How to Remove Yellow Stains From White Clothes

Updated September 20, 2022
Ecological and chemical laundry cleaning products

There are lots of situations that call for learning how to get yellow stains out of white clothes. Did you notice that your white t-shirts are a bit yellow after pulling them out of storage? Maybe your teens' dress shirt has some yellowing in the underarm area after sitting in the hamper a bit too long, or you've realized those white linen pants aren't looking like they used to. Yellowing happens. Removing yellow stains from white clothes isn't easy, but it is possible with the right methods.

Clothing, especially white clothing, will start to yellow either from sweat coming into contact with the fabric or from aging. These causes are hard to avoid, but once the fabric has yellowed, simply washing the clothing won't remove the stain. Fortunately, you can apply some effective cleaning tips to remove old stains and get things looking brighter. Find a few fabulous DIY and store-bought stain removers and methods you can try to remove the yellowing.

Removing Yellow Stains From White Clothing at Home

Yellow stains on white clothing are a bummer. From brightening your vintage linens to getting rid of those yellow sweat stains, though, you have options for how to remove yellow stains from white clothes at home. You can try the methods below to get yellow stains out of white shirts, pants, and most other types of clothing; however, be sure to read the care instructions for the fabric type.

You can use a store-bought product specially made to brighten yellow stains or make one yourself. Be sure to choose the stain removal that best suits your clothing. Don't use a removal method for light-colored clothing on dark colors as it can cause a permanent stain on the clothing.

Homemade Yellow Stain Removers

Some of the best methods for stain removal don't require a trip to the store. Instead, just take a trip to your pantry. You probably have several products laying around your home that can be used for removing yellow stains from clothing - from peroxide and baking soda to white vinegar and salt. Whether you're dealing with yellowing fabric from set-in sweat stains or yellow stains on white clothes after pulling them out of storage, applying any of these methods can do the trick.

Homemade products are often as effective as store-bought products. Just be sure to test any homemade product on an inconspicuous area before applying directly to the yellow stain. To get started, gather your arsenal:

  • Baking soda
  • Peroxide
  • Denture tablets
  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • White toothpaste
  • Lemon juice
  • Dish soap (Dawn recommended)
  • Aspirin
  • Old toothbrush

If you notice yellow stains on white clothes after washing them normally or taking them out of storage, follow the instructions for any of the methods below and launder them again for fresh-looking fabrics.

How to Remove Yellow Stains With Peroxide and Baking Soda

Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are a 1-2 punch when it comes to yellow stain removal. Peroxide is more gentle on fabrics than bleach, and baking soda quickly gets rid of any odors. Add a bit of Dawn to the mix, and you have a concoction that can't be beat. This method works for all your yellowing needs from linens to pants to old clothes.

Peroxide and baking soda method infographic
  1. Mix equal parts of baking soda, peroxide, and Dawn in a small container.
  2. Apply the mixture to the stain and use a toothbrush to rub the mixture into the fabric.
  3. Allow it to sit for thirty minutes to an hour depending on the severity of the stain and wash as normal.
  4. Rinse and wash as normal.

Clean White Clothing With White Vinegar and Salt

No peroxide? No problem. Check your cupboard for a bit of vinegar. The acidity of vinegar works to break up the stain to get it out of your clothes. Discover how to remove yellow stains from your white shirts and other favorite pieces in your closet simply with this method.

White vinegar and salt method infographic
  1. Mix a half a cup of white vinegar with half a cup of salt in a bucket of water.
  2. Place the clothing inside the mixture and stir occasionally.
  3. Let sit for at least thirty minutes.
  4. Remove the clothing and wash as normal.

Vinegar will also help remove detergent stains and deodorant stains. It's great for more than just making salad dressing!

Denture Tablets to Clean Yellowing Fabric

Denture tablets can brighten yellow stains on your white shirts and your dark fabrics too. Plus they are super simple to use when you're wanting an easy solution for how to clean yellowed fabric.

  1. Dissolve two to four denture tablets in a bucket of water.
  2. Set the stained clothing inside the water for eight to twelve hours.
  3. Remove the clothing and wash as normal.

How to Remove Yellow Stains With Toothpaste

Toothpaste can be applied directly to a yellow stain to brighten it. Just make sure you use white toothpaste and not a gel toothpaste. Colgate with baking soda is an effective option.

  1. Rub the toothpaste over the entire stained area with a toothbrush until the stain is lifted.
  2. Once the stain is removed, wash the clothing to remove the toothpaste.

Zap Yellow Stains With Lemon Juice

Lemons aren't just for lemonade. They also work miracles in the laundry room; lemon juice effectively brightens yellow stains on white and light-colored clothing.

Alternative clothes cleaning products on table with clean white shirts
  1. Apply pure lemon juice to the entire stained area and let the clothing sit in the sun for an entire day.
  2. As soon as you bring the clothing inside, wash as normal by hand or in a washing machine to remove the lemon juice.

How to Get Rid of Yellow Stains With Aspirin

When you are contemplating how to get yellow stains out of white shirts, you might not think of aspirin. But, they actually come in pretty handy when you're looking to remove yellow sweat stains. Why? Well, it's the acid in them. Only use this method on white clothes.

  1. Crush 4 or so aspirin and add them to a half cup of water.
  2. Apply the paste to your clothing.
  3. Allow it to sit for a few hours.
  4. Throw it in the wash and launder as normal.

Store-Bought Yellow Stain Removers to Try

Store-bought products made to remove or brighten yellow stains are proven to be effective. Be sure to follow all the product instructions carefully to reduce the risk of damaging the clothing. Too much bleach can harm the fabrics of your clothing.

Bleach

Bleach will remove any stain from white clothing. But, you want to be very careful with bleach and make sure to use it according to the instructions.

  1. You can apply the bleach directly to the stain and allow it to sit before washing the clothing, or you can apply bleach to your washing machine while washing.
  2. Only add bleach to the washing machine when it is full of white clothing.

Bleach will remove the color from clothing; however, it may be too potent for delicate materials like silk. Since bleach can weaken the fibers in clothing, delicate items may respond better to gentler stain removal methods. You'll need to know how to remove bleach stains if you accidentally splash the bleach on what you're wearing while you're working.

RIT Color Remover

RIT Color Remover works to remove permanent stains on clothing. RIT Color Remover can be purchased in the laundry aisle of most drugstores, grocery stores, and supermarkets. RIT Color Remover is safer to use than bleach on lightly colored clothing but may still stain dark clothing. You can also try it as a hair dye stain remover on lighter clothing.

  1. After washing the item, fill a pot with water.
  2. Once it begins to boil, add the recommended amount of RIT Color Remover.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add clothing.
  6. Stir occasionally.
  7. Allow clothing to sit for the recommended time.

RIT White Wash

RIT White Wash removes yellow stains from white clothing much like bleach; however, RIT White Wash is less potent than bleach and safer to use on light-colored clothing. Follow the directions carefully, and do not apply RIT White Wash on dark fabrics. RIT recommends following the boiling method as with RIT Color Remover.

OxiClean

Going with a commercial cleaner? OxiClean might be your best bet. OxiClean is safe enough to use on old clothing and linens, and sure to get your white shirts dazzling once more. Try OxiClean to get yellow stains out of white clothes for good.

Cleaning products for white clothes
  1. Follow the instructions for mixing OxiClean to water.
  2. Add your clothing.
  3. Soak for the recommended time.
  4. Launder as normal.

OxiClean is also handy to have on hand to tackle dinginess on clothing or other tasks, such as whitening your socks.

Tips to Avoid Yellowing Stains on White Clothing

Knowing what causes yellow stains on white clothes is helpful, but sometimes yellowing is unavoidable. Take the right precautions, though, and you can you can keep it at a minimum. Try out these tips to avoid yellow stains on your white clothes before and after storage.

  • Pretreat clothing to avoid sweat stains.
  • Don't let clothing sit in the hamper.
  • Wash linens regularly.
  • Store clothes in a cool dry place.
  • Use archival tissue paper and proper storage containers when storing clothing and fabrics.

Remove Yellow Stains From Whites Like a Pro

You've got options when it comes to yellow stains on your clothing and linens. From how to get yellow stains out of white shirts and pants to methods for removing yellowing from tablecloths and sheets, there are some quick and effective techniques you can try. Whether you want to go the DIY route or use commercial cleaners, it's totally up to you. Just make sure you test the fabric first, especially with older or delicate fabrics. Next, learn how to remove tomato sauce stains and color bleeding from your clothes for more laundry perfection.

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How to Remove Yellow Stains From White Clothes