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2 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Sunscreen Stains on Your Clothes

Spending time outdoors in the warm summer weather also means slathering ourselves in sunscreen more often (and if you’re not, you should start!). Unfortunately, while we appreciate the protection from harmful UV rays, seeing yellow stains left behind on our clothes is less ideal. Luckily, there are some easy ways to nix the unsightly splotches with a few items you probably already have in your pantry.

The stains are caused by a common ingredient in sunscreen known as avobenzone. It’s an oily substance that likes to cling to our clothes and turn them annoying shades of yellow. Of course, using sunscreens without it, like Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen (Buy on Amazon, $13.77), can avoid the issue altogether. Wiping them away quickly as soon as you notice any on your outfit is also good, but we often don’t realize it’s there until it’s already set in. In which case, these handy tricks will help!

Get Rid of Sunscreen Stains with Dish Soap and White Vinegar

Lucy Garner from Love Your Clothes, an organization in the UK that aims to reduce clothing waste, recommends using a mixture of dish soap and white vinegar to get the job done.

She starts by saturating the sunscreen stain in the dish soap and rubbing it in to make sure it’s soaked through the fabric. Once it’s fully absorbed into the stain, you can rinse away the dish soap with cold water. Garner then fills a bowl with a one-to-one mixture of cold water and white vinegar and allows the stained section of the garment to soak for about an hour. After that, she says to watch the item as you normally would and the stain should be gone! 

Take a look to see how well it works:

Get Rid of Sunscreen Stains with Liquid Detergent and Baking Soda

The experts at Cleanipedia offer another popular method for removing the yellow spots. In this case, you’ll need to grab your regular liquid laundry detergent and some baking soda. Cornstarch can work in a pinch, too.

They start by scraping away any lingering sunscreen from the clothing with a metal spoon, then sprinkling on enough baking soda or cornstarch to cover the stain. You can then pour detergent over the powder to create a pre-wash paste. The company recommends using the detergent lid to scrape away at the stain a bit, too. Let that sit for about 30 minutes before popping in the washer for a regular cycle and you should find a stain-free result when it’s done!

Take a look to see their method in action:

Whichever method you choose, you should have no worries about annoying stains messing up your favorite sundresses, swimsuits, and other summer outfits!

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