Sunscreen bottles and striped shoes on a towel, illustrating tips for removing sunscreen stains from clothing.

Summer is here, bringing beach days and pool parties. It also means lots of sunscreen. But what if your best outfit gets stained by sunscreen? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this piece, learn how to remove those annoying stains and have a worry-free summer.

Sunscreen stains, like a yellow spot on a white shirt, can be hard to get rid of. When all seems lost, you can still save your clothes. With the right steps, those stains will disappear, and your clothes will look like new again.

We’ll look at why sunscreen stains are tough, what fabrics are the most at risk, and how to clean them right. You’ll get easy steps for treating and washing your clothes. We’ll also talk about when pro cleaning might be needed for tough stains.

Ready to beat those sunscreen stains? Let’s jump in and learn the best ways to remove them!

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper pre-treatment and washing can remove sunscreen stains.
  • Each fabric type needs a specific cleaning approach.
  • Before treatment, it’s key to remove excess sunscreen by blotting or scraping.
  • Using the right pre-treatment solutions, like soap or solvent, can dissolve the stain.
  • Both machine and hand washing can effectively clean sunscreen stains.

In this article:

  • Key Takeaways:
  • Understanding Sunscreen Stains
    • Types of Fabrics Affected by Sunscreen Stains
  • Pre-Treatment Steps
    • Blotting and Scraping the Excess Sunscreen
    • Effective Pre-Treatment Solutions
  • Washing Techniques
    • Machine Washing Tips
    • Hand Washing Methods
  • Professional Help for Stubborn Stains
    • When to Call Professional Cleaners
    • Choosing the Right Cleaning Service
  • Conclusion
  • FAQ
    • Why are sunscreen stains challenging to remove?
    • What should I do before proceeding with stain removal techniques?
    • What pre-treatment solutions can I use to remove sunscreen stains?
    • What are the hand washing methods for delicate fabrics?

Understanding Sunscreen Stains

Sunscreen is key for fun in the sun. But, it can stain your clothes too. It’s crucial to know how to deal with sunscreen stains to avoid the hassle.

Why are sunscreen stains tough to remove? Sunscreens have oils and ingredients that soak into fabric. They can make a greasy, hard-to-remove mark. Plus, some ingredients, like avobenzone, can make fabrics change colour when exposed to the sun. This makes removing stains harder.

Various sunscreen bottles on a wooden surface, highlighting the importance of understanding sunscreen stains and why they are tough to remove from clothing.

Types of Fabrics Affected by Sunscreen Stains

Not all fabrics get stained easily by sunscreen. Delicate ones, like silk, are at risk because they absorb oils. Synthetic materials, including polyester, also trap oils easily. It’s important to be careful when using sunscreen on these materials.

Knowing why sunscreen stains are hard to remove and which fabrics are at risk is key. This knowledge lets us prevent and deal with stains better. Next, we’ll talk about how to treat and wash stained clothes. We’ll also look at professional help for tough stains.

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Pre-Treatment Steps

Before you start taking off the stain, do a few things first. This will make sure you get the best result. You need to get rid of extra sunscreen and set the stage for the next steps in stain removal.

Blotting and Scraping the Excess Sunscreen

Gently blot the stained part with a clean cloth. This removes most of the extra sunscreen. Never rub the fabric. Rubbing can make the stain go deeper. If the sunscreen is dry, use a spoon’s edge to scrape it off softly.

By blotting and scraping, you stop the stain from setting further. This will help you remove it more easily later.

Effective Pre-Treatment Solutions

Now, it’s time to use something to treat the stain. Here are some options:

  1. Household Soap – Put a few drops of mild liquid dish soap or laundry detergent on the stain. Then, softly rub it in with your fingers or a soft brush.
  2. Dishwasher Rinse Aid – Rinse aid from your dishwasher can be great for tough sunscreen stains. Apply a bit on the stain, leave it for a few minutes, then wash as usual.
  3. Solvents – Rubbing alcohol or white vinegar can also work well. Put a small amount on the stain and gently blot with a cloth.
  4. Washing-up Liquid – You can also use washing-up liquid to treat the stain. Put a little on the stain, then gently rub it in with your fingers.

These solutions break down the sunscreen’s oils. They stop the stain from becoming permanent. Treating the stain this way first improves how well it comes out when you wash it.

Bottles of household soap, dishwashing liquid, and sponges, illustrating effective pre-treatment solutions for removing sunscreen stains from clothing.

Washing Techniques

First, deal with the sunscreen stains before washing your clothes. You can either use a washing machine or wash by hand. Both ways work, but it’s essential to know how to do it right.

Machine Washing Tips

Is machine washing okay for your item? Here’s how to get sunscreen stains out properly:

  1. First, separate your stained clothes from the others. This stops the stain from spreading.
  2. Use a good laundry detergent known for removing tough stains. Always check the label to be sure.
  3. Set your machine to a longer, more intense wash if the stain is severe.
  4. Make sure to follow the care label’s instructions on water temperature and settings.
  5. Check your clothes after washing to make sure the stain is gone. If not, wash again.

It’s best not to use any heat to dry stained items. Let them air dry. This prevents the stain from setting further.

Hand Washing Methods

For clothes that need gentle care, stick to hand washing. This is particularly true for delicate fabrics. Follow these steps to hand wash out sunscreen stains:

  1. Start by filling a sink or basin with lukewarm water.
  2. Add a bit of mild liquid detergent for handwashing.
  3. Put your stained piece in the water and gently move it around.
  4. Let it soak for around 30 minutes to lift the stain.
  5. Lightly rub the stain between your fingers.
  6. Next, drain the water and rinse the item well with clean water.
  7. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear and the stain is gone.
  8. Finally, press gently between towels, reshape, and dry it flat.

By using both machine and hand washing, you can successfully clean clothes with sunscreen stains. Your items will look brand new without any harm.

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Professional Help for Stubborn Stains

Sometimes, even with the best efforts, stubborn sunscreen stains stick around. It might be time to get professional help for the best stain removal.

When to Call Professional Cleaners

If you tried everything to remove sunscreen stains but failed, professional help is the next step. Professional cleaners have skills to deal with tough stains well.

Certain fabrics or detailed clothes should not be messed with. Choosing professionals means they will handle the job carefully. This lowers the chances of making the stain worse.

Quick action is key. Getting professional help sooner boosts your chances of saving your clothes. Waiting or using wrong methods risks damaging them for good.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Service

When picking a cleaning service, focus on their stain removal expertise and history of success. Such a service is more likely to deliver.

Check reviews and feedback from customers to gauge their performance. Aim for a service with a guarantee, ensuring you’re happy with the outcome.

Consider what the service offers. Do they take care of various fabrics and stains? A broad range of services will handle all your needs better.

Professional cleaners with the right focus on stains will bring back your clothes’ original look. They will solve your sunscreen stain issue effectively with their advanced methods.


In conclusion, quick treatment of sunscreen stains is key to keeping clothes looking new. By using the advice in this article, tackling these marks should be easier.

Start by blotting and scraping off the extra sunscreen. Then, try using items like household soap or washing-up liquid before washing. Make sure to pick the right detergent and wash setting for the best results.

For fragile clothes, hand washing might be the safest option. If stains are tough, don’t be afraid to find professional help. They have the right skills and tools for the job.

To avoid stains, let the sunscreen dry before putting on clothes. You should also wear things like hats or cover-ups. This helps stop sunscreen from touching your clothes directly.


  1. Why are sunscreen stains challenging to remove?

    Sunscreen stains are tough to get out because they contain oils. These oils can stick to clothes and cause hard-to-remove marks.

  2. What should I do before proceeding with stain removal techniques?

    First, try to remove any extra sunscreen by blotting or scraping. This helps prevent the stain from setting further.

  3. What pre-treatment solutions can I use to remove sunscreen stains?

    You can try using soap, dishwasher rinse aid, or solvents to treat the stain before washing. These can help break down the oil.

  4. What are the hand washing methods for delicate fabrics?

    For gentle fabrics, it’s best to wash by hand. Use a mix of mild soap and water. Gently rub the stain and then rinse well.

Author: Svetlana Georgieva (Clara)

Hi, I’m Svetlana Georgieva, but you can call me Clara. As the co-founder and heart behind Samyx Cleaning, I’m devoted to sharing the art of a clean space. Let’s journey into a cleaner, more joyful life together with tips from London's cleaning experts.

Samyx Cleaning - Co-Founder, Customer Service Manager, Author - Svetleto