Laundry 101

Image courtesy Mike Newbry. Pegs on a washing line

This is our first blog post and it's quite possibly the most unexciting blog post ever. But judging by the feedback we get, it's something that really bothers you guys...

At Kiriwai, we've worked really hard to create a deodorant that doesn't stain.  But we've tried a lot of deodorants and antiperspirants in our time and we know some of them can leave nasty marks.

Here's our guide to deodorant and antiperspirant stains and how to remove them from your clothes:

Disclaimer: Before I start, I am a laundry geek. As the mother of three kids, and as someone who used to own a Bed & Breakfast and do 10+ loads of washing a day, I know far too much about laundry. 


First up, if you've been using antiperspirants then the chances are you've got some tops with big yellow stains under the arms. This is due to the proteins in your sweat reacting with the aluminium in the antiperspirant. If you're a natural deodorant user with stains, then it's most likely an oil or wax based ingredient reacting with your sweat and the material of your clothes.


Here are some natural and not so natural options for removing stains:


Not just for headaches, aspirins can also remove sweat stains. Take 3 or 4 aspirin pills and crush to a powder. Add them to a bowl/bucket of warm water. Stir to dissolve then add your piece of clothing. Leave to soak for at least 5 minutes - up to 1-2 hours for stubborn stains. After that, wash normally in cold - warm water, depending on the instructions on the label.


Lemon juice is very acidic and that makes it a great stain remover. Squeeze the juice of a lemon onto the stain, making certain you cover the area. Leave on for a few minutes and then wash in warm water. This works best on fresh stains.


Salt is an effective way to get rid of old stains and can be used on both white and coloured clothes. 

Wet the stained part of the fabric and sprinkle salt over the stain. Leave for a few hours or overnight. Then, wet the material again and add more salt. Gently rub the stain. After that, wash the clothes on the correct cycle.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Head to your local pharmacy and pick up a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

Mix 3 tablespoons of dish washing liquid with 6 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Apply to the stained fabric with a scrubbing brush and scrub away. Leave the mixture for 1 hour and then wash on the correct cycle.

Baking Soda

We're not fans of baking soda (or bicarb soda) in deodorants but it makes a good stain remover. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the stain. If the stains are old, leave on for up to 2 hours, then wash on the correct cycle.

Dish-washing Liquid

Dish washing liquid or detergent is designed to remove grease from your dishes and so it makes a good stain remover for grease or oil based stains. Apply the detergent to the stain and rub gently. Leave for 30 min and then wash on the correct cycle.

Sodium Percarbonate

If all else fails, turn to the big guns. Sodium Percarbonate may not ring any bells, but it's the active ingredient in products such as Napisan and Vanish. Look out for brands with 'Oxygen' in their titles.

Make a paste with the product and water. Aim for the consistency of peanut butter. Apply to the stains, leave for 15 minutes then wash as per normal.


Obviously I'm biased, but the best tip I can give you is to put down the antiperspirant and switch to a natural deodorant. 

The next best advice is not to over-apply. You increase the chances of getting product build up on your clothes if you apply lots at once. Kiriwai is super efficient and doesn't need a lot of product to be effective. We recommend you start with 1/2 pea for each armpit and then build up if you feel you need more protection to keep you feeling fresh.

It sounds simple but applying it early on in your morning routine will also reduce the chances of it transferring to your clothes. (But if this does happen, it can be wiped off quickly with a damp cloth.)

And finally, if you notice a stain, don't leave it in the washing basket until the weekend. You've got a better chance of removing it if you deal with it straight away before the stain has a chance to set. 


Sorry to say it but sports clothes can get quite smelly. Activewear is often made out of polyester and the bacteria that cause body odour love polyester. Over time this bacteria builds up and unless you're washing your clothes in really hot water, you just won't be able to get rid of the smell. If you don't have success with any of the options above, it might be time to ditch the old activewear and treat yourself to some new threads. 

Note: This advice is given with the best intentions and provides an overview of different options. Please read the labels on your clothing before attempting to follow the steps above, use your own judgement based on the material involved, and always take care when laundering delicate items of clothing. If clothing is 'dry clean only' please consult your drycleaner for advice.