How to Deal with Deodorant Marks on Suiting

deodorant-marks-on-clothesHow do you deal with deodorant marks on your nice work clothes?  Reader A has a great question:

My question is about sleeveless dry clean shift dresses underneath suits. I don’t dry clean mine every time I wear them, and I notice pretty significant deodorant marks on the bottom of the armhole. Is there any way to prevent this? Or a good way to remove after the fact?

I’m excited to see what the readers say here.  Personally I’ve always preferred to wear something with sleeves beneath suits, in part because it “protects” the suit from your deodorant and sweat, and in part because it’s much easier to toss a t-shirt or blouse in the wash than it is to take it to the drycleaner.  (Remember, ladies: frequent drycleaning is bad for your clothes.)  You could always look into a different deodorant (we’ve actually talked about the best deodorants for women — I’m curious if anyone has any new favorites?) or a “dress shield,” which you could tuck into your dress.  Failing that, I think I might try a deodorant sponge, such as the one above (Hollywood Fashion Secrets Deodorant Removing Sponge, available at Amazon for $5.97, or Miss Oops Rescue Sponge, available at Amazon for $12), to try to remove the deodorant stains.

Ladies, how do you remove deodorant marks on suiting and other nice fabrics?  Have you found a better way to prevent them?


  1. Rub a nylon stocking on a deodorant stain to get it out. Works like a charm! (Seems to work especially well on T-shirts–I wouldn’t know about a fancy silk slip or something more delicate, because entry-level and also lazy.)

    • You can also get rid of deodarant stains by rubbing the fabric against itself.

      But, for shift dresses with high necklines I often just throw on a thin tee underneath. I started doing it for warmth in colder months but now I do it for the added layer. Today, I am wearing a sheath dress with a blouse underneath with a blazer over it. I think it’s a really cute look.

      • Jessica Glitter :

        Sounds very cute – do you have a favorite tissue tee?

        • No one brand, sadly. I have some from BR that I like but I am not sure if they are still being made. Uniqlo heat tech ones are good for winter. I also do the Jcrew tissue thin turtlenecks sometimes, but that’s a more obvious look. I think the key is just basically that the under layer have some stretch.

      • I do this too (Scotland, brr!). It looks a bit juvenile but I sometimes use a turtleneck for casual. I think Lands End Canvas tees are good for this but I need to order some in a smaller size.

        • In The Pink :

          More like modal and thicker, but not so much as to ruin a line … Judy P tops. So far, I find them in local boutiques, but you can order on line. A great basic and my colleagues say very long lasting in the wardrobe.

    • Anonymous :

      Ditto nylons. There’s an unworn thigh high stocking in an egg thingy in my desk drawer for this very reason.

    • Christina M :

      Nylons are my go to trick as well. If that doesn’t work, a clean make-up sponge also works.

  2. Hello Hive,

    I am a fairly new attorney at a mid sized lawfirm. I have a meeting this afternoon with a partner to discuss staffing me on a project that will mainly be about obtaining products and/or services as well as supplying products and services etc. under contracts. I want to be able to talk intellignetly about issues in the meeting. I may also possibly be talking to the client later about various key issues/ contractual negotiation points etc that the client needs to consider and we will help the client with.

    Can anyone give me a brief list of issues they consider important when drafting/negotiating such contracts? do you negotiate at all on certain issues or are they dealbreakers?

    Also, if anyone can recommend a book or other source on the topic, I would really appreciate it.

  3. Olivia Pope :

    I religiously use Old Spice High Endurance. It’s never left a stain or mark on any of my clothes. It’s also the only deodorant I’ve ever used that doesn’t show up on my dark brown skin. Trying out a new deodorant from that old post is the best way to pre-emptively stop this problem IMHO.

    • Olivia Pope :

      Also, after the stain is there, rubbing another fabric on it seems to work.

    • This. I use Dry Idea Clear Gel and don’t get those stains. It’s not stocked in grocery stores but I can usually find it at Target and drug stores.

      • Dry Idea has some tips for removing stains on their website:

        The reasons they list for product build-up is too much product being applied and not allowing the anti-antiperspirant to dry for long enough before putting on clothes.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      I also use Old Spice. I grabbed it from my husband when I was out of my own deodorant, and realized that I liked the way it smelled and it was the only thing that did not leave marks everywhere. Highly recommend it!

    • I was converted too after borrowing my boyfriends. I’ve looked for a similar gel/solid in the woman’s section but it does not exist. I know a few other women that use it too – whatever deodorant company figures this out and turns it into a women’s product will make a fortune.

  4. Yeah I think the best route is to wear a top with sleeves (unfortunately), followed by those overpriced sponges. Another alternative: the protective foam that is sometimes on dry cleaning hangers. I found that tip somewhere on Pinterest and while it isn’t totally convenient given the size of the foam, it totally worked.

    Original source:
    ^that actually has a ton of helpful tips

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I’m sure many of those tips are helpful but this one made me laugh:

      “If you don’t have time to try on jeans in the store, try the Neck Method: You can determine your size by placing the waistline of the jeans around the diameter of your neck. If the waistline of the pant comfortably meets at back of your neck, then the jeans will fit.”

      Oh, okay. I’m in a rush, I don’t want to try on these jeans. Better just put them on my head in the middle of the sales floor.

      • huh?! this makes no sense. the waistline of my jeans is much, much larger than my neck…

        • Actually…a friend and I tried this out with a skirt and weirdly, it worked. The skirt/pants don’t actually get wrapped straight around your neck, due to the fabric they kind of bunch in the front and then if you can comfortably meet the fabric in the back, they will apparently fit.

          • I’ve tried this too, and while it’s not perfect, it does get you into a decent range of sizes to try. I find it useful for brands I haven’t tried before, then take that pair and maybe one other size to try on.

        • I think it’s that your neck is the same as half your waist. So you hold the pants by both sides of the waistband then put it around your neck like that (does that make any sense?).

          • This! And it absolutely works, though it’s not a substitute for trying them on entirely.

      • lawsuited :

        I don’t see how this can be accurate – my neck had stayed more or less the same size since I was 16, but my waist has not….

        • I thought the same thing, but I just ran into my room (working from home today) and tried it with 2 different pairs of jeans. Seems to work.

      • Also, whoever originally wrote this evidently doesn’t know the difference between diameter and circumference. But now I’m just getting snarky.

        • Yes. The way it was written had me sitting here imagining how it would look to be putting pants on upside down over my head in the store!

      • I’m an avid thrift shopper/ garage saler/ flea market frequenter and i’ve been using this trick for years when no dressing room is available. Works like a charm.

  5. Mountain Girl :

    I use a white gym sock and the marks just wipe off. I always travel with one since I learned that trick.

  6. I read a tip somewhere to apply deoderant at bedtime instead of in the morning, because it lasts 24 hours, and then you avoid getting it on your day clothes. Seems to work.

  7. Major exposed zipper disappointment, so sad because I love this dress from the front!,default,pd.html?variantSizeClass=&variantColor=JJZ01XX&cgid=24983447&prefn1=catalog-id&prefv1=jonesny-catalog

    • Veronique :

      Ugh, that’s not even a good looking exposed zipper. That’s just hideous.

    • wintergreen126 :

      Wow. You were serious about that exposed zipper! It’s really great from the front; I like the colors.

      And I know how you feel–several time I’ve come across dresses that I like a lot, only to see that the zipper is exposed, and that’s the end of it. An exposed zipper is a deal breaker.

    • I’m not really a member of Team No Exposed Zippers, but that’s just fugly.

    • Cripes! That looks aweful, what a shame.

    • That’s terrible. I don’t have a problem with exposed zippers, but I do have a problem with a gold zipper set in a (what is that, lavender?) satin ribbon on a copper and brown dress. Why not stick with the brown from the waistband? Ugh.

    • I showed the picture to my husband and he said, “It looks like duct tape.” Can’t argue with that.

  8. AnonyMouse :

    Deodorant is gross. It smells worse than you think it does. CertainDri4LIFE.

  9. Anon in ATX :

    I have had good results using a fabric softener sheet to remove deodorant from tops. (Why can I not put on a shirt without the inevitable deoderant streaks at the bottom?!?) Not sure how it would work on a suit though

    • Leslie Knope :

      Anon in ATX–have you tried rolling up the torso part of your tops before you put them on? Take the bottom hem of the skirt, roll/fold it up to the sleeve area, put the shirt on, then roll it down. That way all the deodorant parts get on the inside of the shirt, not on the visible part.

  10. Baby wipes.

  11. Better than fabric: get the Dryel home dry cleaning kit, which comes with this great booster spray that gets the deodorant right out and smells nice.

  12. I used to have the same deodorant stain problem, including not only stains but also excessive sweating, until I randomly tried using a natural aluminum-free deodorant. (I used plain/unscented Tom’s of Maine.) After I did that, I miraculously stopped having stains and now I also sweat significantly less. That may have been an unusual case, but that was what worked for me, and it makes me wonder if the aluminum in the deodorant was what caused the sweating and/or the stains.

  13. These are actually impressive ideas in on the topic of blogging.
    You have touched some nice factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

work fashion blog press mentions