Wash-Off: Fighting Sweat Stains with OxiClean

Craft & Design

March Mending Month
As fellow online editor Becky Stern pointed out on Monday, she and I are both “sweaty ladies in hot climates.” In fact, though I adore living in Austin, Texas, I dread when the temperatures start creeping up, because I know it means my shirts are going to take a beating from all the perspiration.
Becky started tackling the yellowed underarms of her shirts with baking soda, and had minimal success. She received loads of great comments and suggestions, though, and is investigating several of them and will report back soon.
Now it was my turn to hit the pits, and my weapon is none other than OxiClean, which actually was commented on in Becky’s original post. I just took a cup of warm water and scooped a bit of OxiClean powder in, and stirred it with an old toothbrush until it was dissolved.
I first scrubbed one underarm of a white T-shirt. It’s hard to get a picture of the yellowing, but trust me it was there. I scrubbed the solution into the fabric for a few minutes, and let it sit a few minutes longer. I also scrubbed the underarms of a dark T-shirt that had become discolored and hardened from deodorant residue.
After some scrubbing and sitting, I popped the shirts into the wash and washed them as I normally would. The results were pretty impressive. On the white shirt, it cleared most of the yellowing. I imagine if I’d let it sit a little longer, or perhaps let it soak overnight in the washing machine (which a friend suggested after I’d tried this) it may have come out completely. In the picture below, you can see the difference between one underarm and the other — this is on the same shirt, but I just did one underarm.
The clearest results, though, came on the dark T-shirt. That unsightly darkened and hardened patch was completely gone. I was ecstatic! This is a shirt I’d banned to just wearing around the house because it looked so gross. Now it’s back to normal. Hurrah!
I’m still interested in trying to clean some other stuff with the OxiClean. Several friends swear by pretreating and then soaking in OxiClean overnight for amazing results. My kids have some seriously stained clothes, so I’m eyeing them next. Have you had similar results with OxiClean or other specialty detergents? Leave them in the comments!

68 thoughts on “Wash-Off: Fighting Sweat Stains with OxiClean

  1. Heather says:

    Oxy clean is fabulous. You can take clothes that you have been wearing just around the house because you set a stain in in the dryer and soak it in oxy clean overnight and the set in stain will be gone. I have poured red wine on my own carpet to have a chance to show people how great it is at taking out stains. I use it for everything and it has never let me down.

  2. Rachel Hobson says:

    Thanks for the feedback!
    And, yes, after I tackled the shirts, I used the same mixture on some very stubborn pet stains on the carpet … it was like *magic*. I couldn’t believe it. :)

  3. Corvus says:

    I took one of my favorite shirts on a two-month trek across Tanzania in which I walked over 850 miles in every sort of weather and dirt and grit East Africa has to offer (and trust me, it has a lot). It was one of my two long-sleeved shirts on the trip, and I soon discovered that no sunscreen on the planet earth could protect me under those conditions and thus depended on those two shirts for all two months, without access to anything resembling “laundry” or “a shower” or even “a bucket of water to try and get myself slightly less dirty with” for weeks at a time.
    Not only are the pits on said favorite shirt sweat-stained and crusty and disgusting, but there’s red and black African dirt ground into them.
    What I’m trying to say is thanks for trying these things out- I’m going to grab some OxyClean for this shirt (and my other long-sleeved shirt, which has red lines where all the creases and folds were and big sweat-and-dirt-stain stripes where my backpack straps were) and see if miracles can be worked.

  4. Kim says:

    I once got burnt, boiled on gunk out of a pot with OxiClean. I’ve had a bowl that I used for years as a junk bowl because there was stuff boiled onto the side, and OxiClean got that out too. You can use it with a little water as a paste, or just let it soak and scrub it some. Be sure to wear gloves or use lots of moisturizer though, it WILL make your hands very dry.

  5. Anonymous says:

    my husband uses oxyclean to clean carpets and it works great! i mixes the oxyclean, a shot of benzoyl peroxide and hot water in one of those lawn fertilizer sprayers and sprays down the carpet then rakes it and lets it sit for a few minutes. then he uses just a regular steam vac to vacuum it all up. i’ve seen some pretty nasty pet stains disappear after the oxyclean treatment.

  6. Anonymous says:

    he uses hydrogen peroxide, not benzoyl.

  7. norarachel says:

    I love oxy clean for getting out impossible stains. When my sister spilled blackberry pie filling on my beige pants, I tried all kinds of fixes, to no avail. Finally I soaked the pants in oxy clean for a few hours (maybe overnight, I forget) and the stain came out completely. In the right light you can see that there is a lightness to where the stain was, but it is not very noticeable and WAY better than red lap.

  8. angie says:

    My b/f perspires alot too. I throw in a cup of washing soda in with his shirts to combat the sweat stains. I was able to get rid of the pit stains from his favoright shirts and make them wearable again this way. Less effort than scrubbing with toothbrush with oxyclean, cheaper and just as effective.

  9. Missy says:

    Oxi Clean is fantastic for protein based stains such as blood, sweat and poop. It will not however, get out things like grass and blue berries. (Oh how I have tried)

  10. LisaMarie says:

    I’ve always had great success with OxyClean with one exception. And it’s probably my fault. I was soaking my baby girl’s spaghetti sauce stained outfit in a bucket and left it there for a couple of days. After washing I realized that there were a series of perfectly shaped holes where all of the leg snaps used to be. The fabric around each snap had been eaten away. I checked the package and read the part about NOT soaking metal…oops. I wish I’d read that earlier.

  11. Cassie says:

    I spilled apple juice on our eggshell-colored suede sofa. I immediately dabbed the stain with a warm washcloth and OxiClean and let it air-dry in the warm sunshine. Not only did it clean the stain, it cleaned the rest of the suede and made us realize how dirty our couch has gotten.

  12. Jessie says:

    OxiClean is the best! I can’t even count the number of vintage linens I’ve rescued, not to mention all the stained thrift store sweaters.
    It works even better (especially on whites) if you fill a bucket or tub with warm water and OxiClean, put the pieces in to soak, and then set it out in the sun for an afternoon.

  13. Kathy says:

    I’ve had great success with OxyClean as well. One of the sections said to soak for six hours if necessary. I had given up by the fifth hour, but, sure enough, by the end of hour six my stains were gone. It’s great stuff.

  14. CoffeeGirl says:

    Espresso-drinking woman who sweats and wants to wear natural-type underarm products has some really nice shirts she can’t wear anymore. (Yes, I’m drinking more water) Does OxyClean also remove the body odor as well as it removes the waxy deodorant residue?

  15. Colleen says:

    I LOVE OxiClean. It is the best. I thought baby poo was impenetrable until I tried soaking onesies in OxiClean, and they were good as new. I use it with all my whites.

  16. Todd says:

    I use oxyclean to clean up when making beer. A while back I checked up on it out of curiosity. Sodium Percarbonate is the active ingredient. When dissolved in water it produced Hydrogen peroxide and soda ash (which acts as a water softener, hence the “detergent booster” claim on the packaging).
    So in a pinch you could prob use the bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet as a stain remover, but I imagine that oxyclean is less expensive and more concentrated.
    Also, it is important to note that oxyclean will only work on organic stains. If you want to get a petroleum based grease stain out, don’t waste your time.
    Hope someone finds this interesting.

  17. Melissa says:

    I’ve been meaning to try this with the store brand version of oxy-clean I have at home. I live in an apartment though, so could I soak overnight in the sink, as I can’t leave my laundry in the laundry room machines over night.

  18. Melissa A. says:

    I’ve been meaning to try this with the store brand version of oxy-clean I have at home. I live in an apartment though, so could I soak overnight in the sink, as I can’t leave my laundry in the laundry room machines over night.

  19. Annie says:

    At my baby shower, a friend told me that I had to get oxiclean because it’s the only thing that gets out baby poop. She is a life and clothes saver. I throw a scoop of oxiclean in every load of warms or hots and our clothes are poop free! My girlfriends in college always used it to get out the pit stains, too.

  20. piccadillous says:

    Has anyone tried the OxiClean Laundry Stain Remover Spray (http://www.oxiclean.com/17541products.asp?MainNav=Products&SubNav=Laundry)? I’m wondering if it works as well as the paste.

  21. uyek says:

    Oxyclean is good but I’ve heard it’s even better with one scoop of Tide added. Mix with warm water and let stained items soak in it overnight in a bucket.
    I can’t actually testify to this but I have a pile of men’s shirts itching to be guinea pigs.
    Has anyone else tried this?

  22. Natalie Zee Drieu says:

    Thanks Rachel for the detailed stain test. I need the Oxy Clean for the baby poop stains as Annie has recommended too in the comments.

  23. Jennifer says:

    i tested this last night and it is a miracle worker!! it removed yellowed armpits and that lingering odor that wouldn’t go away no matter how many times i washed it. this stuff is amazing for sweat stains!
    my only question…what should i do for up-keep on these shirts? i don’t wanna do this everytime i wear them. should i just do a load of “tendency to sweat stain” shirts and add oxyclean to the wash load? do you think that would be enough prevention?

  24. paintandink says:

    I just learned about OxiClean myself when, embarrassingly, I spilled an entire glass of red wine on our friends’ beige couch. They whipped out a spray bottle of OxiClean, and there wasn’t a mark left! I was in awe. Now I’ll try it on my clothes.

  25. Diane says:

    Yes, I love my spray oxy clean – but another very good cleaner is Lestoil. I put a dish soap top on it and use it to squirt stains when doing laundry. You can squirt it on right before you wash, or days before when you throw the clothing in the laundry hamper. Hope this is helpful!

  26. ms.conception says:

    I have three, soon to be four kids, including a baby and a sloppy six year old, coupled with a stinky sweaty husband.
    Oxyclean is my stain remover of choice.
    I have a large (20 gallon or so) bucket of room temp water mixed with four scoops of Oxyclean, that I put everything that has a stain on into.
    I soak everything over night or, for really bad stains, for 48 hrs and everything comes out absolutely clean. I’ve never had a stain set it – from armpit and BO stains, baby vomit and poop, blood, as well as all fruit/food stains come right out. Even blueberries, which are horrible to get out. Takes out set in stains. For small spots on clothes when we’re out, I pre-treat with a squirt of oxyclean spray.
    I change the water when it gets nasty or when it evaporates (about a week).

  27. Dawn says:

    My husband has very oily hair and his pillowcases look horrible after just a week of use. So I soak them in Oxi-clean for a few hours and pop in the washing machine. The come out perfectly white again. I use Oxi in a lot of my washing to brighten the colors and brighten the whites.

  28. kt says:

    If you’re dealing with a stain that isn’t organic, I’d recommend trying Lestoil. This was the stain remover of choice in my house growing up and I still use it today. It’s smelly, but great on oil based stains. (And pretty handy for cleaning the kitchen floor too!)

  29. Lisa says:

    Has anybody tried Resolve?? I’m not sure if it would work or not for pit stains but its good on most stains I’ve come across.

  30. Unlock iPhone 3G says:

    Use lemon detergent.and wash in warm water.

  31. Char says:


  32. sweat marks says:

    Exercise is one of the healthiest habits we can include in our daily lives, as well as improving our physical and mental health. But I think lots of people feel uncomfortable to see sweat smell so oxyclean is one of the best for sweat.

  33. Zia Mansour says:

    I am glad that you managed to remove sweat stains with oxiclean. Nevertheless the impact of excessive sweating on the life of individual can not be neglected. I learned it hard way in the past. Once upon a time I came across zeromarks. At first I thought it would be troublesome to walk around with a paper pad under my armpit. I was truely amazed when I noticed how comfortable it is. Furthermore it is strong enough to keep shield in place for 24 hours without damaging the clothes.

  34. UsmcVeteran says:

    I, as a military veteran have save hundreds, in not thousands of dollars with oxyclean, Military Utilities have to look neat and sharp at all times. The appearance of how our uniforms look determine what type of person we are. After leaving the military, wearing business suits for events and special occasions became well to common. Oxyclean has helped me save money on dry cleaning my button up shirts. I have save money, and my business suits and military uniforms still look good as the day I first bought them..

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