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How to Get Sunscreen Out of Clothes

I've been an online writer for over four years. My articles often focus on skin care products.

How to get sunscreen stains out of your clothing

How to get sunscreen stains out of your clothing

5 Tips to Remove Sunscreen From Clothes and Fabric

  1. For best results, Bar Keepers Friend works wonders.
  2. A paste of baking soda and dawn will remove most smaller stains.
  3. Do not use Oxiclean to remove sunscreen stains.
  4. Even if you don't think your clothes have sunscreen on them, check before tossing them in the dryer or using Oxiclean in a load with anything that could possibly have been exposed! Yellow stains sometimes appear after clothes have been washed.
  5. Use sunscreens that don't use Avobenzone to avoid stains altogether.

How to Remove Sunscreen Stains

I found the perfect pair of white pants. They were lightweight but not see-through. They were casual and comfortable but easy to dress up. They fit and looked great. And, best yet, I found them, tags still attached at my local Goodwill!

But, 30 minutes into wearing them for the first time, I applied sunscreen and placed my still wet-arm right onto my leg. Having tried summer after summer to remove sunscreen stains from bathing suits and other summer clothes, I was sure they were ruined.

In the past, I've tried Oxiclean. Don't use it! The chemicals in Oxiclean react with the avobenzone in sunscreen and make the stain orange and impossible to remove. So, I did a bit of research and found a method that worked!

Steps to Getting Rid of Sunscreen Stains

  1. Sprinkle the stain with Bar Keepers Friend or baking soda.
  2. If using baking soda, add dish soap to make a paste.
  3. Gently scrub into the fabric.
  4. Allow it to sit for at least 20–30 minutes.
  5. Wash in water as warm as your fabric will allow.
Bar Keepers Friend works wonders to remove sunscreen stains from fabric

Bar Keepers Friend works wonders to remove sunscreen stains from fabric

Goodbye, Sunscreen Stains!

First, I took baking soda and sprinkled it over the stain, and then topped it with Dawn dish soap, rubbing it in to make a paste. I let it sit for about 20–30 minutes before tossing it in the washing machine.

This method worked wonders for the little spots where the kids had brushed up against me but did not totally remove the large stain. I would guess that it will remove 75% of the stains most people have, but it just doesn't totally remove it if you manage to get a stain like mine.

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So, I moved on to Bar Keepers Friend. It is amazing! I was afraid to try it at first because I was afraid it would leave a mark on the fabric, but when I realized that the pants were ruined anyway since the baking soda and dish soap hadn't totally removed it, I gave it a go.

I highly recommend doing a test on the inside seam to make sure it doesn't leave a stain on your fabric, though! To use it, simply get the powdered variety of the cleaner, and sprinkle it onto the wet fabric, rubbing gently to work it in. I let mine sit for about 20-30 minutes and then washed as warm as my fabric would tolerate.

I highly recommend letting the article air dry until you are absolutely sure that the stain is gone.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 thisendlesslove


Rachel on June 27, 2019:

Thank you, finally a remedy that worked!! I used Bon Ami to remove stubborn sunscreen stains from expensive bathing suits. I made a paste, left it on for 10 minutes and rinsed with cool running water. VOILA! The whites are brighter and the colors did not fade. THANK YOU!!

Mary Wickison from USA on March 05, 2016:

Oh my goodness can I relate to this. We live in Northern Brazil and I have so many clothes which are now stained due to sunscreen. They get demoted to gardening clothes.

I doubt whether I can find Bar Keepers Friend but will try the baking soda. We had someone stay with us and when I washed his clothes everything turned orange. I thought it was our water, and only later found out it was the sunscreen. So pleased to have found this.

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