My boyfriends t-shirts often get crusty deodorant build up which doesn't go away after washing.

Is there an easy, sure-fire way to remove this?

Preventative (Bonus round)- My shirts never do this, is it just because I sweat less or is it something to do with the deodorant he uses?

Note: He used aerosol Sure for Men Antiperspirant Deodorant (the exact one changes).

Great to have some answers so far, I just wanted to point out the bold part of my question again, I'm looking for a life hack to remove this, preventative advise is welcome but does not answer the question!

  • Well, he could always use your deodorant.. :)
    – Caius Jard
    Nov 6, 2019 at 14:31
  • That only helps if it is about the deodorant (as opposed to, for example, the amount he uses, or the amount he sweats). Two more reasons he cant: I use role on and I cant imagine that going well with underarm hair(!) and it smells very girly (I actually really like the smell of his one on him)
    – Gamora
    Nov 6, 2019 at 14:39
  • 1
    Does he use deodorant or antiperspirant? What form factor? (Aerosol spray, pump action spray, liquid roll on, gel/soap bar style roll on etc)
    – Caius Jard
    Nov 6, 2019 at 15:00
  • 1
    Just to add another level of confusion into the mix, I always find that I get this on ONE side of my shirts and not the other. I use the same deodorant on both sides! I therefore suggest that it is physiological rather than caused by the product.
    – Lefty
    Nov 6, 2019 at 15:42
  • 2
    @Bee There is the possibility that we don't spray equally with both hands, that's true, but I also remember a radio DJ having an ongoing discussion some years ago about "sweaty right armpit syndrome", with a number of his listeners agreeing that they had the same imbalance as me. Not scientific, I admit, but I still think it implies the problem is caused but the sweat rather than the deodorant.
    – Lefty
    Nov 6, 2019 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


I used to suffer from this, especially with shirts. I was told about a product called Deo Go which you soak into the affected area, leave for 10-15mins and then wash out on a regular cycle. It worked well, but will pull the colour out of coloured t-shirts so is only really good for white shirts. Since changing to an aluminium free anti-perspirant, it's less of an issue

  • For some reason, white t-shirts is exactly where he has this happen. I'll give it a try and accept your answer if it works ;)
    – Gamora
    Nov 21, 2019 at 12:38
  • Good luck! P.S. the Deo-Go is quite pungent, so open a window first. Nov 21, 2019 at 14:17
  • @Gamora how did you get on? Jan 27, 2021 at 12:34

According to A Cleaner World (a professional dry-cleaners' site),

Here’s how we suggest combating the impact of both perspiration and antiperspirant on your clothes:

  • Check out the ingredients in your antiperspirant, and if it contains aluminum chlorohydrate, which tends to clump in cotton and damage fibers, consider switching to another product – like an aluminum-free or neutral pH type of deodorant.

  • Always allow your deodorant to dry before dressing, which should help with getting it on your clothes.

  • Just as with stains and spills, wash or dry clean your clothes right after wearing to remove as much of both the perspiration and antiperspirant as possible.
  • If stains remain, don’t place the item in the dryer or iron it. The heat from both the dryer and the iron will cause the stains to permanently set into the fabric.
  • If washing doesn’t remove the stains, then try soaking in cold water and a small amount of dish soap that contains de-greasers. After soaking, rinse, and wash according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If that doesn’t work, you could try soaking in a mild color-safe bleach, using the same instructions as above. Never use chlorine bleach to removed sweat stains, even if it is a white garment. The proteins from the sweat will react with the bleach and make the stain more prevalent.
  • Remember - there are times when the damage is too much, and the garment is past being restored.

It looks like your boyfriend is going to be shopping for t-shirts soon.

Preventative (Bonus Round): As the first point mentions, your formulation may be a different pH, different amount of aluminum chlorohydrate, you have fewer cotton garments, or have cotton blends which react in a different manner than 100% cotton. Your application technique may vary (second point). etc., etc.

Good luck

  • I have told him just to throw them out, especially cheap ones, but some are more expensive brands, such as Tommy Hilfiger and CK so he is less inclined to
    – Gamora
    Nov 6, 2019 at 15:23
  • @Bee He might want to investigate hi-tech materials that wick away body sweat so that no anti-perspirant is necessary and, in fact, not recommended! Probably, no deodorant is needed either unless stress level is high during the day. Surf for "No-wash clothing"
    – Stan
    Nov 6, 2019 at 17:13
  • It's not enough of an issue as to completely change the way he dresses. He used that sort of shirt for working out, I'm talking everyday clothing (he works in casual dress)
    – Gamora
    Nov 6, 2019 at 17:15
  • @Bee I had the same problem: ugly yellow stains at the armpits that (in one extreme case) formed something of a crust. I have found no detergent or chemical that would dissolve the built up aluminium salts without destroying the fabric, and I experimented a lot. There's no way to salvage the shirts. He should only use deodorants without "aluminium" in the ingredient list to avoid this problem.
    – Elmy
    Nov 8, 2019 at 7:48

If I too may add my two cents to the discussion...

I think all suggestions above are good and worth a try (use a deo without aluminum, spray less of it, etc etc), but it could maybe be related to how hairy he is. The hair being related to the amount of sweat as well as keeping the deodorant more close to the clothes than it would if he had no hair or not as much. Just maybe. If so, he could shave or keep the armpit hair shorter.

  • Hi Joy, Welcome to Lifehacks.
    – Stan
    Nov 9, 2019 at 19:02
  • I think this totally helps. I have similar problem, and if he doesn't feel like shaving, maybe cutting like 80% of the hair also helps a lot Nov 12, 2019 at 11:06

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