By: Ash Merscher
I always throw myself a mini celebration when I find a good-fitting bra, which makes it all the more frustrating to notice deodorant stains pop up. Even my beloved hemp bra falls victim. I don’t know about you, but it only takes one pesky spot for me to obsessively research how to get deodorant stains out of bras. My determination paid off and I found seven eco-friendly and natural solutions to remove bra stains with ease!
Knowing how to hand wash bras goes hand-in-hand (literally) with how to remove deodorant buildup from bras. Your underwear will last longer if you take care of it and use gentle solutions—that means no harsh chemicals. So whether it’s your beloved triangle bralette or, my favorite, the racerback bralette, you can remove stains naturally and prolong the life of your precious unmentionables.
WHAT CAUSES BRA STAINS?
Getting deodorant stains out of bras requires some basic knowledge of how the stains get there in the first place. Here’s the science: your body has two types of sweat glands, eccrine and apocrine. The average person has between 2-4 million sweat glands all over the body.
Most sweat glands are eccrine and emit a clear, odorless liquid to help cool your body, like when you go to the gym, get the menstrual sweats, or turn into a beating red tomato like I do when embarrassed. The other sweat glands, apocrine, hide under your armpits and in your groin area, releasing bacteria to combat sweat.
And when sweat meets bacteria, a lovely reaction occurs called body odor. Yep, you can blame those apocrine glands for the smell AND stains. That’s because when that same bacteria mingles with aluminum in your deodorant, those stiff, and sometimes yellow-ish, stains occur.
CAN YOU EASILY REMOVE BRA STAINS?
To entirely remove bra stains, it’s not just about getting that chalky-white residue out of your clothing. A streak of deodorant is far easier to remove than the stubborn bacteria + aluminum yellow stains, and I know we’ve all been there! Raise your hand if you’ve experienced annoying yellow marks on your pearly white tees and bras. Yep, same for me.
HOW TO REMOVE DEODORANT BUILDUP FROM BRAS
So, how to get deodorant stains out of bras? Remember what I mentioned before—you don’t need to resort to harsh chemicals. In fact, bleach (even color-safe varieties) will only make the problem worse. Trust me, gentle and natural solutions are the way to go here.
To get a jump start on these annoying and damaging stains, you can buy bras with natural fabrics. Materials like hemp make it easier to avoid sweat in the first place because it produces naturally breathable underwear. You prevent that super annoying boob sweat by staying airy and dry!
But, unfortunately, even hemp fabric can get spots, so use my favorite tips below to keep your bras stain-free.
FOR WHITE STREAKS
The first solutions are for those annoying white streaks. These little devils pop up when you put deodorant on before you get dressed or when your bra rubs against your pits. Luckily, these are super easy to remove!
1. NYLONS/PANTYHOSE OR TIGHTS
I swear by this trick! When I had to wear black for a restaurant gig, I’d always bring a pair of black tights with me to work. Just shape them into a ball and gently rub on the deodorant streak—use a little salt for stubborn lines. It works with all colors, too, and keeps your sustainable underwear safe.
2. DRYER SHEETS
Similarly, dryer sheets can also remove white streaks. Just don’t make my mistake, and be sure that the sheet is old! New dryer sheets can leave their residue on your bra, and then you’re just back at square one. Anything with a similar structure to pantyhose or dryer sheets will work, such as socks, a ribbed tank top, or even a textured jacket.
FOR HARDER STAINS
If you’re battling those harsher stains from sweat bacteria mixing with your deodorant, you’ll need something more substantial than an old pair of tights. Let’s go back to science for a second! You need an acid to break down the bonds between the aluminum in the deodorant and proteins and salt in the sweat. Natural acids are things like lemon juice, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide.
3. LEMON JUICE
Lemon juice works great for white bras only—don’t use lemon on colored bras! Simply mix the juice with equal parts cold water. Then use an old toothbrush or scrubber to saturate the stain with the lemon juice mixture. Let sit for about an hour, then wash as usual. Voila!
4. WHITE VINEGAR
Mix two tablespoons of white vinegar with one cup of water and soak your bra for about one hour. For adamant stains, you can soak longer. Don’t mind the smell—vinegar loses its scent once the fabric dries. Transfer your bra to clean water, rinse, and wash as usual.
Be careful not to wring-dry your bras. To eliminate excess water or moisture, you can press gently or wrap your bra in a towel. It doesn’t matter where you stand on the bralette vs bra debate; always air-dry any bra style by hanging it.
5. BAKING SODA
Make a paste with a 3:1 ratio—three parts baking soda to one part water. Apply the paste to the stain generously and let it stand (ideally in the sunshine) for a few hours. Remove the paste, rinse, and clean as usual.
6. HYDROGEN PROXIDE
Soaking your entire bra (especially sweat-stained sports bras, like the racerback bralette) is another excellent solution, as long as you use only 3% hydrogen peroxide. If you use a higher percentage, it can bleach your bra. Soak in equal parts water for at least an hour. Then rinse, wash, and hang dry.
7. NATURAL SOAP
Although not an acid, natural soaps can still work on some lighter stains as they break up those bonds. The best strategy here is to directly treat the spot by pouring or scrubbing the soap onto the stain and letting it sit. Then use cold water to rinse and wash. You can also use hemp soap so you’re not risking any chemicals and toxins.
CONCLUSION: HOW TO GET DEODORANT STAINS OUT OF BRAS
I was surprised that there’s actual science behind how to get deodorant stains out of bras. But you don’t have to use bleach to do the trick. Natural solutions work even better than chemicals. And with hemp fashion, you can find antibacterial, breathable, and durable bras that help you combat those annoying stains before you sweat.
Did I miss any natural solutions or tricks? Let me know in the comments!