minute to heat it up so the stain could soak it up quickly, scrubbed, and now I’m waiting. Can’t wait to see results, thank you for saving my V-necks!


  1. [...] is a formal event and I thought I might wear my hair like this. What do y’all think?Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest This was a cleaning tip. Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide with one [...]

  2. [...] I still had some favorite shirts with armpit stains around from my antiperspirant days.  I’m not sure why…  Maybe because I hoped they weren’t that bad or no one would notice.  Maybe because I didn’t want to have to replace the stained shirts (I really hate shopping).  Then I found this great tip for removing the stains with Dawn dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. [...]

  3. [...] Remove stains from clothing, curtains, and tablecloths. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a pre-treater for stains — just soak the stain for a little while in 3% hydrogen peroxide before tossing into the laundry. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to boost brightness. It’s a green alternative to bleach, and works just as well. [...]

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