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Silly season is upon us. It’s the best time of year for almost everything, except your armpits. Excitable underarms turn monotone fabric two tone and add a yellowish ‘special features’ to your bright whites. Summer and your armpits are not friends.  

It doesn’t have to be that way. Work out how to work deodorant and your sweaty reflection will never catch you out again. 

Firstly we need to cover off that there are two types of deodorant; antiperspirant and odour prevention. Antiperspirant blocks sweat and masks odours, and deodorant simply masks odours (de-odor-ant). If you’re going to sweat and you’re wearing clothes that will show it, choose antiperspirant. The downside of antiperspirant is it leaves a waxy buildup around your armpits.

In the cooler weather, deodorant (odour prevention) should be fine and is much easier to get out of clothes. If your armpits start to turn yellow, just a standard targeted pre soak should work. 

If you wear antiperspirant, there are two tougher stains that you’ll probably encounter.

White deodorant mark on the clothes you are wearing. 
If this happens, get a pair of cotton socks, and rub it on the mark. If you don’t have cotton socks, use the underside of the outfit you have on or any soft fabric. Paper towel will not work, but you’ll be amazed by what cotton can do. 

The darkish waxy build up on your clothes even after you’ve washed them.
This is because one of the main ingredients in antiperspirants is aluminium. It’s a mineral and it builds up over time. The waxy build up is usually accompanied by a yellowish or grey stain. In this case, remove the excess aluminium using the same technique as above. Better yet, if you use fabric softener tissues, take a used one and rub it on the underarms, it’ll really help lift the stains.

Then, get an Oxi-Action pre-soaker powder (like Vanish Gold or just local supermarket booster). Mix the powder in a little bowl with water turning it in to a paste. Then, using the back of a spoon or similar, rub the paste into the stained area. Then chuck your Tee into a wash, set the timer on two hour and add a prewash. 

Ta-da. Seriously, the results will blow your mind and the stains right out of your underarms. 

We should mention that of course the best treatment is still prevention- and this is probably the easiest trick of all. Use your deodorant or antiperspirant, and put your shirt on a few minutes later. This will allow the deodorant or antiperspirant to sink into your skin. 

Happy summer everyone.  

Photo: Harry Lapow Wedding on the beach, Coney Island [Included in the Family of Man exhibition] 1952

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