How To Remove Yellow Stains From White Clothes

White clothes are a staple in every wardrobe due to their classy and versatile look. Unfortunately, they can be quite difficult to clean and maintain. Over time, they are known to develop yellow stains, which are usually caused by sweat or deodorant.

There are many ways to remove yellow stains on white clothing, ranging from using common household items like vinegar or bicarbonate of soda to shop-bought cleaners like bleach.

Let’s look into the solutions for removing yellow stains on your clothes and also ways on how to prevent them!

Using Common Household Items To Remove Yellow Stains

If you don’t have the time to go to the shops to remove that pesky yellow stain, there’s no need to worry as chances are, you already have the solutions in your home! 

White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is a multi-purpose cleaning agent that can even help remove stains on your clothing. This is possible due to the acetic acid contained in the solution. 

distilled white vinegar washing machine

To remove the yellow stains, mix white vinegar and water in a basin using a 1:2 ratio. Then, soak the stained garment for at least an hour, then rinse with warm water to remove the vinegar residue. Wash as normal. 

If the stain is too dark, you can also use a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water to make the solution more potent. Soak the fabric for at least 30 minutes, rinse with cold water, then wash as normal. 

DID YOU KNOW? White vinegar is considered the best alternative to fabric softener as it reduces static cling and leaves garments smelling fresh!

Bicarbonate Of Soda

Bicarbonate of soda is another effective way to remove yellow stains on your white clothing. It also removes foul odours and brightens your garments!

To spot-treat the stain, it’s best to create a paste with the bicarbonate of soda. Just mix a bit of water to create a paste-like consistency, then directly apply it to the stain. Wait for at least two hours for the paste to do its job, then lightly scrub before rinsing with cold water. Wash the garment as normal. 

If the stain is extremely stubborn, you can always leave the bicarbonate of soda to sit on the garment overnight. 

Lemon Juice

Like white vinegar which has acidic properties, lemon juice can also tackle yellowish stains in a similar manner. This is because it has bleaching properties that will surely work their way on your stained white garment. 

lemon juice on stained shirt

Spot treatment is best when you’re working with lemon juice. Just apply a few tablespoons of the juice directly on the stain, then wait for at least 30 minutes. If you can leave the garment under the sun, this would be better as it will boost the bleaching effect and remove the stain much faster. 

Rinse with cold water once done and wash as normal. 


Something as simple as a bar of soap can do wonders in removing stains on your garments. Although it is not as potent as white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, or lemon juice, it can take off the stains from your fabric with a bit of elbow grease. 

All you have to do is wet the stained area of your clothing, then rub the bar of soap on the yellow marks. Rub the soap until you are sure that all the yellow stains are covered, then lightly scrub the area using your hands. 

Wait for at least 30 minutes for the soap to do its job, then lightly scrub again and rinse the soap off with cold water. Repeat until necessary, then wash the garment as you normally would. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is not just for disinfecting wounds and cuts,  it can also remove the stubborn yellow stains on your white clothing. This is because it contains bleaching properties that will help break down organic matter and remove stains on fabric easily. 

When used with washing-up liquid and bicarbonate of soda, the solution may be the quickest way to remove yellow stains without having to buy commercial stain removers. 

Just mix 3 tablespoons of dish soap, 3 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda, half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and half a cup of cold water in a bowl then directly apply it on the stain. Let it sit for at least an hour, then rinse with cold water. Once the stain is gone, wash the garment as normal. 

White Toothpaste

If the yellow stain on your white clothing is just minimal, non-gel white toothpaste can help take it off. This is possible as toothpaste contains hydrogen peroxide. 

person putting toothpaste on a toothbrush

Put the toothpaste on the stain, then lightly scrub the area using an old toothbrush. Allow the paste to soak for a few hours then run the garment under cold water. If the stain is stubborn, repeat the process and let the toothpaste soak for more hours before rinsing. 

Using Shop-Bought Cleaners To Remove Yellow Stains

If you just want to get it over with and bring back your white clothes to their former glory, here are your options: 

Stain Remover

There are many stain removers in the shops that claim to do their job well. To name a few, the most popular ones are from Vanish, Tide, and Dr. Beckmann. 

When using commercial stain removers, make sure to follow the instructions on their packaging to avoid damaging your garments. Not all stain removers are meant to be used similarly, as some need a bit of time to soak while others can be washed off immediately.

Laundry Detergent With Stain Removing Properties

Some laundry detergents are specifically designed to fight stains. Look for detergents with added enzymes or oxygen bleach, which are effective at breaking down and lifting yellow stains. 

Apply the detergent directly to the stain before washing, allowing it to penetrate and break down the discolouration. Then, wash the clothing again as you normally would.

Persil Bio Laundry Washing Liquid Detergent 1st time removal of tough stains outstanding stain removal in quick & cold washes 1.431 L (53 washes)
  • Persil Bio Laundry Washing Liquid Detergent delivers an even better clean that provides first time removal of tough stains
  • With this liquid detergent, you can get tough on stains like mud, yoghurt and jam


For particularly stubborn stains, bleach can be an option, but it should be used with caution. Chlorine bleach is very effective at removing stains and disinfecting but can weaken fabric fibres over time. 

It’s important to dilute bleach correctly and not use it too frequently. Oxygen bleach is a gentler alternative and is safe for all colours and fabrics.

Vanish Oxi Action Whitener and Stain Remover Powder for Whites 1kg, Pack of 1 | Chlorine Bleach Free Formula | For Whiter Whites, Safe on Everyday Fabrics (Packing May Vary)
  • Whiter whites + amazing stain removal
  • white clothes up to 3 shades whiter, lifting away stand out stains from makeup to coffee

Rust Remover

If your yellow stains are due to rust in water or contact with metal, a rust remover designed for fabrics can be a lifesaver. These products are formulated to specifically target and remove rust stains without damaging the fabric.

Dr. Beckmann Stain Devils Grease, Lubricant & Paint
  • Specially formulated stain remover
  • Removes tough stains in 3 minutes

Why Do White Clothes Turn Yellow?

Yellow stains on white clothes often result from a combination of sweat, body oils, and deodorant. These substances react with the fabric, leading to discolouration over time, especially in areas like collars and underarms. 

soaking stained shirt in a basin

In addition, the use of too much detergent or fabric softener can leave a residue that turns yellow when heated in a dryer. 

Improper storage, particularly in areas with high humidity, can also lead to yellowing.

How To Prevent Yellow Stains On White Clothes

Like most situations, prevention is often better than cure. Here are the things you can do to prevent yellow stains on your whites: 

  • To minimise sweat stains, apply antiperspirant well in advance of dressing to ensure it’s fully absorbed. 
  • Wash white clothes after every wear to prevent the buildup of body oils and sweat. 
  • Using the correct amount of detergent is crucial, as excess detergent can leave a residue that yellows over time. 
  • Avoid fabric softeners for whites, as they can contribute to yellowing.
  • Always wash white clothes separately to prevent colour transfer from coloured garments. 
  • Store your clothes in a cool, dry place to avoid any yellowing due to moisture or heat.

Additional Tip: Dry Clothes Under The Sun

One of the most effective ways to bleach a garment is to expose it to direct sunlight. However, did you know that it can also reduce the yellowing of your white clothes? 

The UV rays from the sun naturally bleach fabrics, helping to remove any lingering traces of yellow stains. After washing, hang your clothes in direct sunlight. Not only does this method help with stain removal, but it also leaves your clothes with a fresh, natural scent.

SEE ALSO: What Are The Benefits Of Drying Clothes In The Sun?

Keep Your White Clothes Bright!

Keeping white clothes free from yellow stains is easy with the right approach. You can use common household items like vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, or lemon juice, or opt for store-bought solutions like stain removers and specialised detergents. 

And as always, prevention is always the key! Have a regular laundry session and use antiperspirants that do not stain. 

Do you have questions? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get yellow stains out of white clothes?

To get yellow stains out of white clothes, you can use common household items such as white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice, soap, or hydrogen peroxide. Additionally, shop-bought cleaners like stain removers, laundry detergents with stain-removing properties, bleach, and rust removers can be effective.

Can bicarbonate of soda remove yellow stains from white clothes?

Yes, bicarbonate of soda can remove yellow stains from white clothes. To use it, create a paste by mixing it with a bit of water and applying it directly to the stain. Leave it for at least two hours or overnight for stubborn stains before lightly scrubbing and rinsing.

What is the best product to remove yellow stains from white clothes?

The best product to remove yellow stains from white clothes depends on the severity of the stain and your preference for natural or commercial solutions. Household items like white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, and lemon juice are great natural options. For tougher stains, commercial products like Vanish, Tide, or Dr. Beckmann stain removers, laundry detergents with added enzymes or oxygen bleach, and even bleach can be more effective.

Why do white clothes turn yellow?

White clothes turn yellow primarily due to a combination of sweat, body oils, and deodorant. These substances react with the fabric, leading to discolouration over time. Overuse of detergents or fabric softeners, improper storage, especially in humid areas, and heating in dryers can also contribute to the yellowing of white clothes.

How can I whiten my whites naturally?

To whiten your whites naturally, you can use sunlight, which acts as a natural bleaching agent. Additionally, using white vinegar, lemon juice, or bicarbonate of soda can effectively brighten white clothes. These methods not only remove stains but also maintain the fabric’s quality without the use of harsh chemicals.

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