How to remove underarm odor from clothes

Most people develop underarm odour when they exercise or overexert themselves. Underarm odour results from perspiration, which consists predominantly of water and small traces of salt, sugar, ammonia and urea. Bacteria on the skin cause perspiration to smell unpleasant, which is embarrassing for many. The key to removing underarm odour from clothes is to treat it immediately, before the perspiration weakens and discolours the fabric. If neglected, perspiration has the potential to produce permanent yellow stains on clothing.

Inspect the underarm regions of the clothing for perspiration stains. If you discover a fresh perspiration stain, blot it with liquid ammonia using a cotton ball. Use distilled vinegar instead of ammonia on perspiration stains that have set over 24 hours. Keep the ammonia or distilled vinegar on the underarm regions of the clothing for approximately 10 minutes.

Flush the underarm regions of the clothing with warm water. Thoroughly rinse all ammonia or distilled vinegar from the clothing.

Examine the underarm regions of the clothing for lingering odour and discolouration. If any underarm odour or discolouration persists, coat the underarm regions liberally with prewash stain remover. Leave the solution on the clothing for approximately 10 minutes before laundering the item.

Launder the clothing with 59.1ml. of oxygen bleach and the hottest water recommended on the garment's care label.

Lay the freshly washed clothing flat and let it air dry.


Substitute any liquid enzyme washing powder for prewash stain remover.


Spot-test the prewash stain remover, along with the ammonia or distilled vinegar, on an inconspicuous area of the clothing to prevent damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid ammonia or distilled vinegar
  • Cotton balls
  • Prewash stain remover
  • Washing machine
  • 59.1ml. oxygen bleach
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About the Author

April Dowling first started writing in high school and has written many news articles for newspaper and yearbook publications. She is currently pursuing a career as an online writer and affiliate marketer. Dowling writes for several websites and keeps many blogs.