We’ve all been there before. You’re enjoying a day at the beach or pool and diligently applying sunscreen every couple of hours to protect your skin. But at some point, you realize you’ve gotten some of that sunscreen on your swimsuit, beach coverup, or towel.
Now you’re worried those stains and greasy spots will never come out.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: To remove sunscreen stains from fabric, first try to blot out any excess. Then pretreat with dish soap, rub glycerin into the stains, or use a stain remover stick.
Wash in the machine using hot water and detergent or soak in an enzymatic cleaner. For tough stains, make a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and let it sit before washing.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to get sunscreen stains out of any fabric. You’ll learn what ingredients in sunscreens cause stains, how to pretreat different fabrics, the best wash methods, and what to do for stubborn stains that won’t budge.
What Ingredients in Sunscreen Cause Stains
When it comes to protecting our skin from the harmful effects of the sun, sunscreen is a must-have. However, sometimes the very product that is meant to keep our skin safe can cause stains on our clothes and fabrics.
Understanding which ingredients in sunscreen are responsible for these stains can help us take the necessary steps to remove them effectively.
Oxybenzone is a common ingredient found in many sunscreens. While it is effective at absorbing and blocking harmful UV rays, it can also cause stains on fabrics. The chemical composition of oxybenzone can react with certain fabrics, resulting in yellowish or brownish discoloration.
To remove oxybenzone stains, pretreating the affected area with a stain remover or a mixture of water and vinegar can be helpful.
Avobenzone is another ingredient commonly found in sunscreens that can cause stains on fabric. Similar to oxybenzone, it can react with fabrics and create orange or rust-colored stains. To remove avobenzone stains, using a mild detergent and warm water to gently blot the stain can be effective.
Octinoxate, also known as octyl methoxycinnamate, is a popular ingredient in sunscreens due to its ability to absorb UVB rays. However, it can also leave behind greasy stains on fabrics. To remove octinoxate stains, applying a small amount of dish soap or liquid laundry detergent directly onto the stain and gently rubbing it can help lift the stain before washing.
Octisalate is another ingredient found in sunscreens that can cause staining on fabrics. It is often used to enhance the effectiveness of other sunscreen ingredients. To remove octisalate stains, rinsing the affected area with cold water and then treating it with a stain remover before washing can help eliminate the stain.
Homosalate is a chemical commonly used in sunscreens to absorb UVB rays. Unfortunately, it can also cause stains on fabrics, particularly when it comes into contact with oils or other substances. To remove homosalate stains, using a grease-fighting dish soap or a stain remover specifically designed for oil-based stains can be effective.
Octocrylene is an ingredient that helps stabilize other sunscreen components and provides UV protection. However, it can leave behind stubborn yellow stains on fabrics. To remove octocrylene stains, pretreating the stain with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water before washing can help break down the stain and restore the fabric’s original color.
It’s important to note that not all sunscreens containing these ingredients will necessarily cause stains on fabric. The likelihood of staining can vary depending on the specific formulation of the sunscreen and the type of fabric it comes into contact with.
It’s always a good idea to spot test a small area of fabric before applying sunscreen to ensure compatibility.
For more information on sunscreen ingredients and their effects on fabrics, you can visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573564/
Pretreating Sunscreen Stains
When dealing with sunscreen stains on fabric, the first step is to blot the stain. Take a clean cloth or paper towel and gently blot the affected area. Do not rub the stain, as this can spread it further and make it more difficult to remove.
Blotting helps to remove any excess sunscreen on the surface of the fabric.
If blotting alone doesn’t completely remove the sunscreen stain, you can try using dish soap. Gently apply a small amount of dish soap directly onto the stained area. Using a soft brush or your fingers, gently work the soap into the fabric in a circular motion.
Rinse the fabric thoroughly with cold water to remove the soap and sunscreen residue. Repeat this process if necessary.
Glycerin is another effective option for treating sunscreen stains. Apply a few drops of glycerin onto the stain and gently rub it into the fabric. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the glycerin to penetrate the stain. Rinse the fabric with cold water to remove the glycerin and sunscreen residue.
Glycerin helps to break down the oils in the sunscreen, making it easier to remove.
Stain Remover Sticks/Sprays
If the sunscreen stain persists, you can try using stain remover sticks or sprays. These products are specifically designed to target tough stains and can be effective in removing sunscreen stains. Follow the instructions on the product packaging and apply it directly onto the stain.
Let it sit for the recommended amount of time and then wash the fabric as usual. Stain remover sticks and sprays are a convenient option for treating sunscreen stains and can help to lift the stain from the fabric fibers.
Remember, it’s important to treat sunscreen stains as soon as possible to prevent them from setting into the fabric. Always check the fabric care label for any specific instructions or restrictions before attempting to remove the stain.
By using these pretreating methods, you can effectively remove sunscreen stains and keep your fabrics looking clean and fresh.
Washing Methods for Sunscreen Stains
Accidentally getting sunscreen on your favorite fabric can be a frustrating experience. Thankfully, there are several effective washing methods that can help remove those stubborn sunscreen stains. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore different techniques and products that can help you get sunscreen out of fabric.
One of the simplest and most accessible methods for removing sunscreen stains is using hot water. Start by rinsing the stained fabric with cold water to remove any excess sunscreen. Then, carefully pour hot water directly onto the stain.
The heat from the water can help break down the oils in the sunscreen, making it easier to remove. After applying the hot water, gently rub the fabric together to work the stain out. Finally, wash the fabric in your washing machine on the highest temperature setting recommended for the fabric.
Using a detergent specifically designed to remove stains can be highly effective in getting sunscreen out of fabric. After rinsing the stained area with cold water, apply a small amount of the detergent directly onto the stain.
Gently rub the fabric together to create a lather, focusing on the stained area. Let the detergent sit on the stain for a few minutes to allow it to penetrate the fabric. Then, wash the fabric in the washing machine according to the garment’s care instructions.
If the sunscreen stain is particularly stubborn, oxygen bleach can be a game-changer. Mix a solution of oxygen bleach and water according to the product’s instructions. Apply the solution directly to the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
Oxygen bleach is safe to use on most fabrics, but it’s always a good idea to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first. After the wait time, wash the fabric as usual in the washing machine.
Vinegar is a natural and affordable solution for removing sunscreen stains. Start by dampening the stained fabric with cold water. Then, pour a small amount of white vinegar directly onto the stain. Gently rub the fabric together to work the vinegar into the fabric.
Let it sit for a few minutes before washing the fabric in the washing machine. The acidity of the vinegar can help break down the oils in the sunscreen, effectively removing the stain.
If all else fails, an enzymatic cleaner can be a powerful solution for removing sunscreen stains. Enzymatic cleaners work by breaking down organic compounds, such as the oils in sunscreen. Apply the enzymatic cleaner directly onto the stain and let it sit for the recommended time indicated on the product’s packaging.
Then, wash the fabric in the washing machine as usual. Enzymatic cleaners are particularly effective for removing tough stains and odors.
Remember to always check the care label of your fabric before attempting any stain removal method. If you’re unsure about a specific fabric or if the stain persists, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional cleaner.
Removing Stubborn Sunscreen Stains
Accidents happen, and sometimes sunscreen ends up on our favorite fabrics. Removing these stubborn stains can be a challenge, but with the right techniques, you can restore your clothes to their former glory. Here are some effective methods to get sunscreen out of fabric:
Baking Soda and Peroxide Paste
One popular method for removing sunscreen stains is by creating a paste using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Start by mixing equal parts of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to create a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stained area, gently rubbing it in with a soft cloth or sponge.
Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse with cold water and launder as usual. This method helps to break down the oils in the sunscreen and lift the stain from the fabric.
If you have a garment that is safe for machine washing, you can try using the dishwasher to remove the sunscreen stain. Place the stained item in the dishwasher, making sure it is secure and won’t get tangled or damaged during the wash cycle.
Add a small amount of detergent and run a regular cycle without any dishes. The hot water and detergent will help to break down and remove the sunscreen from the fabric. After the cycle is complete, check the stain and repeat the process if necessary before laundering as usual.
Hydrogen Peroxide Soak
Another effective method for removing sunscreen stains is by soaking the fabric in hydrogen peroxide. Fill a basin or sink with a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. Submerge the stained garment in the solution and let it soak for at least 30 minutes.
After soaking, rinse the fabric with cold water and launder as usual. This method can help to bleach out the stain and restore the fabric to its original color.
Oxiclean is a popular stain remover that can also be effective in removing sunscreen stains. Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add the recommended amount of Oxiclean according to the package instructions. Submerge the stained fabric in the solution and let it soak for the recommended time.
After soaking, rinse the fabric thoroughly and launder as usual. Oxiclean contains enzymes that help to break down stains and remove them from the fabric.
If you prefer a natural and citrusy approach to removing sunscreen stains, lemon juice can be a handy solution. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the stained area and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The acidity of the lemon juice helps to break down the oils in the sunscreen.
After the designated time, rinse the fabric with cold water and launder as usual. Keep in mind that lemon juice can have a bleaching effect, so it’s important to test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the stain.
Remember, always check the care label on your clothing before attempting any stain removal method. If you’re unsure about a particular fabric or stain, it’s best to consult a professional cleaner. By following these methods, you can say goodbye to stubborn sunscreen stains and keep your fabrics looking their best!
Getting sunscreen stains out of clothing and fabrics is certainly possible with the right techniques. By understanding what ingredients cause stains and using pretreatments, specific wash methods, and treatments for stubborn stains, you can remove sunscreen from any fabric.
With a bit of time and elbow grease, you’ll be able to salvage clothes, towels, and swimsuits that have been damaged by sunscreen stains.
The most important thing is to act quickly when you notice sunscreen stains and not let them set. Catching them early makes removal much easier. Taking the time to properly pretreat and wash will also help restore your fabrics and prevent permanent damage.
So don’t despair if you’ve gotten sunscreen on clothing—with the tips in this guide, you can get them looking clean and bright again.