how to remove sunscreen stains

Sunscreen is a summer essential that protects you from the sun, but also has a tendency to get on more than just your skin. The oily formula absorbs into your skin slowly, so if you’re not careful, the chances of getting it on clothes, upholstery, and even floors are pretty good. Aerosol and cream-based sunscreens can make tile floors dangerously slippery, stain your favorite coverup, and leave greasy spots on carpet and upholstery.

But when you know how to remove sunscreen from fabrics and hard surfaces, you can get those oily stains out quickly and easily. Below is our entire list of sunscreen stain removal tips. We’ll start with the most common place for sunscreen mishaps, floors.

How To Remove Sunscreen From Floors

Spray-on sunscreen can make hard floors slippery and lotion formulas can leave nasty stains on carpet. If you get overspray on tile, vinyl, and other hard surface floors, use soap, water, and a sponge mop. If you spill lotion sunscreen on your carpet, act fast! Blot up the excess sunscreen with a paper towel and sprinkle baking soda on the stained area. Let it sit overnight, then vacuum up the baking soda. If the stain is still visible, it’s time for a carpet cleaner or steamer. Getting sunscreen spills off floors is straightforward enough, but clothing and upholstery require a little more work.

How To Get Sunscreen Out Of Clothes

If more than one favorite t-shirt has fallen victim to sunscreen accidents, it’s time to fight back. Sunscreen stains are no different from other grease stains, so the same laundry rules apply. Here’s how to get sunscreen out of clothes:

  • Check the care label on the garment before you clean the stain. If it’s dry clean only, take it to a dry cleaner.
  • If the clothing is machine or hand washable, scrape off excess sunscreen with a butter knife. Be careful to not spread the stain or push the sunscreen further into the fabric.
  • Pre-treat the stain by rubbing liquid laundry detergent into the fabric with your fingers and leaving it for 10 minutes.
  • Wash the clothing in the hottest water recommended for the particular fabric.
  • Let the clothing air dry instead of using your dryer because the heat can set the stain if it isn’t removed completely.
  • If the stain is still visible after the clothing has dried, pre-treat the stain again using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Finally, wash and air dry the garment.

How To Get Sunscreen Out of Fabric

If you panic when you see your child’s greasy face snuggling into the sofa pillows, take a deep breath. You can usually get sunscreen stains off fabric using baking soda and a dry cleaning solvent. Here’s how to get sunscreen out of fabric safely and easily:

  • Use a paper towel to blot up excess sunscreen, being careful to not imbed or spread the stain.
  • Sprinkle baking soda onto the stain and let it absorb the sunscreen oils for 15 minutes.
  • Scrape away the baking soda and then vacuum the stained area.
  • If the sunscreen stain is still visible, continue with a clean white microfiber cloth and a dry cleaning solvent.

Want more professional stain removal tips? Check out our guide for getting rid of even the toughest stains on clothes, upholstery, and more. Whether you do it yourself or let The Maids handle the dirty work with one of our popular cleaning services, we’re on a mission to make housekeeping easier than ever. Get your free estimate today and find out what we can do for you.


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