Maintaining articles of clothing is vital when you have a capsule wardrobe. My own personal philosophy on a capsule wardrobe is that everything I own is my favorite. And my favorite t-shirts have been lived in (and sweat in). Removing armpit stains from colored clothing is a routine task for me to keep my wardrobe in good shape.
For anyone who’s new to the idea of a “capsule wardrobe,” in a nutshell: it’s choosing fewer articles of clothing that can be worn many ways.
An ideal capsule wardrobe:
- has quality, long-lasting items
- is full of clothes you love and enjoy wearing
- stands the test of time – not just physically, but also the style of clothing
The sustainability of upkeeping your clothes
The average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing each year, according to some estimates.
Think of the clothes you’ve discarded in the past year: on a scale of totally-worn-out to I-just-don’t-want-it-anymore, where do you usually fall?
We’ve all looked in our closet and realized we need to purge; it’s a good thing, but when it’s the norm, it becomes costly and ultimately unsatisfying.
The big takeaway: choose well and take care of what you have. Let’s get our hands dirty!
Supplies needed for removing armpit stains from colored clothing
- baking soda
- liquid dish soap
- scrub brush
- mixing bowl
- cold water
Lifting general stains first
Favorite shirts seem to just acquire little dark spots and blemishes over time. I had luck lifting these stains out by soaking the shirts in a kitchen bowl with vinegar and cold water.
Use about a half a cup vinegar and fill the bowl with cold water. Cold water lifts stains better than hot water. Soak t-shirts for about 30 minutes and wash normally in cold water.
Removing armpit stains from colored clothing
Removing stains from white shirts is straightforward, but I had to experiment a bit removing armpit stains from colored clothing. Vinegar brought out the little blemishes, but it only put a dent in the armpit stains so I broke out the baking soda and dish soap.
Wet the armpits with cold water, apply liquid dish soap and sprinkle baking soda to the area. With a small scrub brush, scrub the area, both inside and out.
Scrubbing is important because the stain in the armpit of your shirt might not even be sweat. It might be residual deodorant stuck in the fibers of the shirt. Scrubbing knocks everything loose and really cleans the area.
This process had to be repeated 2 times to get these results, and as you can see on the salmon-colored shirt, it’s possible that this changes the color a little bit.
Personally, I’m not bothered by a slightly whitened armpit compared to the sweaty-looking deodorant marks, but you should test this first if you’re nervous about ruining clothing.
Fellow ethical living blogger Donna Colori has a fantastic blog piece and free planner (!) making building a capsule wardrobe easy.
Bonus: brightening whites naturally without bleach
Whites aren’t in my capsule wardrobe (confession: I’m too messy), but my kitchen dish towels were looking dingy so I started experimenting with natural ways to clean them and revive some life back into them.
A combination for the first two techniques brightened my kitchen towels significantly. First, soak in vinegar and cold water. I washed my towels after just soaking in vinegar and this alone brightened the whole towel, but left the stains behind.
A second time around, I wet with cold water and scrubbed with baking soda. This brought out stains as brightened even more. There’s a lot more life brought back into them now.
These techniques for removing armpit stains from colored clothing proved to be very impactful on my t-shirts. It took all 3 shirts from unwearable to back-in-rotation, which is a huge win for my capsule wardrobe.
Have you tried any of these techniques? Do you try to revive your clothes when they’re looking old?