How to Get the Yellow Out of White Clothes

Alicia Hagen

Clothing can become stained in many different ways. One of the most frustrating stains is the dreaded yellow, sweat stain on a nice, white shirt. Regardless of the different methods used to eradicate the stain, it is often fruitless labor.

Yellow stains are difficult to get out.

Commercial products simply fall short of the expectations and soaking the shirt seldom works. While it may seem the battle is lost when dealing with these types of stains, they can be treated. Most stains can be combated by common ingredients families may already have in the home.

    Hang clothing up to check for stains.
  1. Inspect the fabric. Identify all areas that need treatment. Generally, you can find problem areas under the arms and around the neckline. Stains are easier to remove if the garment is treated before it is run through the washer and dryer. However even if the stain had been missed before the garment was laundered, it can possibly be salvaged.

  2. Use homemade stain removers to save money.
  3. Try the following three approaches in combating problem areas. If one option does not work, move on to the next. At least one of these options should provide good results in removing yellow stains.

  4. Combine 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 tsp. liquid detergent and 2 gallons warm water. Soak the garment in the solution overnight; then launder as usual.

  5. Combine 1/2 cup powdered dishwasher detergent and 1/2 cup bleach. Saturate and wring out the shirt 10 to 20 times in the solution. The agitation in conjunction with the solution will help to remove the stain. Launder garment as usual.

  6. Create a baking soda paste with a small amount of water. Allow this paste to set into the stain for at least 20 minutes. The process will not work until the paste is allowed to fully set into the stain. Scrub the paste into the clothing with a soft toothbrush, or something equally soft, and then launder as usual.

  7. White garments can hold up well over time with proper treatment.
  8. Treat all garments as soon as a problem area is discovered. Wash the garment with warm water. Inspect the treated areas to be sure the stain is completely gone before laundering; otherwise the stain will set further, resulting in more time working on the issue overall. Spending a few more minutes on the initial stain treatment is worth the extra effort.

  9. Tip

    Iowa State University suggests never rubbing a fresh stain with bar soap as soap sets many stains. It also suggests testing stain-removal solutions in hidden areas before attempting to treat other, more obvious, areas to be sure the garment's color or finish will not be affected.


    Keep bleach away from children and pets. Use gloves when working with chemicals.