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The Only Product You Need To Save Your ‘Pit Stained Shirts

Photo: Ace Armstrong (Flickr)
SqualorJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email her.

There are all kinds of ways to prevent pit stains — those yellow, cardboard-feeling stains that befoul many of our most beloved shirts — from happening (“switch deodorant!”), or to mitigate them before they reach the cardboard stage (“use a stain pre-treatment product on the regular!”) But the reality of life is such that pit stains, including and especially the cardboard-y ones, will just happen.

However! I know the secret to getting rid of them, and restoring shirts to an almost-new state. And I’m going to share that secret with you: That secret is OxiClean. Very specifically the powdered stuff. Not the stain pre-treatment spray. Not the stain pre-treatment gel. Not the laundry detergent. The powdered Oxi.

Of course, you can’t go sprinkling some Oxi in the wash and expect a miracle, that’s not how this works, unfortunately. But luckily, the way this works is pretty entirely hands-off.

Okay so here’s what you’re gonna do:

  1. Start by finding a clean space, like the kitchen sink, a utility sink, a washing bucket, etc. that’s big enough to fully submerge the shirt, or shirts, in water and sit, undisturbed for at least 6 hours up to overnight.
  2. Fill the container with hot water and a scoop of OxiClean. It’s important to use hot water to dissolve the Oxi, as that will help to activate it.
  3. Submerge the shirt, and allow it to soak for at least 6 hours, but the longer the better.
  4. Periodically head in to agitate the shirt a bit.
  5. Drain the soaking solution and squeeze excess water out of the shirt, then launder it as usual.

Another thing that can really help is using a laundry brush. A wha? A laundry brush! Laundry brushes allow you to work stain treatments into fabric and, in the case of these pit stains we’re talking about today, will also help to break down the product buildup that creates that stiff, cardboard-y feeling. When it comes to pit stains, it’s best to let the shirt soak for several hours before using the laundry brush, so that the OxiClean solution has a chance to break down the stains and buildup.

After letting the shirt soak, and giving it a scrub with a laundry brush to loosen buildup, launder it as usual. You won’t need to add more OxiClean to the wash, since the shirt has been soaking in the stuff for hours.

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About the author

Jolie Kerr

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person