How to Get Sunscreen Out of Fabric

Sunscreen Stains? No Problem! Remove Those Tough Marks Easily

We all know how important it is to apply sunscreen liberally for UV protection. But those white, greasy sunscreen stains on clothes? Not cute! How to get sunscreen out of fabric?Whether you’ve stained your favorite swimsuit cover-up or got a splotch on your outdoor patio furniture cushions, don’t panic. With the right cleaning techniques, you can banish even the most stubborn sunscreen marks.

The Sunscreen Stain Struggle

Sunscreen formulas contain a combination of ingredients that can be tricky to remove from fabrics. Oil-based sunscreens are the biggest culprits, as their thicker, creamier consistencies really cling to fibers. You’ve got oils, waxes, and other hydrophobic (water-repellent) agents like avobenzone that drive stain-resistance.

Even mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide can leave behind a white residue that appears pretty stamped into fabric over time. Without prompt treatment, these sunscreen stains only intensify with heat and further wear, becoming harder to eradicate.

But have no fear! With just a few household supplies and the proper step-by-step process, you can lift out the toughest sunscreen discoloration for good.

How to Get  Sunscreen Out of Fabric

What You’ll Need

For successfully removing sunscreen stains, gather:

  •  A clean, dry towel or paper towels
  •  An old toothbrush or soft scrub brush
  •  Dish soap or laundry detergent
  •  White vinegar
  •  Baking soda (optional)
  •  Stain remover stick or spray (optional)

The Stain Removal Process

First, blot up any excess sunscreen on the fabric while it’s still fresh and wet. This prevents further settling and spread of the stain. Do this with a dry towel, gently lifting up and absorbing as much product as possible without rubbing it deeper into the fibers.

Next, flush the area with cool water to remove any residual sunscreen on the surface. Avoid hot water, as it can set in some ingredients like waxes.

Now, your primary stain treatment: Apply a few drops of dish soap or laundry detergent directly to the stained area. Gently work it into the fibers with your fingers, a toothbrush or scrub brush. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes to really penetrate the sunscreen oils.

Flush the area again with cool water to rinse away the detergent. If the stain persists, mix a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 1 part cool water. Dip your scrub brush into the vinegar solution and continue agitating the affected area. Vinegar helps break down the tough sunscreen components.

For extra stubborn stains, you can make a paste by mixing baking soda into the vinegar solution until it forms a gritty texture. Use this mildly abrasive scrub to really work into the discolored fabric.

If you have it, apply a stain remover stick or spray formulated for oil-based stains. These contain powerful solvents that can dissolve and lift tenacious sunscreen residues.

Once your stain is fading, rinse thoroughly and launder as usual if possible, using the hottest recommended water temperature for that fabric type. The heat from the dryer’s cycle will finalize the stain removal process.

If laundering isn’t an option for things like cushions or outdoor items, simply rinse very well and air dry completely in sunlight. The UV rays provide extra stain-lifting power.

How to Get  Sunscreen Out of Fabric

Pro Tips and Reminders

Here are some extra tips to ensure successful sunscreen stain removal:

  •  Treat the stain as soon as possible when it’s fresh for best results.
  •  Check fabric care labels first and test cleaning methods on a discreet area.
  •  Don’t place stained items in the dryer until you’ve treated the discoloration. Heat can further set in stains.
  •  For large stains, work section by section to concentrate your efforts.
  • Avoid using hot water, bleach, or harsh stain removers on delicate fabrics. Stick to gentler methods.
  •  For white or light fabrics, try making a paste with baking soda and water to gently exfoliate.
  •  Air drying in sunlight gives stain removal an extra boost of UV power!

Don’t Let Sunscreen Stains Ruin Your Summer Fun

While those white, oily sunscreen marks are certainly unsightly, they don’t need to ruin your clothing or fabrics! With some basic household supplies and a bit of elbow grease, even the toughest sunscreen stains can be lifted out completely.

Follow the recommended pre-treating process consistently: blot up excess, flush with cool water, apply detergent and let sit, scrub using vinegar or baking soda pastes, treat with solvents, and launder or air dry. Be patient and work through each step thoroughly.

With the right techniques, you can revive your sundresses, beach bags, canvas chairs and more from grease stains. So slather on the SPF without worry! Those protection streaks are no match for your new stain-busting skills.

How to Get  Sunscreen Out of Fabric


Knowing how to effectively remove sunscreen from fabric is essential for maintaining the appearance and integrity of clothing, towels, or other textiles. By promptly treating sunscreen stains with simple yet effective methods such as blotting, pre-treating with a stain remover, and laundering with appropriate detergents, individuals can successfully eliminate residual sunscreen from fabrics.

It’s important to address sunscreen stains as soon as possible, as allowing them to set can make removal more challenging. Additionally, being mindful of the fabric care labels and following specific washing instructions can help prevent damage while effectively removing sunscreen residues. Employing gentle and natural cleaning solutions, such as white vinegar or baking soda, can provide an eco-friendly and effective approach to tackling sunscreen stains.

How to Get  Sunscreen Out of Fabric

The proper treatment of sunscreen stains not only preserves the appearance of fabrics but also ensures that they remain clean, fresh, and free from potential discoloration or damage caused by sunscreen residues. By incorporating these practical and straightforward stain removal techniques into their laundry routines, individuals can confidently maintain the pristine condition of their textiles, promoting a clean and well-cared-for environment.

Overall, understanding how to remove sunscreen from fabric empowers individuals to address stains promptly and effectively, ensuring that their clothing and household textiles remain in optimal condition while upholding their appearance and quality.

Previous post Can You Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo
Next post Cleansers and Moisturizers