Why your white dress shirt yellows when you sweat -- and how to fix it
Any guy who wears white dress shirts is familiar what usually comes along with them: an inevitable fight with yellow stains around the armpit area.
But it doesn't have to to be that way. By understanding the phenomenon, we can prevent and battle it together.
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The unsightly stains are not just a product of the sweat your body produces — it's actually a mix of your sweat and the aluminum in your anti-perspirant deodorant, according to cleaning expert Jolie Kerr.
Yes, the exact thing you're putting on to prevent these stains are exactly the culprit all along. Ain't that an M. Night Shyamalan for you?
Aluminum is actually the active ingredient that is supposed to prevent said sweating in your pits, but when it mixes with the protein in your sweat, it leaves a trail of yellow destruction in its wake on white fabric.
So what can you do to prevent this? Well, you could switch to using regular deodorant and not use anti-perspirant, though this may make some men a sweaty enough mess that it's not really an option. Trading yellow for constant wetness isn't a great solution. Kerr has lots of suggestions for how to prevent sweat without anti-perspirant, but most of them don't sound quick, easy, or practical.
So what can you do about your yellowed shirts? Looks like the easiest thing to do is to treat them after the fact. But as you probably already know, regular detergent isn't going to do anything with this particular stain. Kerr recommends throwing some OxiClean in the wash with your fresher pit stains, which should bring them back to as close to brand-new as you can get them.
If you can wash the shirt immediately, that's the best way to get rid of it. If you're too slow, it becomes much more difficult to treat, and you'll have to soak it with the solution in a bucket or sink for a while.
Other preventative measures include a Speed Stick that claims to not leave pit stains. Other more hirsute men may consider trimming their armpit hair, which can in turn reduce the development of wetness through the day and save your shirts.
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