3 Tips to Remove Sunscreen Stains from Clothes

One of the most effective ways to protect your skin from harmful radiation is to use sunscreen. While it is beneficial to your health, it may cause nasty stains on your clothing.

But, don’t be anxious! Today, you’ll learn three simple tips to remove sunscreen stains from your clothes successfully.

Why does sunscreen stain clothes?

It’s a lovely day outside. After applying sunscreen, you decided to sunbathe. When you returned home, though, you found some stains on your clothing.

Well, there’s only one thing to blame: sunscreen! The truth is, chemicals in sunscreens caused these stains.

As important as sunscreen is to your daily routine, it can be a pain at times. It’s notable for causing issues like stains and greasiness, particularly on white clothes. Sunscreen stains are often oil. They can also leave rust-colored orange marks on your clothes.

It’s hard to get rid of oily marks. You can avoid them by applying sunscreen on your skin and allowing it to dry before putting your clothes on. But the orange, rusty stains are more difficult to remove.

how to remove sunscreen from clothes

One major component in most sunscreens causes these orange stains. It’s called avobenzone.  It’s one of the few FDA-approved ingredients now on the market. It’s commonly added because of its effective protection properties against harmful UV rays.

Some minerals from hard water will react with avobenzone. It happens when they mix with your sunscreen. This water can come from sweat. It may also come from a spill while you drink. The effect of this reaction is an orange or brownish stain.

Several factors determine the severity of rust stains. As mentioned above, one factor could be the mineral level of the water. Another could be the fiber content of the clothing. Synthetics are more likely to retain marks than natural fibers like cotton.

Hard water is water with high mineral content. If you live in an area with hard water, look at the ingredient list before purchasing sunscreen.  You should avoid ones that include avobenzone.

Another UV filter, oxybenzone, is comparable to avobenzone in many ways. This chemical slightly stains garments orange or yellow but to a lesser extent.

It’s crucial to be aware because any of the two substances could be the reason.  Your sunscreen could include either one or both. Make sure to inspect the list of ingredients when buying one. This way, you won’t worry much about sunscreen stains.

Tips 1. Pretreat the stain

how to get mineral sunscreen out of clothes

Before you toss your garments in the wash, pretreat them first. It’s an important step that could remove most stains. It is better than simply throwing items in the washing machine.

Begin by scraping any residual sunscreen from the fabric as carefully as possible. Use a spatula, a blunt knife, a paper towel, a dry cloth, or the back of a spoon to do this. Be careful not to spread the stain.

Now here are some substances you can sprinkle on stained garments to help absorb oils.

  • Corn Flour – Place the clothing flat on a table or other level surface. To absorb as much extra oil as possible, dust the stain with corn starch. Allow the powder to rest on the oily marks for about 30 minutes before sweeping it away. Loosen the stain particles by using an old toothbrush or scrubbing brush. Do this quickly before tossing the stained clothing in the washing machine.
  • Laundry Detergent – You can also use a stain-specific concentrated laundry detergent. Allow 5 minutes for the detergent to soak into the fibers of the clothing.  Then, use a soft-bristled toothbrush or gently rub the fabric together.
  • Dishwashing Liquid – You can also consider using a dishwashing liquid. All you need to do is soak the item for 30 minutes. Do this in a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water as hot as the fabric will allow. Allow drying before gently brushing away. If required, repeat the process.
  • White Vinegar – You can also use white vinegar can to absorb the discoloration. Because most sunscreens are oil-based, white vinegar can easily dissolve them. If you’re worried about the scent, you don’t have to soak the entire item in the material, just the stain.
  • Eucalyptus Oil – When it comes to greasy spots, eucalyptus oil has remarkable stain-removal properties. Plus, it smells good. Coat the stain with the substance, set aside for five minutes, and then wash as usual.
  • Baking Soda – You can also sprinkle baking soda on the stain to absorb any extra oil. Allow for 30 minutes to set, then wash the item as usual.

Tips 2. Wash off sunscreen stains as soon as possible

how to get sunscreen stains out of clothes

The secret to removing a sunscreen stain is to act fast. An old sunscreen stain is far more difficult to remove than a fresh, wet one.

The sooner you treat a stain, the more likely it is to be gone. The longer you leave it, the worse it is going to get.

Garments quickly absorb sunscreens. The longer the sunscreen lingers on your clothes, the grease and chemicals will be increasingly difficult to remove

Because sunscreen oil can do severe damage to your clothing, it’s vital to remove it as much as possible. The longer it stays in the cloth, the more color degradation it causes.

If the stain happens while you are out and about, you will naturally wipe it away with a tissue or a damp wipe. But, the heat from the sun and sweat can further activate the grease, making it worse. It happens when the oil in sun cream may oxidize with time. Thus, it can be tedious to remove the yellow stains.

So, if you can’t treat a sunscreen stain right away, get rid of any signs of sunscreen on your clothes with a spoon or dull edge. You can also sprinkle the sunscreen stain with talcum powder or cornstarch. Use the sand if you’re at the beach!

Allow at least 15 minutes for the powder or sand to settle on the stain before brushing it away. Until you can wash your garment, the powder or sand will help absorb the oil.

When you arrive home, immediately change into a new outfit. Get rid of the stain as soon as possible.

If you’re at home when the stain appears, remove the clothing as soon as possible. Don’t just throw it in the hamper and forget about it. Throwing sweaty, sunscreen-soaked clothes in the hamper and waiting until laundry day to wash them is the worst thing you can do.

If you’re not sure when to wash sunscreen out of garments, the key is to do so as soon as you or your family members take them off.

Tips 3. Check the care label and wash accordingly

how to remove sunscreen stains

Before trying to remove the sunscreen stain, always check the garment’s care label. Learn what safety precautions you should take.

Some garments are too delicate to try stain treatment. Take the stained items to the dry cleaners right away. Make sure to point out the stain.

In most cases, you should wash your clothes in the warmest water advised for the fabric. Instead of using the dryer, let the clothes air dry. It prevents the stain from setting if it isn’t entirely gone. Remember that greater temperatures can cause oily stains to settle in the cloth.

For different types of fabric, check the following guidelines:

White Clothes

The best approach to remove sunscreen stains from white clothing is to bleach it gently. You can do it in one of the following ways:

  • After you’ve washed your white clothes, hang them out to dry in the sun. The sun is an excellent natural bleacher for dirty white clothing.
  • Lemon juice can enhance the sun’s bleaching effects. Before drying on the line, squirt a little lemon juice on the spots.
  • You may also use a chemical bleaching agent. Dilute it in cool water before applying it to stained clothes.

Silk Clothes

If the care label specifies hand washing, do so. Try to remove the sunscreen stain by hand washing the clothing in a tub of tepid water. Use a mild detergent. Make sure to read dosage directions found on the product label. Pay close attention to the discoloration and then rinse the item in cold water. Allow the garment to air dry.

If the sunscreen stains remain after the garment has dried, seek help from a professional dry cleaner.

Cotton Clothes

Before you wash the stain, soak it in bleach. Avoid using lemon juice or hanging the clothes in the sun. These procedures may worsen the damage.


You can use an old toothbrush to massage a stain remover into the swimsuit. You may also soak it in a solution of white vinegar and tepid water. Afterward, wash the garment by hand with ordinary detergent.


It’s usual to get sunscreen on your clothes, but don’t worry. There are solutions you can do at home. Follow the three simple steps to remove sunscreen stains from your clothes. Pretreat the stain, wash the marks off as soon as possible, read the care label, and wash them accordingly.


how to get sunscreen out of fabric

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