8 Simple Ways To Prevent And Remove Pit Stains

No matter how much you fight it, there's just no getting around the unfortunate fact that you're gonna sweat through your shirts during the dog days of summer. But that doesn't mean you should parade those shameful yellow pit stains around for the rest of the year. In fact, there are some tricks to prevent them setting in in the first place, and if all else fails, a few foolproof methods to get rid of them completely.

Arm yourself with these 8 tips and get ready to sweat stress-free.

Wear an undershirt

It certainly won't keep you cooler, but putting an extra layer between your armpits and your button-downs will help reduce stains and preserve pricier fabrics. If a second shirt feels too bulky, or you just sweat straight through it anyway, you may want to try these armpit pads, which are specifically designed to soak up your buckets of perspiration before they can seep through.

Keep those pits groomed

Too much pit hair acts as a trap for excess moisture, so keeping your underarms trimmed and tidy will help dry your sweat faster and reduce any lingering odors.

Wear less deodorant

There's no evidence that lacquering your armpits in several coats of deodorant will keep you smelling fresher longer. In fact, liberally applying the stuff just means there's more to seep into your clothes, which is bad. Instead, apply a single layer and wait for it to dry completely before putting your shirt on. Get ready to chicken dance your way through your morning routine.

Stop wearing antiperspirants

Here's some science for you: those nasty yellow underarm globs are intensified by a chemical reaction between the minerals in our sweat and the aluminum found in antiperspirants. Even if you rely on them to help curb your sweating, switching to a good ol' (aluminum-free) deodorant should actually help cut back on the stains. You may also want to give one of these newfangled stain-guarding antiperspirants a try.

Wash your shirt immediately

The longer a sweaty shirt has to dry, the stronger the stain will set in, so caring for your garment sooner rather than later is your best bet to avoid discoloration. If necessary, wash it quickly by hand in a (clean) sink with a little bit of detergent and cold water. 

When all else fails...

As carefully as you try to avoid them, you're going to face a pit stain sooner or later. But there are several swift and simple solutions to bring your shirt back to gleaming unyellowed glory. Just remember this: NEVER USE BLEACH. It makes them much, much worse. Instead, try one of these tried and true remedies:

  • Oxi Clean: Billy Mays' favorite stain remover has earned quite a reputation for its sweat stain fighting power. Mix one scoop with cold water in a bowl or clean sink and let the stain sit submerged for about an hour (or several if it's particularly bad). For some added oomph, you can also create a loose paste of OxiClean and water and apply it to the affected area before tossing into the washing machine.
  • Crushed aspirin: crush up a few pills and mix with enough water that it creates a loose paste. Apply to the affected area(s) and let sit for 15 minutes, then launder as usual.
  • Dish soap & hydrogen peroxide: mix one part Dawn with two parts hydrogen peroxide, let it soak on the affected areas for an hour, and launder as usual.

Joe McGauley is a moderately sweaty senior editor at Supercompressor.

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