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How to Remove Yellow Stains from White Clothes

How to Remove Yellow Stains from White Clothes

yellow stains on white clothes

Are you tired of throwing away perfectly fine white clothes because you don’t know how to remove yellow stains from white clothes? Did you stop wearing white T-shirts and pants because you don’t know how to clean them? These yellow stains can be quite a nuisance to remove if you don’t know how to do it. They won’t go away if you simply wash your clothes in a washer. What you really need is some unorthodox way to get rid of them. Luckily for you, there are several techniques to do this.

Why do Yellow Stains Appear on White Clothes

There are several causes of yellow stains, but three of them are the most common ones.

Fitted Shirts

Because they are so close to your skin, fitted shirts don’t allow sweat to evaporate. Instead, it is trapped between the fabric and your skin, and the moisture builds up. In its turn, this leads to the spread of bacteria that release nasty-smelling organic compounds. If you leave them on your clothes for too long, these compounds will damage the fabric of your shirts, and yellow stains will form.


While sweat is mostly water, there are also other chemicals – like lactic acid, ammonia, and various salts – in it. Exposure to these chemicals can damage the color of your clothing.


Antiperspirants do not cause damage to the fabric on their own. Still, they can react with chemicals in your sweat and produce compounds that stain your shirts. Aluminum-based chemicals close our sweat ducts and trap moisture. Built-up sweat reacts with aluminum before it is released from skin pores. Newly formed compounds can damage the fabric and cause yellow stains in the underarm area.

How to Remove Old Yellow Stains From White Clothes

Before you try any of the techniques and products described below, try to hand-wash your clothes. This can be more effective than using a washer since you can focus more on the parts with stains. If this does not work, then resort to the methods described below.

Store-Bought Products 

There are several store-bought options you can use to get rid of stains from your clothing. If you plan to use them, be sure that you buy ones that are best suited for the type and color of the material you are planning to clean. If you use a remover for dark-colored clothing on clothes with light colors, it is very likely to cause permanent damage.

1. Bleach

Bleach is a very strong remover, and it will remove any kind of stain from your white clothing. It will also remove any color from the material, so take your time and be careful not to ruin the clothes you really like. Bleach is a very aggressive chemical, and it may be too strong for delicate materials like wool and silk. For these types of fabric, it is better to try other options and only resort to bleach if they fail to remove the stains.

There are several ways you can apply bleach. You can spray it directly using a sprayer or dilute it with water and pour it onto your garments. If you want to speed up the process or need to wash a lot of white clothing and don’t have much time for this, you can use a washer, mixing 2 bottle caps of bleach with detergent. Never use bleach for any colored clothing because it will permanently remove the coloring.

bleach to remove yellow stains from white clothes

2. Color Remover

Color removers can be bought in most supermarkets. They are safer to use than bleach, but you should avoid using them on darker-colored materials because they can make them noticeably lighter. A hair dye remover can be used as an alternative if a regular color remover is not available.

3. White Wash

Whitewash is less aggressive than both bleach and color removers. It will make yellow stains go away, and it can be used on light-colored clothing without whitening out the color.

DIY Options for Cleaning Stained White Clothes 

If you want to save money, you can try to remove the stains using a few usual household items. These chemicals are generally safer compared to store-bought chemicals like bleach, but their use also requires a bit more work.

1. Baking Powder and Hydrogen Peroxide

Pour baking powder and hydrogen peroxide (½ cup each) into a bowl filled with water and stir it until the mixture becomes homogeneous. Using a spoon apply the mixture directly onto the stain, rub it in with a bristle brush, and leave it for a few hours. Rince the clothing with water and check if your garments are still stained. Repeat the process a few more times. If the stains have not gone away, try using store-bought alternatives.

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baking soda and peroxide for removing yellow stains
Image credit: Adam’s Life Hacks @ YouTube

2. Vinegar and Salt

Pour a gallon (about 4 liters) of water into a large container and add one cup of white vinegar and one cup of table salt. Submerge the stained clothing into the mixture and squeeze and stir it for at least half an hour. Wash it with plain water and let it dry. This mixture can also be used for numerous other kinds of stains on clothing.

3. Squeezed Lemon Juice

  Add some lemon juice to the laundry detergent next time you use a washing machine. The acid in lemon juice will loosen up the stains, making them more susceptible to detergent. It will also give a nice tropical smell to your washed clothing.

4. Rubbing in Toothpaste Before Using the Washing Machine 

Toothpaste is designed to whiten your teeth and remove yellow spots from them, which means it can also whiten your white clothing and get rid of yellow patches on it as well. First, spray water onto the stained area and place the piece of clothing onto a hard surface. Then, apply the toothpaste onto a toothbrush and rub it directly onto the stain. Do this for 20 minutes and after that wash the clothes in a washing machine.

If you want a more detailed step-by-step tutorial, or you would like to see even more techniques to get rid of yellow spots, check out the video below:

Remove Yellow stain from clothes


How to Remove Yellow Stains from White Shirt Collars?

A stain on the collar of a shirt can be quite stubborn since the collars are usually made of tougher materials. You can use any techniques described above, or you can pour a cap of liquid detergent onto the stain and leave it there for half an hour. Rinse it with water and repeat the whole process until the surface is clean.

Why Do White Clothes Have a Yellow Stain After Line Drying Outside?

If it is an unusually sunny day, the constant sunlight can damage the material and cause the yellow line to form. If you want to prevent this from happening, dry your clothes in the shade during hot summer days. Your clothing will dry slower, but it is definitely a better option than having them ruined by the sun.
Hopefully, now you know how to remove yellow stains from white clothes. Use any of the options we explained above and take your time. Good luck with your next DIY project, and see you soon!


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