A reader named Barry asked: Any advice on getting rid of underarm perspiration stains from white and blue cotton shirts? Thank you.

This is a common one and easily resolved with a few simple steps. It’s important to know that pit stains are not caused by perspiration but by the aluminum in antiperspirant. In the interest of prevention, the first thing to do is to stop using antiperspirant that contains aluminum and switch to a deodorant that doesn’t.

For the initial treatment of the stains, I’d recommend a good scrub on the stain with a Wash & Stain Bar from The Laundress (www.thelaundress.com). With warm water and a little elbow grease, it should give the stain a run for its money. The extra bonus is the sage scent of the bars, which smell amazing. (They’re also great for emergency laundry in the hotel room sink when traveling.)


After breaking up some of the stain with the stain bars, soak the shirt with OxiClean (www.oxiclean.com), an intense, color-safe stain fighting detergent. Follow the instructions for overnight soaking. From here on in, you should supplement your regular detergent with OxiClean for your shirts and all of your laundry loads. It keeps whites white and colors bright without chlorine bleach.

If you have any other suggestions or solutions that have worked for you, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!

Have a question? Ask me.


  1. Derrik Ollar

    Nice lead on the Wash & Stain Bar. Thanks. With anti-persperant, I have found that if you shower and apply at night rather than in the morning, it soaks in/dries completely and doesn’t seem to create stains then.

    • George

      I get them online. But the Laundress website might have a list of stockists.

  2. Any good no aluminum anti-perspirants off the top of your head?

  3. Hi George…congratulations for your blog, i enjoy reading your posts and listening to the podcasts.
    First a cuestión: if the alluminum is the reason for pit stains, why dos the shirt neck algo ges those yellow stains?
    And second, my tip tip for really stuborn stains is to make a solution of pine sol and Palmolive bar soap and use that to scrub the shirt…

  4. Hi George. Have you ever tried Raise Armpit Stain Remover? It doesn’t remove 100% of the stain, but definitely can make a shirt wearable again.