Keeping white shirts crisp, clean, and white is a never ending battle. Everything from coffee and juice to grease, oil, and ink will leave a stain if it gets on your clothes. However, even if you avoid spilling all of these things on your white shirts, you still have to deal with ugly, yellow armpit stains.
Nothing else ruins a nice white shirt like how sweat stains do. They just look gross and unsightly, and they make you appear dirty, sloppy, even unhygienic. Pit stains are notoriously hard to remove and no amount of soaking in cold water or bleach will get them out. Bleach can actually make them worse!
Part of the reason why armpit stains are so stubborn is because they’re not actually caused by sweat alone. Instead, the stains result from aluminum, which is found in the deodorant or antiperspirant you use, reacting with your sweat and shirt. Both cotton shirts and sweat are proteins and when aluminum reacts to them it causes the nasty yellowing to occur. This reaction also bonds the sweat and deodorant to your shirt and makes the stains water-resistant (aluminum is what gives an antiperspirant its sweat blocking ability). That’s why armpit stains are so tough to remove, they’re essentially chemically set-in and repel water!
Rather than let a little problem like yellow armpits ruin your favorite clothes, try this wardrobe-saving laundry trick and get the most mileage and wear out of your whites. Take five 325mg aspirin tablets and crush them up. Fill a two gallon bucket or tub with hot water and dissolve the crushed aspirin in it. Place any white, sweat stained clothes in the solution and allow them to soak for a minimum of eight hours. Wash them in the machine as per usual and when they come out the stains will be gone.
If your don’t have a lot of time to soak clothes for hours you can place five aspirin tablets in the washing machine with a load of laundry. This won’t get stains out as well as soaking them will do, but they will be noticeably faded. To increase the sweat stain fighting power of aspirin even more, pre-treat stains by combining 5 crushed tablets with a ¼ cup of warm water. Smear the resulting paste on the stains and allow it to sit for several minutes before rinsing and washing the clothing as you regularly would.
Finally, if you need to spot treat smaller sweat stains or a single item, this small batch aspirin soak will do the job. It’s great for shirt collars and kids shirts. Crush up two 325mg aspirin tablets and dissolve them in a glass filled with hot water. Place the sweat stained portion of the shirt in the mixture and let it soak for 8 hours. Wash, rinse, and you’re done!
What makes aspirin so useful and effective at removing sweat stains is the main active ingredient it contains, salicylic acid. When tablets are dissolved this acid gets released and works by breaking up the proteins in sweat stains. It’s also gentle on clothing and won’t harm or damage garments by ruining the fabric. Try this laundry trick tonight or file it away because it will definitely come in handy down the line!
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