Written by Tenley Haraldson.
Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.

Do your favorite shirts always end up with embarrassing underarm stains? Don’t throw them out! Our simple guide reveals how to remove pit stains with natural, plant-based products. 

Firstly, What Causes Yellow Armpit Stains?

Before you start removing pit stains, it’s important to know the difference between eccrine and apocrine sweat glands. In fact, understanding their differences can make pit stain removal and prevention that much easier. 

Eccrine Sweat Glands 

Covering most of our body, eccrine sweat glands excrete a fluid (mostly water and salt) when our temperature rises. This colorless and odorless fluid helps cool us down as it evaporates off our skin. 

Apocrine Sweat Glands 

Apocrine sweat glands develop around hair follicles (like in the armpit and groin region) and start working when we’re stressed and nervous. Though this fluid is colorless and odorless, when it empties directly into hair follicles, it mixes with skin bacteria and the aluminum in our antiperspirant. The result? You’ve guessed it: A yellow mixture that sticks to fabrics and doesn’t always come out in the wash. 

Wait, Is My Deodorant Causing Pit Stains?

how to remove yellow armpit stains

There’s a big difference between antiperspirant and deodorant. Antiperspirants contain aluminum compounds which keep you from sweating by blocking your underarm sweat ducts and inhibiting the bacteria that feed on your sweat. If you happen to perspire, these aluminum compounds also help with odor. Regardless, aluminum is the main culprit in causing yellow underarm stains.

Deodorants don’t keep you from sweating, but they do mask/neutralize body odors caused by sweating. If you use deodorant and not antiperspirant, you likely won’t spot those unsightly yellow pit stains on your clothing (although you might be seeing white residue and sweat stains).

Should I Choose Aluminum-Free Deodorant? 

Over the last few decades, concerns have been raised about the aluminum compounds used in antiperspirants, especially regarding conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. And even though studies have largely shown them to be safe, Puracy believes that personal care products can be hard-working and plant-based. 

That’s why we’ve added an incredibly effective, long-lasting, and aluminum-free Natural Deodorant to our product line. 

what causes yellow armpit stainsNote: When you switch to any new deodorant, use it for at least two weeks for best results. 

Get the best tips from the cleaning obsessed.

Puracy crafts cleaning & care items that work really well. Our obsession with natural cleaning performance is our profession, and we're here to share it with you.

Easy Ways to Prevent Armpit Stains 

There are a few simple ways to prevent pit stains before they become a nuisance:

  • Wearing a lightweight undershirt or sweat guards (e.g. dress shields) can do wonders to absorb sweat before it makes its way to your favorite shirt. 
  • Avoid excess caffeine intake, since this increases sweat production by elevating body temperature and anxiety levels.
  • Wait until your deodorant is totally dry before dressing (so it doesn’t transfer to clothing). 

How to Remove Pit Stains & Sweat Stains 

It doesn’t matter whether you use an antiperspirant or deodorant: You can remove yellow armpit stains and sweat stains with this step-by-step guide. 

1. Check Where Stains Tend to Occur 

In addition to armpits, check for stains around collars and cuffs. This will give you a better idea of “problem areas” to keep an eye on. 

2. Spray with Puracy Stain Remover 

Fully saturate both sides of the stained area with Puracy Natural Stain Remover and wait at least 15 minutes before laundering. If you’re dealing with a stubborn stain, wait between 8-72 hours (the longer, the better). 

Note: For silk, wool, or non-washable fabrics, don’t let our Natural Stain Remover sit for more than one hour. 

3. Agitate the Area 

To remove tough pit stains, you can agitate the area by rubbing fabric together. This will drive the plant-based enzymes deeper into the fabric’s fibers while loosening the stain particles. Puracy co-founder and CEO, Sean Busch considers a boar’s hair detailing brush to be the best choice:

boars hair detailing brush

“A boar’s hair brush – which looks like a paintbrush – has just the right amount of stiffness but is still gentle enough for delicate fabrics. Even better, sourcing the hair doesn’t hurt the animal.”

4. Launder 

Select a laundry cycle with the warmest water that fabric care instructions allow. We recommend choosing an "Extra Rinse" cycle. Extra-stubborn stains may require two treatments. The plant-based enzymes in our Natural Laundry Detergent help break down sweat stains, and its low salt content means that it washes away cleanly and without residue. 

5. Frequent Care Is Easy Care

When undressing each day, spray the armpits, collars, and cuffs of machine-washable shirts with Puracy Natural Stain Remover. Throw your shirt in the hamper and forget about it until laundry day. 

How to Remove Pit Stains from White Shirts

Following the above directions should get those yellow stains out (no matter how old the pit stains are)! 

removing pit stains from white shirts

If you’re using Puracy Natural Stain Remover, you won’t need to use bleach. In fact, bleach will kill the powerful plant-based enzymes – and can actually make the stains yellower. In other words, you can get clothes white without bleach, and we recommend it!

How to Get Deodorant Stains out of Shirts

Sometimes, the pit stains on your shirt are caused by a buildup of deodorant. If you use prescription-grade antiperspirants, the higher aluminum content can be even more difficult to remove.

In addition to waiting for your deodorant to dry before getting dressed, we recommend investing in a Natural Stain Remover and boar’s hair brush – and following the above directions, of course! 

How Puracy Natural Stain Remover Works 

The 6 microscopic, plant-based enzymes in our Natural Stain Remover get in between fabric fibers. Each enzyme has a specific role and breaks down different thousands of organic particles until stains and smells are completely wiped out. Best of all, there’s no need for harsh detergents or potentially harmful chemicals.

pit stain remover

The Best Natural Stain Remover – Guaranteed 

We believe that we’ve created the best stain remover on the market – and our customer reviews are a testament to its effectiveness. 

In the unlikely event that you don’t absolutely love our Natural Stain Remover, we’ll refund your purchase, no questions or returns necessary.