White or yellow, old or new, here are some tricks to try.

By InStyle Staff
May 29, 2020 @ 2:30 pm
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Sometimes, the smallest details can make or break an outfit, whether it's an ill-fitting bra or shoes that seem more painful than pretty. Many of us have even gone through the day with deodorant stains on our clothes, only to discover that getting them out isn't as easy as we'd thought.

When it comes to removing pesky white streaks — or worse, yellow ones that force us to part with our favorite white shirts — we decided to ask the pros. Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, who co-founded The Laundress, a company that creates nontoxic laundry and home cleaning products, gave InStyle their tips for getting deodorant stains out of clothing quickly and efficiantly. Something tells us you'll want to bookmark this one, saving these tips for you really need 'em.

Pre-Treat the Stains

When it comes to deodorant stains that have been sitting on your clothes all day (or all week), you'll want to pre-treat them first — and The Laundress sells the perfect products to help you do it.

“When treating cotton, linen, or durable synthetics, apply The Laundress Stain Solution directly to the area and work into the fabric with your finger or The Laundress Stain Brush, then launder as normal,” says Whiting.

According to Boyd, if a stain is extra tough, it might need an extra step. You should “pre-treat and soak the item in a bath of hot water for up to 30 minutes," and for added power, "put the affected area under the faucet set to its highest pressure and let the water work the stain." You can repeat this step if needed, then simply wash as normal.

Consider the Material

With wools and cashmeres, “pre-treat and soak like normal, but use tepid water," says Whiting. Then, handwash and rinse.

Remember Tricks For White Shirts

We also spoke to Marilee Nelson, the co-founder of nontoxic cleaning brand Branch Basics, who gave us a solution for — gah — yellow stains that mess up white shirts. Create a mixture of 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, two tablespoons of baking soda, one teaspoon cleaning concentrate, and a quarter cup of water. After applying the mixture to your clothes and agitating, let it sit for a few hours before throwing it in the wash.

Don't Use Water to Remove a Stain in a Rush

If you're headed out the door, a deodorant removing sponge works without water, and they're small enough to keep in your bag should you spot a stain during the day. Another option, says Boyd, “is to take the inside fabric of your top and rub the marked area on the outside to remove the residue from the exterior to the interior. It works brilliantly in a pinch!” 

In other words, the same material as your clothing will help to scrub out white deodorant stains without any water. Who knew?!

Change Up Your Deodorant

It's the aluminum in your deodorant, when mixed with the bacterial microbiome in your armpits, that causes the yellowing.  Whiting and Boyd advise using clear deodorant options and ones without that ingredient, such as a natural formula, in order to avoid this problem altogether.

This is Ask the Experts: Where our favorite fashion know-it-alls share their wisdom. Just because you can trust your style instincts doesn't mean you should have to.