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How to Remove Yellow Stains From White Clothes

Do your white clothes have yellow stains and you're struggling to remove them? Here's a guide on how to remove yellow stains from white clothes.


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Yellow stains on white clothes

The yellowing of white clothing isn’t one of life’s unanswerable questions. In fact, there are quite a few good reasons why white clothes go yellow. Luckily, there are also a few good tips on how to remove yellow stains from white clothes that you can use at home.

Let’s take a look at why light and white clothing goes yellow in the first place, how to fix it, and what you can do to try and prevent it from happening again.

What Causes Yellow Stains on White Clothes?

There are a few simple reasons why white clothing goes yellow after we’ve worn them. The three main reasons for yellow stains on white clothes are:

  • Sweat – our body sweat is made up of a variety of acids including ammonia. When these acids (and most specifically the ammonia) come into contact with your white clothing, it stains it yellow.

  • Deodorants – more specifically anti-perspirant creams, gels, and sprays contain aluminium-based ingredients which prevent us from sweating as much (and smelling) but these ingredients are the cause of yellowing under the arms on white clothes.

  • Bleach – whilst bleach is a great ingredient to use to actually remove stains and whiten clothing, over time and when not used properly, bleaching can actually yellow white clothes.

Why do White Clothes get Yellow in Storage?

This is an interesting one because you can wash your garment and have it looking perfectly crisp and white and then a few weeks or months later, you take it out of your cupboard and it’s yellowing in areas

Why does this happen? Experts believe that there are chemical reactions that are taking place in our clothing without us even knowing as a result of the variety of ingredients that we wash out clothing with. It happens on all fabrics; we only just notice it on white clothing because of its light colour.

How to Remove Yellow Stains from White Clothes

No matter the reason why your white clothing has turned yellow, the solutions are the same. Follow these easy steps on how to remove yellow stains from your favourite whites now:

Step #1 - Identify the Types of Yellow Stains on Your Clothes

It’s best to identify the stain first so you can deal with it more effectively. Is the yellow stain from sweat, bleach, coffee, or from storage?

Step #2 – Pre-Treat the Stain with a Stain Remover

You can use your own at-home hacks to pre-treat the stain. Here’s how:

  • Fill a bucket with hot water and dissolve two cups of baking soda into the water. Soak the white clothing in the hot water for at least 20 – 30 minutes.

  • Lemon juice is also a great (and completely natural) way of treating yellow stains. Again, fill a bucket with hot water and add in ¼ - ½ cup of lemon juice. Soak the clothing in the solution for at least 1 – 2 hours.

  • White vinegar mixed with water (in equal parts) can be used as a pre-treatment spray on white clothing that has yellowed. Spray it on the stain and allow it to soak in for at least an hour.

Step #3 - Wash the Clothes in Hot Water and Laundry Detergent

Now that the stain has been pre-treated and has been broken down at a fabric fibre level, you can wash the garment with your favourite laundry detergent. If you hand wash your garments, then we recommend finding out how to whiten clothes for excellent results. If you use a washing machine, then we recommend Skip Auto Washing Liquid to keep your clothes looking newer for longer.

Know that you know how to get your white clothes back to a bright white, what about your shoes? Read our blog on how to clean white shoes now.

Frequently Asked Questions on Removing Yellow Stains from White Clothes

Can baking soda remove yellow stains from white clothes?

A mixture of baking soda and hot water is a great pre-treat stain remover. You can even add in the same ratio of hydrogen peroxide to baking soda for an even better result.

Does white vinegar remove yellow stains?

It does indeed! Mix it with equal parts water to create a great at-home spray to use on yellowed clothing.

What is one of the most powerful washing powders for white clothes?

If you’re looking for the best washing powder for stains on white clothes, try Surf Washing Powder for the best results.

Originally published