How To Prevent & Clean Deodorant Streaks Off Your Clothes


Let’s face it: many of us can’t skip wearing some deodorant before heading to school, the office or anywhere we’re supposed to be in close contact with others. It is only natural that people want to smell good – and so we reach for our deodorant bars or roll-ons every morning.

While many popular deodorant brands do their job smell wise, many bring an unintended problem of deodorant streaks.

A Guide To Deodorant Marks & Streaks

On dark fabrics, deodorant streaks appear whitish or greyish. Light fabrics are marred by yellowish and darkish stains around the underarm area.

The problem with deodorant stains is if you don’t manage them well, all your favourite clothes will soon become ruined with them.

Preventing Deodorant Stains

The first step in stain management is prevention. Here are some tips that will help prevent or at least minimise the occurrence of deodorant streaks:

1 ) Add An Additional Layer

Men can wear undershirts so that a thin cotton fabric can absorb potential deodorant and sweat stains. Women on the other hand, can opt for sweat pads to protect their clothes from deodorant streaks. Disposable sweat pads usually come in packs of ten and can be worn discretely under any type of clothing.

2) Long-Term Sweat Protection

Some antiperspirant products are designed to remain on the skin for days on end.

These mega sweat blockers are applied at night so that the antiperspirant layer can dry completely. Once a sweat blocker dries into a protective film, it will no longer rub off on fabrics or if it does, only minimally.

3) Be Patient 

We’re all guilty of applying deodorants and/or antiperspirants in a hurry.

Even solid bar deodorant products need to set first, before any fabric can come into contact with it. If at all possible, allot five to ten minutes of drying time after you apply a deodorant. Stand near a fan to hasten the drying, if you want.

4) Less Is More

Sometimes, the problem is that a person applies too much deodorant, causing some of it to inadvertently ‘spill’ unto the fabric.

Adjust the quantity that you apply to your underarms and see if that prevents future streaks on your clothes. Deodorant/antiperspirant products are now more efficiently formulated so you don’t need to apply a lot to get sweat or odour protection.

5) Avoid Heating Stains 

Due to the nature of deodorant and antiperspirant products, chemical stains from these products tend to darken when heat is applied. That’s why we do not recommend ironing the underarm area of shirts and other clothes.

If you regularly tumble-dry clothes, you may want to reconsider if many of your clothes already have dark or yellow deodorant streaks. Tumble-drying may worsen the appearance of even small streaks.

6) Skip Aerosols

Aerosol deodorants tend to create more stains than their cheaper, solid counterparts. And between a solid bar deodorant and roll-on, choose the solid bar but make sure you don’t apply too much.

Roll-ons aren’t necessarily messier on clothes, but you do have to dry out your underarms adequately before heading out if you want to avoid stains.

Cleaning & Removing Deodorant Stains

Now that you know how to prevent stains, let’s jump to cleaning and removing existing stains.

 1) Pretreating Is A Must

Pretreating is attacking a stain before washing as usual. Pretreating overnight is especially recommended for old stains.

Vinegar, baking soda and detergent can be combined in small quantities (equal parts) and applied directly to both new and old stains. After soaking the stain overnight with the pretreatment formula, feel free to wash your shirt the way you’ve always washed it.

Deodorant streaks often carry with them undesirable odours, so it would be best to add baking soda to your pre-treatment paste. Baking soda is an almost universal odour neutraliser and works great on fabrics.

Another powerful deodorising agent is fresh lemon juice. Some people use freshly cut lemons as stain sponges. Cut a lemon in half and rub it on those stains – lemon will help lighten all kinds of stains, including deodorant streaks.

Of course, fresh lemon juice can act like bleach so don’t apply it to dark or colored fabrics. Lemon and baking soda as a combo are suited best for white clothes.

2) Soak Your Clothes 

Soaking clothes softens fabrics and helps lift out dirt and grease, too. Stain pre-treatment can be combined with overnight soaking.

All you need is warm water and one or two cups of your detergent. Mix the detergent well into the water before soaking your clothes. If possible, use a biological detergent when soaking stained clothes overnight.

Biological detergents have enzymes that can help address not just deodorant streaks, but stinky sweat stains, too.

After soaking your clothes, wash normally – there is no need to increase the temperature too much. Keep your washer temperature at 30 degrees max and those stains will lift off.

3) Rub Off With Nylon Stockings 

Stains are normally addressed with bleach – unless you’re dealing with coloured or dark fabrics. In which case, try lightening those whitish/yellowish deodorant streaks with a pair of stockings.

It sounds strange, but the absorbency of nylon combined with the texture of stockings help lift away stains more quickly. Use only colour-safe cleaning aids when removing streaks from coloured fabrics.

4) Quick Stain Remedies

We recommend three quick remedies if a deodorant stain has not yet set in:

  • Baby wipes – Baby wipes are absorbent and have natural cleaning components. Use as many as needed to remove staining that has only accumulated within the day.
  • Mini-sponges – Mini-sponges used to apply and remove makeup can also be used like baby wipes. Add a few drops of liquid detergent to help in the cleaning process.
  • Make-up remover – Make-up removers, believe it or not, are made up mostly of water, emulsifiers (like olive oil) and soap.

These products are generally more expensive than regular detergent but if you don’t have detergent at the moment but you do have some make-up remover, use a small quantity to wipe off those pesky deodorant stains.

Author Bio: Sterling is a writer, fitness junkie and loves all things technology. Sterling is the owner of , which is where you can get in touch with him if you have any questions/comments.