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How to Get Yellow Stains Out of White Shirts

It’s the one chore everyone tends to put off longer than all of the others: laundry. Separating whites from colors, and delicate from regular clothing is not only a major hassle, it's time consuming and, frankly, boring.

Then there are the stains. Especially yellow stains. If you wear white shirts, especially undershirts, there’s no way around it; they will eventually stain yellow from sweat and body oils.

Although most stains can be pre-treated with dish soap before throwing them into the washer, this battle-tested strategy doesn’t usually work for yellow stains on white shirts.

This leaves many individuals tossing their yellow, pit-stained white shirts, into some bleach water to let it soak. That’s what everyone does with their whites, right? Lots of people do, but you may want to reconsider this option.

Depending on the fabric, bleach can make the yellowing worse, or permanently set it into the fabric. Not to mention bleach is corrosive and will wear down the fabric, reduce softness, and potentially even irritate sensitive skin.

How to Remove Those Yellow Stains

So, what other options are there for getting out yellow stains from a white shirt? Let’s take a look at some alternate techniques you can begin using today…

The Best Ingredients for Yellow Stain Removal 

There are plenty of products out on the market that claim to remove yellow stains from white shirts, yet not all products are as effective as they claim to be. The best way to identify what will work for you is to know what ingredients work best to actively and safely remove yellow stains in the first place.

Look for products that feature the following as ingredients on the label…

1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is known as both an oxidizing and a reducing agent. You may have heard of using this ingredient for wine and other obnoxious and stubborn stains, and it works equally well for those yellow-tarnished white t-shirts in your closet. 

2. Baking Soda

There are a number of reasons why baking soda works so well on stains, including yellow ones. The mild alkaline powder works wonders on removing grease and oils, and when mixed with water it can help remove dirt and antiperspirant.

As a paste, it becomes abrasive and works into the fibers, getting out deep-seated and ground-in stains.

Now that you know what ingredients will actively remove yellow stains, let’s look at the process of using them.

Mixtures for Removing Yellow Stains

There are two ways to use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda that has been proven to be effective. The mixtures and measurements are provided for you below, so feel free to try them for yourself and let us know what you think.

1. Dish Soap, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Baking Soda

Dish soap works really well when it comes to breaking down oils and grease. By combining these three ingredients, you will have a mixture that’s sure to remove those dingy yellow stains from your white shirts.


  • 1 Cup Dish Soap
  • 2 Cups Hydrogen Peroxide

Next, pour this mixture generously over the yellow staining and allow the shirt to sit for at least one hour. Once that hour is up, take a toothbrush (not one you’ll be brushing with) and gently rub dry baking soda onto the stain.

In lieu of a toothbrush, a mildly abrasive sponge or other brush would suffice. Your white shirt is now ready to go into the washing machine. Make sure to use cold water and not hot. If you use hot water, you run the risk of the stain setting into the fabric. 

In most cases, it should only take one cycle through the washer to remove the stains. However, if you are using this technique on old stains, it may take a few attempts to remove yellowing.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda, and Salt

Salt is an abrasive substance that also absorbs grease and oil. The small granular particles work their way into the fabric and help scrub out tough yellow shirt stains. 


  • 1 1/2 Cups Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt

Pour this mixture onto the stains and let your shirt sit for about 30 minutes. After it sits for a while, take a short-bristled brush and scrub the stained areas on the shirt.

Place the white shirt into a washing machine on cold and let it go. Fresh stains should only take one wash cycle, but older stains may take more work.

Tip: The longer your shirt is allowed to soak in hydrogen peroxide, the better. Try soaking your white shirt in hydrogen peroxide and water overnight to help with really tough yellow stains.

Final Thoughts 

These two mixtures have been proven to work when removing yellow stains. Laundry can be tedious, but at least there are ways to remove stains without using bleach.

If you’re looking to cut down on the number of white shirts that end up with armpit stains each week, Sweat Shield Undershirt has sweat-proof shirts worth checking out. With sweat-proof technology, you'll have that extra layer to make sure your shirts don't end up with yellow armpit stains.