October 30, 2012

Tuesday Tip ~ Getting Rid of Underarm Stains

I really do enjoy running my online vintage shop and I enjoy scouring and finding pieces that I think are timeless.  However, I feel I pass on many gorgeous vintage items because they have the worst underarm stains.  But, I just couldn't pass on this 1940s pink gown, even with the stains. 

This dress was just too pretty and too special. The lace has little silver metallic sparkles and side is made of silk crepe with sequins attached.  I purchased the dress with the hopes that somehow I could google something that would lighten the one defect this dress had.

I wish I photographed how severe and yellow the stains were before I treated them.  They were really really yellow.  Elsie made a dress for a sweat-er.  

Anyhow, after asking around and googling how to treat underarm stains, I tried one method.  Baking soda.  As most mothers do, I didn't have the energy or to go out to buy 1 or 2 items, so I decided to go with what I did have and what seemed the least harsh.

I'm actually not sure where I found this idea, but basically, you create a paste with the baking soda and water and you rub it in well onto the stained area.  I created a pretty thick paste and slathered it onto the underarms.  Then, you leave the paste on under some sunlight, because the sun is a great lightening agent!  Because mine was so yellow, and because I actually forgot about it, I left it on for a day (like overnight, because I really did forget about it).  Then, I rinsed out the area.  I didn't want to rinse the whole dress because the side is silk.  After I rinsed it, I did get the dress dry cleaned to prevent any damage to the pretty little detailing of the dress.

Here's what the underarms look like now:

Not bad, right?  If you look carefully, there is extremely faint yellowing on the lining, but it's really hard to tell and it's definitely a huge improvement from when I purchased the dress. I could have possibly gotten rid of the yellowing entirely if I had treated it continually, but I didn't want to ruin the lace from all the rubbing.  

Do you have any proven methods of getting rid of severe underarm stains?  If only deodorant was invented earlier! Sigh.


  1. I use OxyClean a lot. I've had brown stained white gloves go back to bright white after an OxyClean soak.

  2. Beautiful dress! I haven't tried this method before. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Deodorants have been around for a very long time (creams before roll-ons came along) - as have dress shields, which every self-respecting lady would pin into their favorite dresses... and wash out after every wearing. Antiperspirants have saved the present generation from needing those lovely shields to keep their underarms dry - but they tend to do more damage to fabrics than a little yellowing. You did an excellent job! I find that baking soda is a must-have for many household cleaning/deodorizing needs.