Sunscreen Stains on Clothes: How to Prevent and Remove Them

sunscreen spray

You’re at the beach or the pool, enjoying the warm sunshine, and you remember to put on sunscreen to protect your skin. 

But what about your clothes? 

Sunscreen can stain clothes, and it’s not easy to get those stains out. 

In this article, we’ll explain why sunscreen stains clothes and how to prevent and remove them.

Let’s begin.

How Sunscreen Stains Clothes

Sunscreen contains chemicals that can stain clothes, especially if it’s not absorbed properly or if you sweat. Some fabrics are more prone to staining than others. 

For example, natural fibers like cotton or linen are more likely to get stained than synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon

The type of sunscreen you use can also make a difference. Sprays and gels are more likely to stain clothes than lotions.

Preventing Sunscreen Stains

Here are some tips to prevent sunscreen stains on your clothes:

  1. Apply sunscreen correctly: Make sure you apply sunscreen evenly and allow it to fully absorb into your skin before getting dressed. This will reduce the amount of sunscreen that rubs off your clothes.
  2. Choose the right sunscreen formula: As mentioned earlier, sprays and gels are more likely to stain clothes than lotions. If you’re worried about staining, opt for a lotion instead.
  3. Wait for sunscreen to fully absorb: Allow your sunscreen to absorb for at least 20 minutes before putting on your clothes. This will give it enough time to dry and reduce the risk of staining.
  4. Use additional protective measures: Consider wearing a rash guard or other clothing specifically designed for water activities. This will help protect your skin and reduce the amount of sunscreen you need to apply.

Removing Sunscreen Stains

If you do end up with sunscreen stains on your clothes, don’t worry – there are ways to remove them. 

Here are some methods to try:

  1. Immediate treatment: If you notice a stain right away, rinse the area with cold water and apply a stain remover like Shout or OxiClean. Let it sit for a few minutes before washing.
  2. Pre-treating before washing: For older or set-in stains, try pre-treating the area with a laundry stain remover before washing. You can also try a mixture of one part white vinegar and two parts water.
  3. Choosing the right laundry products: Look for laundry detergents that are designed to remove tough stains. Avoid using bleach, as it can make the stain worse or cause fading and discoloration.
  4. Professional cleaning services: If all else fails, consider taking your stained clothes to a professional cleaner. They have access to more powerful cleaning agents and can often remove even the toughest stains.


Sunscreen stains on clothes can be a hassle, but with the right prevention and removal methods, you can keep your clothes looking great all summer long. 

Remember to apply sunscreen correctly, choose the right formula, and take additional protective measures when possible. 

If you do end up with stains, don’t panic – there are plenty of ways to remove them. With a little bit of effort, you can keep your clothes looking like new.

Do you have some oil stains on your clothes? See Does Oil Stain Clothes? Understanding and Preventing Oil Stains on Your Clothing.

Thanks for reading my blog.

-Baking Soda Guy  

Image by Beate from Pixabay