How to break down deodorant build up

Here is how we solve the frustrating mystery of how to break down the accumulated deodorant build up in our favorite tee shirts.

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. The popular brands are thick, sticky, and goopy. Add to the scenario that too much gets applied in one use and the build up accumulates unnoticed.

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.

The build up becomes a pain to remove once 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.

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.

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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.

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 lemon juice, make a paste on each affected under arm area. You can let this combination set for a while if you desire, no more than 30 minutes to be safe. Using a soft bristle brush ( I use an old toothbrush), gently rub in a circular tapping motion to gently lift the stains without causing too much agitation to the fabric. This process may need to be repeated if the yellowing has been there for a while.

Once the stains are lifted, wash and dry as usual.

3 thoughts on “How to break down deodorant 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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