How To Get Sunscreen Out Of Clothes
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How To Get Sunscreen Out Of Clothes

How to get sunscreen out of clothes? If you are going out on a beautiful and warm sunny day, but some sunscreen paste is stuck to your clothes, what are you going to do? I’m right here to help you bring back the dazzling look of your outfit.

Applying sunscreen before going out is a necessary task to protect your skin these days. But the bad thing is this useful product could cause unpleasant stains on your clothes. So along with the instructions for removing the stains, I will show you how to avoid having them.

I think that is enough with the talking; let’s embark on the detail section below.

Sunscreen Lotion
Sunscreen spills will leave stubborn stains on your garments if you don’t take action quickly.

Sunscreen – Skin Protector Yet Leaves Stubborn Stains

A joyful summer vacation cannot miss some energetic outdoor activities like swimming, barbecues, or sunbathing. Spending all day under the sun is excellent for reducing stress and refreshing your mind; however, your skin is not that happy if you don’t wear sunscreen.

Beach Bag
Wear sunblock everytime you go out to avoid skin problems.

Exposure to direct sunlight will put your skin under the risk of certain skin problems. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun could increase the possibility of skin cancer if you don’t apply sunscreen as protection.

This protection product is essential for your skin but it can leave an ugly orangish or whitish stain on your favorite clothes. As you need to apply it every two or three hours, there’s a higher chance it will get to your outfits.

Unfortunately, the stain from sunscreen is a stubborn one. Sunblock cream usually has avobenzone to cover your skin from the sun, but this chemical can form rust stains if it interacts with iron in tap water (1).

However, you don’t have to worry because oil-based stains like sunscreen can be removed if you follow my instructions precisely. So, I guess it is time to save your garments from those annoying stains.

Step-By-Step Guide On Removing Sunscreen Out Of Clothes

First, there are some essential preparations you need to do before dealing with sunscreen paste on your garments. Here is what you need to do.

Before Treating The Stain

I suggest that you should tackle the sunscreen spill on the garments as soon as possible. Once the cream paste is dried on your clothes, the chance to remove the stains entirely is quite narrow.

First, you need to remove the excess sunscreen from your garments. Using a scraper with thin edges like a dull knife or a small ruler can scrape off the excess oil. I usually use my credit card, and it works like a charm.

Another suggestion is that you can use an absorbent cloth or towel paper to blot off the excess stain. Also, using absorbent materials could help drain out some oil on your garment. Next, you can choose between two options below to pretreat the stain.

Hand Knife
A dull knife is handy to scrape off the paste.

Option 1: Baking Soda

Sprinkle some baking powder or cornstarch on the affected area to suck up all the oil out of the fabric. Let the powder sit there for 30 minutes and shake them off your clothes. .

Option 2: Eucalyptus Oil

If you are out of baking soda, try eucalyptus oil. This plant-based oil can help loosen oil stains. Apply this oil on the surface of your garment as pretreatment and leave the oil for around 15 minutes and start washing with hot water (follow the care tag on the garment).

Should this not work, here is how you can deal with the stubborn stain. Keep reading!

Let’s Get Down On Business With Those Sunscreen Stains

Don’t let the sunblock cream have time to penetrate deeper into your garment; let’s gather some essential equipment and ingredients and deal with the stains. Luckily, you can find these tools and materials right in your house.

Option 1: Lemon Juice And Salt

This combination is a great choice because the ingredients can be found in your kitchen. Lemon juice is a citrus acid that could help remove the stained area quickly. So if you like the natural option, try this one.

Lemon Juice
This healthy lemon juice could be a great sidekick for eliminating sunblock stains.


  • A soft brush
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Light-colored cloth


Before you choose to use lemon juice: The acid from lemon could discolor your garment, so make sure you spot test lemon juice on the unnoticeable area on your clothes to check if it is ok to use or not. If the fabric color changes, stop using this option.

Step 1: Rinse the stained areas with cold water.

Step 2: Turn your garment over. You need to work with the stain from the other side not to let the sunblock cream penetrate through your garment.

Step 3: If your garment is thin, you can place a light-colored cloth under the discolored area. This way, you can prevent the sunscreen paste from spreading to other areas of your clothes.

Step 4: Pour lemon juice on the stain and wait for 1-2 minutes.

Step 5: Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the stained area and let your garment there overnight to allow the lemon and salt to gradually dissolve the stain.

Step 6: Brush the salt away with a soft-bristled brush.

Step 7: Launder the garment; remember to follow the guide on the clothes’ care label. Your clothes should look brand new after being washed.

Option 2: Citric Acid And White Vinegar

Another option for your favorite white clothes, citric acid and white vinegar, might come in handy dealing with sunscreen stains. Although vinegar might be a bit smelly, it will help make your white clothes spotless.

Chemical Free
Need a chemical-free cleaning agent? Try white vinegar.


  • A soft brush
  • A package of citric acid
  • A bottle of white vinegar
  • Light-colored cloth
  • A small bowl


Step 1: Always treat the stain from the other side, so turn over your garment.

Step 2: Put a light-colored cloth under the discoloration.

Step 3: Make a mixture of citric acid and white vinegar in a small bowl. You should use one tablespoon of citric acid and one tablespoon of white vinegar.

Step 4: Rub the substance into the stained area of your garment. You can use a brush and gently brush in a circular motion. The brush’s tiny bristles will sweep away the stain.

Step 5: Then leave the garment sitting there for around one hour.

Step 6: Rinse your clothes with cold water and wash the garment as usual. You should clean the garment alone because the smell of vinegar could spread to other garments.

Option 3: Citric Acid And Cold Water

In case you don’t have white vinegar, cold water is another great option to mix with citric acid. The process is simple, just have a look.


  • A package of citric acid
  • Cold water
  • A big plastic bowl


Step 1: Pour one liter of cold water into a large plastic bowl. Then, mix 15g of citric acid into the water, gently whisk to dissolve the citric acid.

Step 2: Soak the stained garment into the mixture for about two hours.

Step 3: Rinse the garment.

Step 4: Launder your clothes as usual.

Step 5: Dry the garment.

Option 4: Heavy-Duty Liquid Detergent

Laundry detergent is the top choice when you think of removing sunblock stains on your clothes. Any commercial detergent should work well on eliminating the stains. Just grab a bottle of laundry detergent and work on those stains.


  • A soft brush
  • A bottle of commercial laundry detergent (enzyme-based detergent is recommended for oil-based stains)
  • Light-colored cloth


Step 1: Pour the laundry detergent directly on the stain. Just use a sufficient amount not to waste the product.

Step 2: Massage the detergent into the stain. The detergent will loosen the stain color as you rub it gently all over the area. Then wait for roughly 30 minutes.

Step 3: Rinse your clothes with cold water.

Step 4: Launder your clothes in the washing machine. You can set the washing machine to warm mode for a better outcome; otherwise, the ordinary washing mode should work well.

Step 5: Air-dry your clothes.

Watch this video to know more:

Watch this video: The laundry detergent is so helpful in removing the discoloration from sunscreen

Option 5: Dishwashing Liquid And White Vinegar

The combo of two common materials like dishwashing liquid and white vinegar will blow the stubborn stains away. Let’s look at how you should do it.


  • A bottle of dishwashing liquid
  • A bottle of white vinegar
  • A small bowl
  • Cold water

Avoid using the bright-colored dishwashing liquid. These products have been dyed with colored chemicals that could form stains on your clothes.


Step 1: Locate the stain areas.

Step 2: Apply the dishwashing liquid directly to the stain.

Step 3: Rub on the stain to allow the liquid to penetrate the fabric.

Step 4: Rinse your garment with water and continue rubbing it.

Step 5: Make a white vinegar solution. Use a ratio of 1:1 for this solution. To specify, one cup of white vinegar and one cup of water. You should make enough to submerge your garment into the solution (depending on how big the stain is).

Step 6: Soak your clothes into the white vinegar solution and leave it to sit there for around one hour.

Step 7: Wash the fabric as usual. Remember to follow the instructions on the care label.

Step 8: Hang it outside and let it air dry.

Just how easy this woman removes sunscreen from her white t-shirt!

Watch this video: Stain Removal

Option 6: Hydrogen Peroxide

If the sunscreen stains still stay on your clothes, try this method. You should only use hydrogen peroxide for white garments unless you want it to discolor your favorite outfit.

Hydrogen Peroxide
Utilize the bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your home to clean sunblock stains.


  • A bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • Cold water
  • An absorbent cloth
  • A small bowl


Step 1: Make a solution from hydrogen peroxide and water in a small bowl. Use double the amount of water to dilute the hydrogen peroxide.

Step 2: Slowly pour a little amount of the solution into an absorbent cloth and blot the stain. While dabbing, you will see the stain color gradually move to the cloth. Stop dabbing if there is no absorbed stain, or the stain is gone.

Step 3: Rinse the garment with cold water.

Step 4: Launder your clothes as usual. However, you should separate this garment from others to prevent the excess hydrogen peroxide from spreading out to other clothes.

Step 5: Air dries your clothes.

How To Get Zinc Sunscreen Out Of Clothes?

Zinc oxide is a typical ingredient in many commercial sunblock pastes, and it helps protect your skin when exposed directly to sunlight. Zinc sunscreen could leave a white stain on your clothes which is really frustrating to deal with.


  • A dull knife
  • Baking soda (other absorbent powder can also work)
  • A white cloth
  • A bottle of unflavored vodka
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Cold water
  • A small bowl
Cold Vodka
Alcoholic drinks like vodka will make a big-time change on the discoloration.


Step 1: Remove the excess sunscreen paste with a dull knife or any thin edge object that you can find around your house.

Step 2: Sprinkle baking soda on the stained surface. Make sure you cover all the stain areas with baking soda, leave the garment there for around half an hour, and then shake the powder off.

Step 3: Turn your garment to the other side. You should only deal with the stain from this side.

Step 4: Pour some vodka on the white cloth and start dabbing at the stain. Then, dab at the discoloration from the inside toward the edge of the stain. Do not wipe because you can spread the zinc sunscreen to other areas.

Step 5: In case the stain is still there, you can make a solution of cold water and dish detergent. Use the white cloth and dab the solution to stain until it fades away.

Step 6: After the stain is gone, you can sprinkle more baking soda on the wet area and let it sit, undisturbed, for around 2-3 hours. Then, shake off the powder.

Step 7: Rinse your garment and let it air dry.

Remove Sunscreen Out Of Leather Items

Sunscreen also leaves stains on leather clothes. Frustrating, right? Here are two ways you could deal with it.

Option 1: Baking Soda Or Cornstarch

This is why I always love having a package of baking soda right in my home; this ingredient has so many usages that can amaze you. This time, it will help you with the stains on your leather items.


  • An absorbent cloth
  • Paper towels or a dull knife
  • A wet cloth
  • A package of baking soda (or cornstarch)
  • A bottle of leather conditioner


Step 1: Use the paper towels to scrape out the excess sunscreen. You can also use a dull knife to pick the cream out.

Step 2: Use an absorbent cloth to blot gently on the stain. Keep blotting for a couple of minutes to drain the oil out of the fabric.

Step 3: Cover the stain with baking soda, don’t miss any areas on this step. The baking soda will absorb most of the oil from the sunscreen out of your fabric. Let the baking soda on the stains overnight.

Step 4: Check the color of your baking soda powder. If the powder turns from white to yellow, that means the powder has absorbed the stain entirely. Then, shake the powder off.

Step 5: Soak the wet cloth in warm water and dab at the affected area to clean the abundant powder.

Step 6: Now apply the leather conditioner on the fabric to sustain the quality of your favorite items.

Step 7: Let your item air dry.

Watch this video to know more:

Watch this video: A very informative instruction on taking care of sunblock cream on leather

Option 2: A Mild Soap

Guess what! A bar of soap in your bathroom will be a helpful sidekick if you know how to use it. Plus, this method gives your leather quite a gentle, pleasant smell.

Natural Handmade
Out of cleaning agent? Grab a soap in your bathroom, and you will be surprised.


  • Sponge
  • Mild soap
  • An absorbent cloth
  • Paper towels
  • Warm water
  • A small bowl
  • A bottle of leather conditioner


Step 1: So first thing first, remove the sunblock cream as soon as possible. Use paper towels to blot all the excess cream.

Step 2: Combine mild soap and warm water into a small bowl. Then, whisk the mixture until you see the bubbles appear.

Step 3: Use the sponge to absorb and apply the foam to the surface of the stained area.

Step 4: Clean the foam with an absorbent cloth. Wipe gently and avoid spreading the foam all over the leather item.

Step 5: Let the garment air dry.

Step 6: Put some leather conditioner on the leather to protect and maintain the leather item.

Some Essential Tips While Removing Sunblock Paste

I have gathered some great tips for you while dealing with the stains from sunblock cream. Some of these might come in handy in emergency situations. Take a quick look at the tips now!

Don’t Use Chlorine Bleach

I know bleach is the ideal choice for white clothes when it comes to dealing with stubborn stains. However, with sunblock paste, bleach is the worst option for your clothes.

The avobenzone appearing on common sunscreens can interact with bleach and make the stain look even more horrible.

Try Using Sand

One ingredient for urgent situations is sand. Yes, I’m not kidding. When you want to act quickly with the sunscreen stains, but you are on the beach, try pouring some dry sand on your clothes for at least 15 minutes.

The dry sand will help drain out the oil from the paste; in the meantime, you will have more time to find other laundry detergents to treat the discoloration.

Shell On Sand
Who knows, a pinch of dry sand could also help absorb the oil from sunscreen, right?

Always Check The Care Label

Some fabric types are more sensitive than you thought, so be careful while applying any detergent or chemicals to your garment. Check the care label of the clothes and follow the instructions to preserve the best quality for your favorite items.

How To Avoid Sunscreen Stains On Clothes? Useful Advice

You have to wear sunscreen every time you go outside during the day to protect your skin. But if the stain from this product keeps ruining your favorite fancy outfit, here are some ways you could use them to prevent stains on your clothes.

Use Avobenzone-Free Sunscreens

Fortunately, there are avobenzone-free sunscreens on the market. Look at the ingredients on the package to see if it contains avobenzone or not before buying them. Most children’s sunscreen formulas don’t have this ingredient, so you can begin by looking for kid’s products.

Sunscreen On
Children’s sunscreen is suitable for sensitive skin and also avoids stains on your garment.

Use Sunscreen Cream Rather Than The Spray One

Another tip to avoid spreading sunscreen cream around is using the cream form of it. Spray bottles, on the other hand, are hard to control and the cream will be all over the place.

Wait Till The Cream Dry

Apply the sunscreen paste on your skin and massage it well and wait until it dries. Only wear your clothes if your skin is dry and there is no excess cream on the skin. It is suggested that you apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside to receive the best protection.


I have gathered right here some common-related questions on cleaning sunscreen stains. I hope these answers can provide you with further helpful information.

How to get sunscreen stains out of white clothes?

For white clothes, I suggest you use a combination of citric acid and white vinegar to wash away the stains. Follow my instructions above precisely and always make a spot test before applying the mixture to your garment.

Will vinegar remove sunscreen stains?

Yes, white vinegar can help remove sunscreen stains. My mentioned option 2 uses a solution of white vinegar and water to get rid of the stain so you can have a look at this section.

What sunscreen will not stain clothes?

Usually, most commercial sunscreen will have avobenzone, one of the leading causes of stains on your clothes. Therefore, avoid buying the sunblock that contains this ingredient.

Can sunscreen turn clothes orange?

Yes, the avobenzone in most commercial sunscreen creates an orangish stain on your garment. I bet you don’t want to deal with these stains because they are really stubborn.

Why do white clothes go pink in bleach?

This is one of the top reasons you should not use chlorine bleach in removing sunscreen stains. This chemical will interact with avobenzone and cause pinky color stains on your clothes.

How to get sunscreen out of black leather?

First, you should wet the stained area and then rub soap on the surface of the leather for a few minutes. After that, just wipe the affected area with a wet cloth. The stain should go away after the process. If not you can also check out more options above to deal with the stains.

Will bleach remove sunscreen stains?

Don’t use bleach for cleaning sunscreen stains, avobenzone in most commercial sunblock will not wash the stain away but make it worse. Instead, try one of my recommended options to sustain your fabric.

Does oxiclean remove sunscreen stains?

No, don’t use oxiclean to remove sunscreen stains. This chemical will create yellow or orange stains on your fabric. Again, this is because the avobenzone content in sunblock will interact and form annoying stains.

So Long, Sunscreen Stains

Did you know that using sunblock that contains avobenzone can also harm the coral reef? (2). When you go swimming, the water will wash the paste and affect the coral in the ocean. So I guess it’s time to say goodbye to the avobenzone sunscreen and its stains.

So that is a wrap for today! If you have any interesting tips that could make the stain removing process easier, feel free to share them with other readers and me. I love learning more valuable information.

How To Get Sunscreen Out Of Clothes


  1. 2021. Avobenzone – Wikipedia.
  2. 2021. Protect Yourself and Protect the Reef (U.S. National Park Service).

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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