As we all know, sunscreen is essential to avoid sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer, even when it’s cloudy outside. But despite all the health benefits of sunscreen, it can easily stain clothing. Luckily, there are many effective ways to remove sunscreen from clothing.
Sunscreen can easily stain clothing
Why does sunscreen stain?
Sunscreen usually leaves a slightly oily stain that can be easily removed from most fabrics. However, it can become more stubborn if left untreated for a long time or if you wash the garment in hard water. Most sunscreens contain a chemical called avobenzone, which absorbs the full spectrum of UVA rays. Sometimes the stain goes unnoticed at first and only shows up when you wash the garment. Then avobenzone reacts with iron in hard water and forms orange or rusty stains that are difficult to remove. The extent of the problem usually depends on the hardness of the water and the fiber content of the garment. For example, synthetic fabrics stain more easily than natural fibers like cotton.
The sunscreen stains on clothes can become stubborn if left untreated for a long time
How can I avoid sunscreen stains on my clothes?
Apply sunscreen and let it absorb completely before getting dressed. It is usually recommended to apply the sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside to allow it to absorb and provide adequate protection. When using sunscreen, it is best not to wear tight-fitting and white clothing that is difficult to wash. There is a greater risk of staining clothing when using sunscreen oil than when using sprays or creams.
There is a greater risk of staining clothing when using sunscreen oil than when using sprays or creams
Removing sunscreen from clothing – how does it work?
Before machine washing, treat the stain with grease stain remover or heavy duty liquid detergent. Rub the stain remover or detergent into the stain with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and leave for 15 minutes. Put a strong detergent in the washing machine and wash the garment in the hottest water possible, following the manufacturer’s care instructions first. If you have hard water in your home, use a water softener on your washing machine or hand wash the garment with warm distilled water.
Removing sunscreen from clothing: Treat the stain with grease stain remover before machine washing
What else can I treat a sunscreen stain with before washing?
If you cannot wash the garment immediately, use a spoon or dull knife to remove excess sunscreen. Do this towards the center, not outwards, to avoid enlarging the stain. Sprinkle the stain with cornstarch and leave until you can work the stain more thoroughly. If you soiled your clothes with sunscreen at the beach, apply sand to the stain. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes. This will help absorb the oil until you wash your clothes properly.
If you soiled your clothes with sunscreen at the beach, apply sand to the stain
How to remove sunscreen stains with home remedies?
First, you need to apply liquid dish soap to the sunscreen stain. Rub it into the stain so it absorbs well into the fabric. Once fully absorbed, rinse the product off with cold water. Then fill a bowl with a 1:1 mixture of cold water and white vinegar and let the stain soak for an hour.
Fill a bowl with a 1:1 mixture of cold water and white vinegar
A sunscreen stain can be easily removed from clothing with regular laundry soap. Apply mild laundry soap and hot water to the stain and let it soak for a few hours. Try scrubbing the stain with a soft-bristled brush or clean cloth before washing clothes as usual. If traces of the stain remain after washing, do a second wash.
Use a spoon to scoop the sunscreen residue off of your clothing, then sprinkle enough baking soda to completely cover the stain. Allow the baking soda to sit for about 30 minutes before machine washing the piece.
Then sprinkle enough baking soda to completely cover the stain