Underarm smell in clothes

Armpits are a breeding ground for bacteria and odours, quickly stinking up the underarm area of clothing. A typical washing does little to remove the trapped unpleasant smell from the garment. Fortunately, a few common household items remove the stinky armpit aroma and freshen clothing.


As the body heats up and begins to sweat, this helps regulate body temperature. If unable to sweat, the body's temperature continues to rise, proving fatal. Sweat leaves an unpleasant smell on clothing when it comes in contact with bacteria on the skin. This unpleasant smell withstands normal laundering. Furthermore, antiperspirants or deodorants used to prevent sweating and odours leave difficult-to-remove stains on the underarm area of shirts.

White clothing

The same product used to clean cuts and scrapes removes underarm odours and lingering stains from white clothing. To remove the odour, turn the shirt inside out and lay it on a flat surface. Blot the underarm area of the clothing with a white cloth dampened in a mixture of equal parts 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide and cool water. Continue blotting until the armpit area is thoroughly saturated Leave the mixture on the clothing for 30 minutes before laundering the clothing as normal.

Coloured clothing

Inexpensive and all natural, white vinegar eliminates underarm odour and removes any deodorant or sweat stains. Flip the clothing inside out and lay flat on a level surface. Fill a small container with 120 ml (1/2 cup) cool water and add 18 ml (1 tbsp) white vinegar. Dampen a clean, white cloth in the vinegar mixture and blot the armpit area until thoroughly saturated. Let the vinegar mixture soak on the clothing for 30 minutes. After the allotted time has passed, launder the clothing as normal.


If there is a perspiration or deodorant stain on the clothing, do no dry in the dryer until the stain is removed. Heat causes the stain to set into the clothing, making it nearly impossible to remove. To help remove any lingering stains, apply a prewash stain treatment on the armpit area of the clothing before laundering. Bleach added to white clothing during the wash cycle also helps remove such stains.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.