Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sunscreen Stain Removal

Sunscreen Stain Removal

Sunscreen protects the skin from UV damage and sunburn, but its active chemicals, lotion emollients and dyes can stain clothing and bathing suits. Although some stains might be permanent, prompt and careful stain removal can help restore many garments' cleanliness. Try removing sunscreen stains yourself on any washable garment, but take items labeled dry clean only to the dry cleaner and point out the stain.


Once you notice a stain, treat it as soon as possible. Your odds of completely removing the stain increase when the stain is treated before it completely dries or sets. Use a white lint-free towel or cloth to dab away excess sunscreen globs. Do not rub the sunscreen into the garment. If the sunscreen has dried, use the dull edge of a butter knife or some other blunt tool to scrape the excess residue from the garment.

Always try your stain treatment product or detergent on an inconspicuous part of the garment to determine whether it will damage the garment's fibers or fade its color. Try less harsh stain removal methods before more harsh ones, which can be used as a last-ditch effort if needed.


Sunscreen lotion and oil contains oil to emulsify the active ingredients for application to the skin. To treat the grease or oil portion of the sunscreen stain, apply a stain treatment or liquid detergent made to dissolve grease and oil. After pretreating the stain, launder the garment in your usual laundry detergent according to tag instructions.

Check the garment to see if the stain remains before placing it in the dryer. Heat from the dryer may set some stains, so if the stain remains, try to remove it again before putting the item in the dryer. Sometimes the oil or grease from the sunscreen may be gone, but you may still see the color of the sunscreen where the stain was because the dye used in the product remains.

To remove a stain caused by the dye in sunscreen, rub heavy-duty liquid detergent into the stain and launder it again. If the stain persists, try spraying the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent. Rinse the garment thoroughly before laundering it again to avoid a potentially harmful chemical reaction between the dry-cleaning solvent and your detergent.

If the stain persists, weigh your risk of damaging your garment with your cleaning methods against having a permanently stained garment. Try using non-chlorine bleach, which is normally safe for most colored garments but less effective at stain removal than chlorine bleach. If you apply chlorine bleach to the stain, wait 15 minutes and check the stain. If you still see the stain, remove the bleach since it will only damage your garment after this time and will not remove the stain.

Prevent future sunscreen stains by applying sunscreen when you are not wearing clothes and allow it to dry completely before dressing. Use waterproof sunscreen to avoid sweat transfer.

Tags: sunscreen, stain, removal, chlorine bleach, dry-cleaning solvent, liquid detergent, remains remove, remove stain, some stains, stain launder