Sunscreen Stain Removal

Sunscreen stain removal can be an easy task if you are working with a cream based sunscreen. The project becomes a little harder when you are dealing with an oil based sunscreen stain. Like many stains, sunscreen stain removal becomes a more difficult task as times goes on.

remove sunscreen stain

Cream Based Sunscreen Stain Removal on Washable Fabrics

What you will need:

  • Liquid hand dishwashing detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Enzyme presoak product
  • Chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach

Cream based sunscreens are easier to remove than oil based sunscreens, but like all other stains it is very important to get to the stain removal process going right way. The longer the stain sits the harder it will be to remove. If your little ones happen to get some of their sunscreen on their cloths or your cloths here are a few steps to remove the stain:

  1. Soak the clothing, for about 15 minutes, in a mixture of 1 quart lukewarm water, 1/2 teaspoon liquid hand dish washing detergent, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
  2. Rinse the material with lukewarm water.
  3. After you have rinsed the clothing use a sponge to scrub rubbing alcohol into the stain. You can do this using circular motions starting from the center of the stain to the outside of the stain.
  4. To continue the process of sunscreen stain removal you will want to soak the fabric in a mixture of lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon of enzyme presoak product. You should allow the garment to soak for about 30 minutes, as enzyme stain remover can take awhile to work.
  5. If the sunscreen stain remains you should launder the clothing in chlorine bleach (if safe for the fabric), or oxygen bleach. Always remember never put the clothing in the dryer unless the stain has been completely removed!

If the sunscreen stain remains, try to repeat all of the sunscreen stain removal steps until the stain has been completely removed. Remember that bleach can remove the color of the clothing, meaning you need to pay close attention to not discolor your whites.

Cream Based Sunscreen Stain Removal on Upholstery

What you will need:

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Clean white cloth

To remove sunscreen from your upholstery you do not need many supplies and there are not that many steps, but you will need a healthy helping of patience. The good news is that cream based sunscreens are a lot easier to remove from your upholstery than oil based sunscreens. Here are the few short steps to sunscreen stain removal:

  1. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the dry cleaning solvent.
  2. Blot until solvent is absorbed into the upholstery.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the stain has been removed.

Having to repeat steps 1 an 2 can become frustrating, but if you were able to catch the stain quick enough you should not need too many repeats of steps 1 and 2.

Oil Based Sunscreen Removal From Washable Fabrics

you will need:

  • Pretreatment laundry stain remover
  • Heavy-duty liquid detergent
  • Chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach
  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Absorbent paper towels

Oil based sunscreens are a little more complicated to remove from clothing than cream based sunscreens. Keep this in mind when buying sunscreen for your little ones. There are a few more supplies needed for the project, but there are about the same amount of steps as the cream based sunscreen stain removal.

  1. First, you will need to begin by saturating the area with a pretreatment laundry stain remover. These can be found at your local grocery store. A quick tip: aerosol types of pretreatment stain removers work better on greasy stains.  Allow the product to sit  for about 1 minute. Wash the clothing immediately in the hottest water the fabric will allow.
  2. If you have a stain that has been there awhile it might be a good idea to scrub the sunscreen stain with the heavy-duty liquid detergent before washing the clothing. Once you have scrubbed the area you will need to wash the garment immediately.
  3. remove the garment from the washer and inspect it. If the stain remains do not put the clothing in the dryer! This will make the stain impossible to remove. If the stain is still on the clothing you can soak or wash it in chlorine bleach (if safe for that fabric) or in oxygen bleach.
  4. If the stain is still on the clothing you should then apply the dry cleaning solvent to the back of the stain over a few absorbent paper towels. Let the dry cleaning detergent dry and then rinse and wash as stated above.
  5. If the sunscreen stain persists, treat it as a dry stain from here on out. You will do this by soaking the clothing in a diluted solution of all fabric powdered bleach. 
  6. If the fabric is white or colorfast you can soak the clothing in a diluted solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water. Beware, bleach can change the color of the fabric!
  7. If you are not able to bleach on the fabric you can use a commercial color remover. Be careful as this type of cleaner can remove the color of the fabric along with the stain.

Again sunscreen stain removal can contain less steps if caught sooner rather than later. Start the process as soon as the sunscreen disaster has been discovered.