Summer’s been a hot one here in the Seattle area, complete with a record-breaking heatwave. We’ve all been sweating. And as if that wasn’t enough, all that sweat has a tendency to ruin our clothes. Pit stains are a very real conundrum.

The yellow discoloring of your shirts can easily cost you a boatload as you replace destroyed items. Luckily, you don’t have to just chuck all your favorite items without a fight (aka a good dose of elbow grease).

The yellowing of your shirts is in large part due to the chemical reaction created when salt (from your sweat) mixes with aluminum (from your deodorant). Use the following tactics to break down and banish these undesirable splotches away.

  • Salt – While salt often plays a role in causing pit stains, it can also help remove them. Using coarse salt, gently massage the fabric. Then sprinkle it with baking soda and allow it to sit overnight. In the morning, shake off as much of the residue as possible and wash as you normally would.
  • Lemon – Lemon juice is one of the best natural bleaching agents. Rub a small amount of detergent into the stain and let it sit overnight. Then, squeeze a generous portion of lemon juice on the stain and wash the garment as you normally would.
  • Vinegar – Like lemon, the high acid content of vinegar can bleach your pit stains. Pour it directly onto the stain and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes. Then wash as you normally would. For particularly harsh stains, soak your garment overnight.
  • Sunlight – Sunlight is another natural way to bleach items. This isn’t a good option for colored clothing, but it can be a great solution for white items. Wash your white items as you normally would and then hang them outside to dry in the direct sunlight. Position the pit stained areas to receive as much of the light as possible.

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