We try it!

We Try It: Deo-Go Stain Remover

You know what’s a great look? A crisp, white blouse tucked into jeans. It’s very 1960s casual chic. Do you know what doesn’t look good? The yellowing of the pits on a crisp, white blouse. You may not know this, but the main reason for yellow pits on your lovely white blouses is not sweat. The culprit is the aluminum in your antiperspirant. If you’ve just bought a new white blouse, keep it nice by wearing an undershirt or natural, aluminum-free deodorant. If you, like me, have a few white blouses that are ready for recycling, I may have a solution: Deo-Go.

But Sally, you might be thinking, what about bleach, vinegar, or some solution of hydrogen peroxide? I’ve tried them all, and they do not work. Deo-Go is something new. Something different. Something with promising reviews on Amazon. But lord is it expensive: $12 for a bottle plus $4.50 shipping.

The short of it

It does work.

A pic of shirts before and after

The long of it

The main ingredient in Deo-Go is muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid. As one reviewer put it, hydrochloric acid “ought to get anything out of anything.” The instructions require you to spritz the trouble area until soaked and then scrub with a bristle brush. There is a warning to wear gloves and do this in a well-ventilated area — instructions which I recommend you do not ignore. Hydrochloric acid is serious stuff. I recommend wearing one of those cheap dust masks you use for sanding, too.

My two blouses required two treatments to look pristine, but they look amazing now. I would be wary of using this on delicate fabrics, like silks, and would be cautious with any colors by testing on an inconspicuous area first. This is the type of acid that eats through metal, remember, so I’m sure it’s quite easy to ruin a shirt or two with it (although that wasn’t my experience).

Is it worth it? Maybe. The cost of the product is high, but if you have a piece that you love and you want to wear again, spending $15 to save it might be worth it to you. The bottle claims you can get about 15 treatments out of it, so if you’re saving 15 shirts instead of buying 15 new shirts, this seems worth a shot.

An ounce of prevention

Of course, the best thing is to prevent these stains before they happen.

  • Avoid antiperspirant with aluminum or, if you must, wear an undershirt with it or get some old-fashioned dress guards. There are a few antiperspirants that claim to not leave stains, but I have yet to try them.
  • Treat your shirts as soon as you take them off with a product like The Laundress Stain Bar. My mom swears by this and I’m a convert.
  • Wash your white shirts frequently.
  • Use a white vinegar rinse on the regular because white vinegar has bleaching properties.


By [E] Sally Lawton

My food groups are cheese, bacon, and hot tea. I like studying cities and playing with my cat, Buffy.

5 replies on “We Try It: Deo-Go Stain Remover”

Vinegar might help get rid of the stain, because it’s also an acid that can react with the aluminum complex in antiperspirants. The thing is that aluminum acetate is not very soluble but aluminum chloride is, so you would need to rinse it several times if you use vinegar. Plus this cleaner contains surfactants to get rid of proteins. Bleach is a common choice but doesn’t work well on metal based stains.

Sounds like a good product, but the price is a little high for me, especially since it only seems to target a small range of stains (it would probably be great for rust stains since the iron would react in a similar manner as aluminum). Plus I usually get holes in my armpits before I get stains there. I think it’s the stress I tend to put on my sleeves and the shoddy stitching of most of the things I buy.

I’ve tried vinegar on these stains on several occasions to no avail. I also did a thing where I took lemon juice and toothpaste and salt and soaked them and then put them in the sun. Basically, if something is on pinterest telling me to get rid of pit stains, I’ve tried it.

I agree the price is really, really high for what it does, but I also spend money on my clothing pieces so I’m willing to spend that to save them. But I think if I bought cheaper things, I’d probably just replace them.

I wonder if there’s another household product, like maybe a rust remover, that is cheaper but similar chemical composition that could do the job.

Aluminum citrate and aluminum acetate are not very soluble salts, so even if a chemical reaction does occur, it would just sit on top of the stain. Aluminum chloride is soluble. I would buy a gallon of muriatic acid from a home supply store, but it would probably need to be diluted first, and maybe mixed with a simple fragrance free detergent.

I’ve been using that stuff for a few years now, and it’s good for more than just deodorant stains. Also takes out blood & grease stains (dependent upon fabric type, of course). I’ve rescued more than a few blouses that had an errant grease/oil stain right on the front.

Best use so far: Rescuing my (old) roommate’s favorite 15+ year old t-shirt that had pit stains so stiff he couldn’t put his arms down while wearing it. Took a 1/3rd of a bottle, but it’s back to being a plain ol’ faded favorite t-shirt, no longer a gross old t-shirt.

(Personally I don’t see the point of keeping a t-shirt that long, but it made him happy, so…)

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