Wash-off: Fighting Sweat Stains with Baking Soda

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March Mending Month


Fellow online editor Rachel Hobson and I are both sweaty ladies in hot climates. It wreaks havoc on our shirts, and we’ve been trying to find a solution. For March Mending Month, we’re bringing you a short “wash-off” to see which of us can fix our yellowed armpits. I’m up first, and here’s a spoiler alert: it’s not working out for me yet. I tried the baking soda paste method described on HowStuffWorks, with hardly noticeable results.


I added four tablespoons of baking soda to one quarter cup water, and scrubbed into the armpits of my long lost favorite t-shirts with an old toothbrush. Not only were some of them yellow, but most of them had that strange hardened feeling of coming into contact with deodorant too many times. It’s been impossible to get out. When I lived in New York, I got around this problem by wearing mostly black and dark-colored tops, but in central Arizona that’s just not an option.

I let the laundry sit for an hour, then splashed the dried baking soda areas with vinegar (neutralizes the alkaline baking soda, fizzes), then threw them in the washer. The verdict? Hardly any change. The crusty ones are still crusty, and the yellow ones are still (just ever so slightly less) yellow. I might try this a few more times to see if the lather, rinse, repeat methodology would help in this situation. Later on in the week Rachel’s going to take a stab at the same problem, so stay tuned! If you have any recommendations, drop them in the comments below.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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