Antiperspirant is a great weapon in the fight against sweat, but it does have its limitations. Many people find that antiperspirant is hard to wash off and it often leaves a waxy residue on skin. This can be problematic, especially when someone is trying to wash up after a particularly sweaty day. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to remove antiperspirant and any waxy residue it leaves behind.

What you will need:

  • Bowl
  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Washcloth
  • Shower access
  • Follow these steps:

    1. Pour some baking soda into a bowl. It’s fine to estimate, but try to get roughly ¼ a cup.
    2. Add warm water to the bowl until it makes a thick spreadable paste. Just add a little bit of water at a time until it is the consistency you want.
    3. Take your mixture into the shower and spread it over the area with the antiperspirant residue.
    4. Take a wet washcloth and rub the paste off. Try to exfoliate if your skin is not too sensitive as this will help to remove any remnants of the antiperspirant.
    5. Once the paste is off, rinse the area completely in the shower. This should have removed any antiperspirant residue on your skin.

    There are other ways to remove antiperspirant from skin, but this method is safe for sensitive skin and it is usually effective. If you have extreme build-up, you may need to do this a few days in a row in order to completely get the antiperspirant off your skin.

    If a particular brand of antiperspirant or deodorant is leaving excessive residue on your skin you may want to switch to another brand. There are many over-the-counter topical treatments for hyperhidrosis to pick from, so don’t feel like you have to stick with a certain brand or style if it isn’t working for you. It can be a struggle to choose the right over-the-counter antiperspirant, so try several different types to find what works best for you.

    Interestingly, antiperspirant is made to stay on skin and be effective for at least 24 hours. Some antiperspirants that are made with newer active ingredients, like zirconium trichlorohydrex, have been reported to work for up to seven days. It actually takes 6 to 8 hours for antiperspirants with aluminum chloride to soak into sweat glands and create a protective plug. This means that you shouldn’t wash antiperspirant off of your skin if it hasn’t been there for long amount of time. Antiperspirant is meant to be applied at night and worn through the next day, so if you are taking a shower in the morning and deliberately washing your antiperspirant off, you may be doing yourself a disservice. This can be aggravating, as most people want to shower in the morning, but switching up your daily practices could make your antiperspirant more effective. In case you are wondering, antiperspirant is not bad for you, even though it can have some annoying side effects.[1]

    Clothing stains can also be a big problem for people with hyperhidrosis. Many have trouble with sweat staining the armpits of their clothes and then they get antiperspirant stains on top of that. If you struggle with these issues, here is how to remove armpit stains and here is how to get antiperspirant out of clothes. If you wear polyester frequently, here is how to get pit stains out of polyester.

    1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.