How to remove sunscreen stains
How to remove sunscreen stains

Sunscreen is essential in our harsh climate, but unfortunately, when we accidentally apply sunscreen to clothing, the stains can be a shocker. Here's how to remove sunscreen from clothing, fabrics and carpet.

How to remove sunscreen stains on clothing

The oils, colours and active ingredients in sunscreen cause stains in clothing - many of which don't appear until after a garment is washed. Ideally, you should apply sunscreen and let it dry completely before getting dressed. If you do get it on clothing, here's what to do.

  • First of all, remove any excess with a spatula, blunt knife or a spoon.
  • If any liquid remains, blot it with a dry cloth.
  • Sprinkle the stain with bi-carb soda or cornflour to absorb any excess oils and leave for 30 minutes.
  • Brush off any excess powder, then rub the stain with a colour-free dishwashing liquid. Leave this to absorb for five minutes.
  • Soak in a mix of dishwashing liquid and water that's as hot as the fabric allows for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse the stain well with hot water.
  • Launder as usual.
  • For old or stubborn stains, combine bi-carb soda and water, leave to dry, then brush off and launder as usual.

How to remove sunscreen stains from unwashable fabrics

When sunscreen combines with unwashable fabrics there's a nasty result but you can try this removal method:

  • Start by gently scraping as much excess liquid as you can from the fabric.
  • Sprinkle the stain with bi-carb soda, cornflour or talcum powder to remove as much excess oil as possible.
  • Allow to dry, then gently brush off.
  • Repeat if necessary.
  • Stubborn stains will require professional cleaning.

How to remove sunscreen stains from carpets and furnishings

  • Scrape up as much excess sunscreen as possible using a dull knife or spatula.
  • Sprinkle the stain liberally with bi-carb soda, conrnflour or talcum powder.
  • Leave to sit overnight, and then vacuum up powder.
  • Repeat these steps if necessary.
  • Stubborn stains may then need to be treated with carpet cleaning or drycleaning fluid.

Stain remover notes

  • The quicker you deal with a stain, the more likely you are to remove it.
  • Unless it’s a fat stain, cold water is best for rinsing a stain, so as not to set it and make it harder to remove later.
  • Before using a cleaning solution, test on an inconspicuous section, such as the inside of a sleeve, to check it won’t ruin the fabric.
  • Always rinse out one cleaning solution before trying another to remove a stain as certain chemicals are not supposed to be mixed.
  • Read the care instructions on the item of clothing before attempting vigorous stain removal. Some clothing may be too delicate to attempt stain removal and are better taken straight to the drycleaners.
  • Don’t rub fabric harshly to remove stains as this can abrade fibres and cause fading.
  • The white towel blotting method is often recommended for stain removal. Simply fold a clean white towel and, once you have treated the stain with water, gently dab it with the towel and check to see how much of the stain has transferred to the white towel.
  • If using commercial stain removers and detergents, always follow the product label to understand the proper use and safety precautions you may need to take.
  • It’s always easier to treat a stain on a washable fabric.



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