How to Remove Yellow Stains

Question; What is the best way to get sweat stains (yellow) out of a white 100% cotton garment? It’s a heavy canvas Karate uniform (duck canvas).

Answer; Yellowing in the underarms is caused by salts and minerals in your perspiration aging. It could age from you not cleaning it often enough or from the soap/detergent not strong enough to remove all the perspiration in the wash. Then when you put the garment in the dry the heat caused the remaining perspiration to yellow. This happens a lot with silks hanging in the closet when it’s not cleaned regularly after each wearing.

The best thing to do is to prevent it from ever happening. If you are not washing the karate uniform after every wearing then you need too. If you are washing it after every wearing then add some stain remover or extra detergent to the underarms and scrub it, let it rest a few minute so it can penetrate, then wash it. To try and remove the yellowing  you can also add some ammonia (household ammonia from the drug store) to the underarms along with the detergent and let it rest a few minute before washing. Be careful to keep the ammonia away from your face and any open wounds. And only use this technique on the white cotton, the ammonia is very high in alkalinity and will remove color and burn silks and wools causing permanent yellowing.

Yellowed underarms are extremely difficult to remove. another technique is to use a 3% hydrogen peroxide that you can purchase at any pharmacy. The hydrogen peroxide will act as a bleaching action. Apply the hydrogen peroxide directly on the yellowed area along with a small amount of the household ammonia. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes then reapply solution again before washing in hot water.

Thanks for writing hope this helps.

Karl Huie

Pacific Heights Cleaners is your non toxic alternative in San Francisco and Sausalito.

Service with Pride since 1969

The First Dry Cleaners to be Green Business Certified by San Francisco Environment and Bay Area Green Business Program Marin County.

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