hintsandthings.co.uk »Utility Room

Personal stains: Deodorant, Perfume and Perspiration

logo.jpg (10651 bytes)




–  Workshop – 
–  Library
–  Bathroom – 
–  Nursery
–  Spare
Utility – 

–  Games – 
Garden –  


Personal Stains: 

Deodorant, Perfume and

of www.stainexpert.co.uk 

all love to see those photos – glamorous celebrities caught on
red-carpet nights with an ugly stain under their armpits – as we
gleefully remind ourselves that they are human too. But when the victim is
ourselves, it isn’t so funny. Personal stains can be a huge source of
embarrassment but sometimes, the remedies for sweat – such as deodorants
and perfume – can bring their own problems and cause just as much
staining! But with a few guidelines on how to deal with these stains, you
can be confident of avoiding any humiliation.

The Smell of Success?

understandable that one of the biggest concerns about sweating is the
accompanying body odour and many people attempt to mask this with a
liberal dousing of perfume. This can work – but if you’re not careful,
it can also leave you with a new problem: a stain! And because perfumes
contain oils and alcohols, these stains can seriously damage your clothes.
Therefore, it is best to put on perfume before getting dressed and never
spray it directly onto your clothes. 

Sometimes, perfume stains can cause the colour in the fabric to fade,
causing a “reverse-stain”. This is due to the alcohol in perfume and
unfortunately, cannot be completely remedied, although sponging the area
lightly with a cheesecloth dampened with denatured alcohol will help to
redistribute the remaining colour more evenly. 

So if you have stained your clothing with perfume by mistake, what should
you do?

If the fabric is washable, rinse the stain immediately in warm
water and then wash as normal as soon as possible.

If the stain is older,
try wetting the area and then applying some glycerine before rinsing
thoroughly. You can also sponge the stain with a solution of equal parts
hydrogen peroxide and water (only on white clothing).

If the stain is
really old, you may need to treat it with a commercial stain remover
before washing as normal.

For non-washable fabrics, it is best to just
sponge with warm water and then take to the dry cleaners as soon as

Lastly, carpets and furnishings can be treated with glycerine as
well – make sure you blot the excess liquid after rinsing, then follow
with the appropriate furniture shampoo if necessary.


A Sweaty Problem

jacket on hanger

Although we all know that sweating is natural –
especially during the heat of summer and in airless office spaces – sweaty
stains are still socially unacceptable. For women, this usually means underarm
perspiration whilst for men, it’s sweat between the shoulder blades from the
neck down and the all-embarrassing groin area. Not only are the stains ugly but
they will also weaken the garment’s fabric if left untreated and will produce an
unpleasant odour.

Fresh sweat is acidic and is easy to remove by
simply washing immediately. However, if you leave the stain, it will dry and
turn alkaline – in most cases forming a yellow or green stain with a hard,
“crispy” texture.

This can be treated with a mixture of 1 tbsp of vinegar in
half a cup of water, sponged onto the stain, which should restore the colour and
also remove any perspiration odours.

Another good stain remover is fresh lemon
juice rubbed into the stain or an enzyme pre-soak
product before washing as usual – however, do not use this on delicate fabrics
like linen, silk and wool.

For more stubborn stains, try using a paste of
baking soda/bicarbonate of soda and water which is rubbed onto the stain and allowed to sit for
15-20mins, before the garment is washed as normal. You can also add some baking
soda/bicarbonate of soda to the wash cycle to remove any persistent odours. Choose a detergent which
is labelled as having oxygenated powers or works on protein-based stains.

Bleach should never be used on a perspiration
stain, especially on white cotton fabrics, as proteins in the sweat will react
with the bleach and turn the stain even darker. Avoid heat also – such as
ironing or putting a stained garment in the dryer – as the high temperatures
will permanently set the stain, making it impossible to remove. 

Generally when washing with detergent, do not dry the garment until the stain is
gone. (Choose a detergent which is labelled as having oxygenated powers or works
on protein-based stains.). If you have washed and dried a garment several times,
then there is little chance of removing the stain as it has “burnt” itself into
the fabric.

If your clothing needs to be dry-cleaned then do not attempt to
remove the stain yourself but take it immediately to the professionals. However,
do make sure you point out any perspiration stains but be aware that their
treatment of the stain may cause shrinkage or texture change – although you will
always be alerted to this and asked for informed consent.

Prevention is probably the best strategy for
sweat stains, such as wearing absorbent underwear to protect the outer garment.
Also, take extra care when you are wearing delicate fabrics, such as silks, in a
situation where you know you might perspire heavily.

Finally, deodorants can be
a good way to fight sweat although they can bring their own set of problems (see

aerosol of stain remover

Deadly Deodorants


Deodorants and anti-perspirants can be the cause of as many stains as
sweat itself, usually due to their chemicals reacting with sweat.
Sometimes, changing brands will solve the problem as they all have
different formulas. Another tip is to let your deodorant/anti-perspirant
dry thoroughly before dressing. 

Unlike sweat stains, these are usually greasy and often white, which is
particularly annoying on black or dark clothing. The worst stains are
often caused by anti-perspirants, which contain aluminium salts to block
sweat glands.

Again, you should attack the stain as soon as possible as
– just like perspiration – the longer it is left untreated, the deeper
it will sink into the fabric.

For washable fabrics, again, try rubbing
with lemon juice, a spot remover or even just a bit of detergent and
water, then wash at high temperature. (Note: do not rub dark or black

For non-washable fabrics, or if it is delicate or expensive,
then take it to a professional dry cleaners. It is best to avoid using
bleach but if you decide to use it, choose a colour-safe bleach and

wash in the warmest water that’s safe, according to the care

With these tips and guidelines, you should hopefully be able to prevent
and deal with any stains and just concentrate on enjoying the summer


offers a unique reference point to give you information on
removing all types of stain. It contains over 10 articles, all written by
their team of experts.

Information on how to remove other
common stains can be found at –


  #  METAL
  #  PAINT