How to remove yellow stains from underwear

Dealing with yellow stains on your underwear can be a frustrating and embarrassing problem. These unsightly marks can ruin the appearance of your undergarments and make you self-conscious about wearing them. But the good news is that there are effective ways to get rid of these pesky stains and restore your underwear to its former glory.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the common causes of yellow underwear stains, provide step-by-step solutions to remove them, and share some preventative tips to help you avoid yellow stains in the future. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to keep your underwear looking clean, fresh, and stain-free.

remove yellow stains from underwear

What Causes Yellow Stains on Underwear?

Before we dive into the remedies, it’s important to understand what’s causing those yellow stains in the first place. Here are some of the most common culprits:

  1. Sweat: One of the primary reasons for yellow stains on underwear is perspiration. As the body sweats, the sweat can mix with the natural oils and bacteria on the skin, resulting in discolouration on the fabric.
  2. Urine: Accidental urine leakage or residue can lead to yellow stains, especially in the crotch area of underwear. This is more common in women, but can also affect men.
  3. Deodorant and Antiperspirant: The aluminium-based compounds found in many deodorants and antiperspirants can react with sweat and leave yellow or white stains on the undergarment fabric.
  4. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones, such as during menstruation or menopause, can cause changes in body odour and lead to yellow staining.
  5. Poor Hygiene: Inadequate washing or failing to change your underwear frequently can allow bacteria and bodily fluids to accumulate, resulting in yellow discolouration.
  6. Medications: Certain medications, such as some antibiotics or vitamins, can cause staining due to the chemicals being excreted through the skin.

How to Remove Yellow Stains from Underwear

  1. Pre-treat the Stain
    The first step in effectively removing yellow stains from underwear is to pre-treat the affected area before washing. This helps to loosen and lift the stain, making it easier to remove during the washing process.

Here are a few effective pre-treatment options:

a. Baking Soda and Water Paste: Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to form a paste. Gently rub this paste into the stained area and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing.

b. Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly onto the stain and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before washing.

c. Lemon Juice: Squeeze fresh lemon juice directly onto the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing. The citric acid in the lemon can help break down the stain.

d. Dish Soap: Apply a small amount of gentle, grease-cutting dish soap directly to the stain and gently scrub it in with an old toothbrush or your fingers. Let it sit for 15 minutes before washing.

  1. Soak in Oxygen Bleach
    After pre-treating the stain, the next step is to soak the underwear in an oxygen-based bleach solution. Oxygen bleaches, such as hydrogen peroxide or sodium percarbonate, are effective at breaking down the compounds that cause yellow stains without damaging delicate fabrics.

To create the soak:

  • Fill a sink or bucket with cool water and add 1/4 cup of oxygen bleach per gallon of water.
  • Submerge the stained underwear and let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour, agitating occasionally.
  • Rinse the underwear thoroughly with cool water after soaking.
  1. Wash with Enzymatic Detergent
    When it’s time to wash the underwear, reach for a detergent that contains enzymes. Enzyme-based detergents are specially formulated to target and break down organic stains, including sweat, urine, and body oils that can cause yellow discolouration.

Here’s how to wash:

  • Load the pre-treated, soaked underwear into your washing machine.
  • Add an enzyme-based detergent, using the recommended amount for your load size.
  • Wash the underwear in cool or cold water to avoid setting the stain with heat.
  • Avoid using fabric softener, as this can make stains more difficult to remove.
  1. Hang Dry in the Sun
    After washing, it’s best to air dry your underwear in direct sunlight if possible. The UV rays from the sun act as a natural bleaching agent, helping to further lift and remove any remaining yellow stains.

Hang your underwear outside or place them near a sunny window to dry. Avoid putting them in the dryer, as the heat can set any remaining stains.

  1. Use Whitening Toothpaste (for Stubborn Stains)
    For those extra stubborn yellow stains that just won’t budge, you can try using a bit of whitening toothpaste as a last resort. The abrasives and whitening agents in toothpaste can help scrub away those tough stains.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Squeeze a small amount of whitening toothpaste directly onto the stain.
  • Gently rub the toothpaste into the fabric using an old toothbrush or your fingers.
  • Let the toothpaste sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with cool water.
  • Launder the underwear as usual after using the toothpaste treatment.

Be careful not to over-scrub, as this can damage the fabric. Avoid using toothpaste on delicate fabrics like silk or lace.

Preventative Tips for Avoiding Yellow Stains

While removing existing yellow stains is important, it’s even better to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips to help you avoid yellow stains on your underwear:

  1. Change Underwear Regularly: Make it a habit to change your underwear at least once a day, and more often if you’ve been sweating or engaging in physical activity. This helps minimize the buildup of sweat, oils, and bacteria that can lead to staining.
  2. Use an Effective Deodorant/Antiperspirant: Choose a reliable deodorant or antiperspirant that can effectively block sweat and odour. Look for aluminium-free formulas to avoid staining from these compounds.
  3. Wash Underwear Promptly: Don’t let soiled underwear sit in the hamper for days. Wash them as soon as possible to prevent stains from setting in.
  4. Pre-Treat Stains Immediately: As soon as you notice a stain on your underwear, pre-treat it using one of the methods mentioned earlier. The quicker you act, the easier it will be to remove the stain.
  5. Use the Right Laundry Detergent: Opt for a high-quality, enzyme-based laundry detergent that is specifically formulated to tackle tough stains and body soil.
  6. Avoid Fabric Softeners: Fabric softeners can make stains harder to remove, so it’s best to skip them when washing your underwear.
  7. Bleach Sparingly: While bleach can be effective at removing yellow stains, excessive use can break down and damage delicate underwear fabrics over time. Use it sparingly and only when necessary.
  8. Consider Copper-Infused Underwear: Some new underwear styles are made with copper-infused fabrics that can help inhibit bacterial growth and prevent odour and staining. This may be a worthwhile investment if you struggle with persistent yellow stains.

Recommended Products for Yellow Stain Removal

Here are some top-rated products that can help with removing yellow stains from underwear:

OxiClean White Revive Laundry Stain Remover– Oxygen-based formula
– Effective on sweat, urine, and body oil stains
– Safe for delicate fabrics
Persil ProClean Stain Fighter Liquid Detergent– Contains enzymes to target tough stains
– Formulated for high-efficiency washers
– Works in cold water
The Laundress Stain Solution– Plant-based formula with natural enzymes
– Gentle on fabrics, even silk and lace
– Effective on a wide range of stains
Clorox 2 Stain Remover & Color Booster– Oxygen-based formula
– Helps maintain bright, vibrant colours
– Safe for coloured and white fabrics

Remember to always test any stain remover on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discolouration.


Dealing with yellow stains on your underwear can be a frustrating and embarrassing issue, but it doesn’t have to be a losing battle. By understanding the common causes of these stains and employing the right removal techniques, you can effectively restore your undergarments to their original pristine condition.

Remember to pre-treat stains, soak in oxygen bleach, wash with enzyme-based detergents, and air dry in the sun. And don’t forget to practice good preventative habits, like changing underwear regularly and using the right laundry products.

With a little elbow grease and the tips outlined in this guide, you can say goodbye to those unsightly yellow stains for good. Your underwear will stay looking and feeling fresh, clean, and confidence-boosting every time you put them on.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.