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How to Keep Deodorant From Streaking

How-To: Keep Deodorant on You, Not Your Clothes

No matter how careful I am (OK, sometimes I'm not all that careful), I still get those annoying white "zebra stripes" on my shirts caused by a morning application of deodorant. While animal prints can be done tastefully, unintentional ones are just the pits. (Sorry.)

To keep your deodorant on you, and not your new blouse, I've gathered together some tips on remaining streak free. Check them out when you


  • The culprit: Probably the biggest culprit of those blotchy white marks is an overapplication of deodorant. To prevent this problem in the future, apply a very thin layer before getting dressed, blot if necessary, and allow it to completely dry. Tip: Hold your arms high and get under a fan or use the "cool" button feature on your blow-dryer to speed the process along.
  • Dress first: Some people prefer to dress first, then apply. It works OK in a pinch, although you still run the risk of staining on the inside of your shirt, and you have to use a pretty steady hand. Somehow I'm reminded of the game Operation.
  • Check the label: Just because it says "clear" on the bottle, doesn't mean it actually will be. Sprays, gels, and clear/invisible formulations will most likely be less guilty of causing streaking. However, nothing beats checking out some reviews to see what kind of results others have had.
  • Crystal ball: It's inevitable. Some natural deodorants still leave residue behind, but many people have had success with crystals (aka crystal stones), such as Crystal Roll-On Body Deodorant ($4).
  • DIY: Make your own danger-free deodorant, or consider using an essential oil, like bergamot under your arms.
  • If worse comes to worst: Thankfully, most of these white stains will come out in the wash, but if you find yourself with the stuff all over your clothes, try rubbing it out with another part of your shirt over the stain to help lift it out in a pinch.
  • Cheat: The Dress Sure Deodorant Streak Shield ($20) is a temporary garment you wear that helps you avoid staining by covering up your armpits altogether while you get dressed.
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