Despite being the coolest guy you know, I’m going to admit I have this nasty little problem. One of my best friends, Carlos, constantly gives me grief over this. Yellow stains on the underarms of your shirts isn’t just ugly, but it can contribute to the demise of plenty of nice, white summery shirts.
While staining does have to do with sweating, you can get your shirts white and clean with a few treatments and a little bit of elbow grease.
There are plenty of ways to remove underarm stains, but the problem is that you want to choose the right way to clean your shirts. There’s no trial and error with your designer white cotton shirts, so read on for tested methods that will definitely get your shirts clean.
Try a solution of one part water to four parts laundry detergent. You can spray it over the underarms of your white shirt (inside out, of course), and then allow it to sit for an hour or so. Afterwards, use a spare soft toothbrush or scrub brush to brush the underarms of your shirt gently. Rinse your shirt clean with cool water. Next, soak your white shirt overnight in a bucket of cold water and a few tablespoons of laundry detergent. Your shirt will be ready to wash in the morning.
Warning: These instructions only work with washable white shirts. Everything else must be brought to the cleaners, unless you want your favorite shirt ruined further. . . probably not.
Wash your shirt as soon as possible. If you let your shirt hang around, it won’t respond as well to washing as a freshly soiled shirt will. Using laundry detergent specially formulated for whites, add the amount recommended on the bottle or box to your washing machine. Wash your whites in hot water.
Consider adding the following products to make your whites even brighter (no, they’re not complicated):
• Use a ½ cup of lemon juice in the rinse cycle of your laundry. This method will work best when the laundry is hung out on the line to dry afterward.
• Add a half cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle wash if you have very hard water (high mineral content).
• Add a ½ cup of washing soda or borax to your laundry to get your whites perfectly, blindingly white. This is only good for water that isn’t hard.
Tip: Consider using commercial stain removers like OxyClean during the wash cycle for extra whiteness.
If at all possible, dry your white shirts in the sun. This can help to “draw out” stains, and make your white shirt look even whiter than it did after you washed it. If you can’t dry your shirt outside, try air drying indoors instead.
Avoid drying your shirt in the dryer. Heat can set residual stains and will not help you get the whitest shirt possible.
• Wearing undershirt (preferably v-neck) whenever possible is a nice idea to save your shirts from staining.
• Storing whites in the dark can actually cause yellowing, so find a light, bright shelf to keep natural fiber white shirts.