How to Remove Sunscreen Stains from Clothes

Sunscreen is a must during the summer, but it tends to stain clothes because of the ingredients it contains, and it’s not unusual to notice oily marks on darker clothes or yellow ones on white ones.

Even though sunscreen stains can be stubborn, with the right approach, you can easily and effectively clean them. Everything you need to know on the topic you can find out from this article.

From how to effectively remove sunscreen from clothes and which household ingredients to use to tips on how to prevent sunscreen stains on clothes.

How to Remove Sunscreen From Clothes?

First, you’ll have to act quickly.

Start by gently blotting the excess sunscreen off the fabric using a clean paper towel or cloth. It’s also very helpful to flip the clothing item inside out and rinse it under cold water.

While doing that, be careful not to rub the stain because it can spread and further soak into the fabric.

Once you’ve removed as much of the sunscreen as possible, apply a pre-treatment solution directly to the stained area.

Mix equal parts liquid laundry detergent and water to make your own stain remover. Apply it gently into the stain using your fingers or a soft brush, working from the edges towards the centre.

Let it sit on the fabric for about 10 to 15 minutes to break down the oils and chemicals in the sunscreen. After that, wash the clothing piece as you normally would, following the instructions on its label.

When washing sunscreen stains, it’s recommended to use the hottest water setting that’s safe for the fabric to help lift the residue effectively.

After washing, carefully inspect the stained area before you dry the clothing item. If any traces of the stain remain, avoid putting it in the dryer because the heat can set the stain further. In such cases, repeat the pre-treatment process and wash the garment again.

Air drying is recommended if the stain persists. Sunlight can also help to naturally bleach out any remaining discolouration.

A few additional tips when dealing with sunscreen stains include:

  • Delicate fabrics should not be washed in hot water
  • Follow the instructions on the garment’s care label
  • Don’t iron the stained area before treating it
  • Use an oil-cutting laundry detergent

Getting Yellow Sunscreen Stains Out of White Clothes

Yellow sunscreen stains on white clothes are very common, but they often only look worse than they actually are.

They can be dealt with using the same method that’s used for sunscreen stains on other colours of clothing, but you’ll need to pay special attention to any colour changes that the product may have caused.

A few special tips to consider when dealing with such stains:

  • Act quickly
  • Soak in cold water
  • Wash with bleach
  • Sun-dry
  • Use lemon juice
  • Separate white clothes
  • Avoid hot water

What Household Ingredients Can Remove Sunscreen From Clothes?

One of the best products to use when dealing with sunscreen stains is dish soap. It’s a versatile and effective solution for tackling them because its degreasing properties help break down the oily ingredients of the sunscreen.

To use dish soap, dampen the stained area with cold water and apply a small amount of dish soap directly to the stain. Gently work the soap into the fabric using your fingers or a soft brush and allow it to sit for a few minutes.

After that, rinse the clothing item thoroughly with cold water. Repeat the process if it’s necessary, and finally, wash the item as you normally would.

However, there are also several other products and household ingredients that can be used effectively to remove sunscreen stains.

White Vinegar

The acidic nature of white vinegar helps dissolve and lift sunscreen stains from fabrics. It’s simple to use. To remove excess sunscreen, blot the area with a clean cloth or paper towel. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and apply the solution to the stain.

Gently rub the fabric together to work the vinegar into the stain, and let it sit for around 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and wash as usual.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is commonly used in home cleaning and is also known for its ability to absorb unpleasant odours and remove stains. Make a paste of baking soda and a small amount of water and apply it to the stain. After 15 to 30 minutes, rinse with cold water. Wash it as usual.

Lemon Juice and Salt

You can also use lemon juice and salt to remove rust-like sunscreen stains. To do so, wash the stain under cold water but only soak it for a short time.

Put the clothing piece on a flat surface overnight. Apply lemon juice and salt directly to the stain. The salt breaks down the stain overnight, and in the morning, brush it away and wash it as usual.

How to Prevent Sunscreen Stains on Clothes?

Preventing sunscreen stains on clothes is a proactive approach that can help you avoid the hassle of stain removal later on.

Some effective tips for doing that include:

  • Apply sunscreen properly. Take care when applying sunscreen to minimise the chances of it transferring onto your clothes. Apply it generously and evenly to exposed skin, making sure there’s complete coverage, and allow the sunscreen to fully absorb into your skin. Avoid excessive rubbing or touching of the sunscreen-applied areas against your clothes. Besides that, make sure to wash your hands well to avoid any transfer of sunscreen on your clothes while you’re dressing.
  • Choose sunscreen formulations carefully. Opt for sunscreen formulations that are less likely to leave stains on clothes. Look for lotions or creams rather than sprays because sprays are more prone to overspray and can easily land on clothes. Select water-based or oil-free sunscreens that are less likely to leave a greasy residue on your skin.
  • Allow the sunscreen to dry well. It is safe to put on your clothes after the sunscreen has dried so that it does not contaminate them.

Final Thoughts

Sunscreen stains on clothes can be a hassle to remove, so it is important to take proactive steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Choose sunscreen formulations carefully, apply them liberally and evenly, and allow them to dry before putting on clothes.

Additionally, you can use traditional home cleaning remedies such as vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice and salt to remove sunscreen stains from clothes. With these tips, you can ensure that your clothes remain clean and stain-free even on a sunny day.

Share this article