Sunscreen Stains No More

Updated on April 19, 2019
thisendlesslove profile image

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

I found the perfect pair of white pants. They were light weight, 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 Get Rid of Sunscreen Stains

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

More Details

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 if you manage to get a stain like mine, it just doesn't totally remove it.

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.

Quick Tips

  • For best results, Bar Keepers Friend works wonders.
  • A paste of baking soda and dawn will remove most smaller stains.
  • Do not use Oxiclean to remove sunscreen stains.
  • 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.
  • Use sunscreens that don't use Avobenzone to avoid stains all together.

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


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    • profile image


      12 months ago

      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!!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 years ago from Brazil

      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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