Can aspirin remove underarm stains from clothing?
By Sarah Mahoney
Q. I've heard that aspirin can remove underarm stains from clothing. Is that true?
A. Depending on the fabric, aspirin might work -- but I wouldn't rely on it. Perspiration is an acid, which becomes alkaline when exposed to the air, creating the stain and color change in fabric. Underarm stains are tough to remove, so it's best to prevent the problem.
As soon as you undress, hang up and air out your garment for several hours before putting it in your closet. Then, do the sniff test: Get your nose into the underarm area and inhale. If you smell body odor, you need to launder or dry-clean the garment ASAP. Wearing it again will just deposit more perspiration and deepen the stain. If your item is dry-clean only, keep in mind that normal dry cleaning doesn't work well on water-based stains such as sweat, so be sure to point out the stain so it can be spot-cleaned with steam.
If the garment is washable, treat it as soon as you notice body odor. Dab the spot with your favorite pre-wash stain remover or a little dishwashing detergent mixed with water. Using a clean, old toothbrush, gently work the soap into the stain. This will break up perspiration, and you can usually wait until the next day to launder it. If you already have an underarm stain, wash the garment in the hottest water possible. If the stain is still there, soak it in a tub with 4 inches of warm water and an all-fabric bleach or laundry booster, and let it sit for up to 40 minutes. This should remove all traces of the stain. But to be sure, always air-dry in this situation. If any of the stain remains, using your dryer will set it. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process.