Next time you open your wardrobe, take a good hard look at your shirts. Do they still look like the condition you bought them in? Nah, I didn’t think so. It doesn’t matter how much cash you splash on shirts, if you sweat and wear some form of antiperspirant, with time they’ll eventually get pit stains. And nothing makes a once nice dress shirt look hideous than yellow spot stains around the pits.
It’s commonly thought the main culprit behind this is sweat, but you’d be wrong.
Shirt stains has less to do with sweating and more to do with what you spray under your armpits. Rather, the yellowing effect is a combined result of antiperspirant chemicals mixing with acidic sweat.
So how do you save yourself from forking out the dosh for new shirts every few months? Not to worry, we've got you covered with three steps you can start using now.
Solution #1: Go au naturel
I’m probably going to cop some flack over this one; if you want to stop the leading cause of yellow shirt stains ditch the antiperspirant. Why? By avoiding antiperspirants you cancel-out stain-inducing aluminium salts and other nasty chemicals. Over time these ingredients build up on shirts making the stains near-impossible to remove.
When you make the switch, it’s best to go for a 100% natural deodorant (and yes, we’re a little biased here). Not only will an all natural deodorant save your pricey shirts from ruin, it nourishes skin without drying or irritating armpits. All aces in my book.
Side note: Unless you’re an unusually heavy sweater in normal conditions (in which case you should seek professional help), a natural deodorant is a must in your grooming arsenal.
Solution #2: Laundry detergent
If you’ve ever tried cleaning yellow stains out of your shirts, you’ll know standard laundering will not cut it. Instead, you'll need to send for reinforcements.
Option #1: Eat away stains Pit stains respond best to detergents containing enzymes (it will mention so on the label). A 10-15 minute pre-wash soak in protease-infused detergent may help eat away shirt stains. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need a heavy duty approach, see below.
Option #2: The old fashion way… and some elbow grease If option one didn’t do the trick, its time to go old school with distilled water and white vinegar. Mix both together and pour over the yellow stained area, then grab a brush and scrub away in a circular motion. But don’t go crazy with the scrubbing, this may damage cotton fibres. Continue until the the stain begins to fade, then straight into the washing machine.
Solution #3: Rule of one
Always follow the rule of one: Never wear the same shirt more than one time in a row. It's gross. And lazy. After wearing, apply a pre-treatment stain spray to the underarm areas and toss it to the wash basket. That's right, you don't even need to wash it then and there. Let the spray do it's job until laundry day.
That’s how you go from white to yellow and back again.