How To Get Sunscreen Smell Out Of Clothes? 10 Effective Ways!

Sunscreen Smell Out Of Clothes

Last Updated on July 23, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

To remove the sunscreen smell from clothes:

  • First, rinse the affected area with cold water
  • Then, create a mixture of white vinegar and water, or baking soda and water
  • Apply the mixture to the affected area and let it sit for 15 minutes
  • Then wash the garment as usual
  • Repeat if necessary for complete odor removal

How To Get Sunscreen Smell Out Of The Clothes By Following Simple Steps

How To Get Sunscreen Smell Out Of The Clothes

Sunscreen might be good for your body, but it’s not necessarily great for your clothes. The sunscreen smell and stains annoy people more so when their favorite clothes are affected.  To get rid of the sunscreen smell out of your clothes, use one of these ways;

1. Wash Sunscreen Stained Clothes Immediately

Always wash the sunscreen smell out of your clothes or family members immediately after removing the garments. Of course, your first move can be to shower but ensure you get back to freshen your smelly clothes.

The worst-case scenario is throwing sweaty, sunscreen-smelly/soaked garments into your hamper and waiting for laundry day to wash them. It will be much harder to remove the smell plus stains if the sunscreen dries into your clothes.

However, if you can’t wash your clothes immediately, pre-treating them helps.  Also, rinse the swimsuit with greasy SPF spots with cold running water before washing them. For other clothes, use good laundry detergent or a stain stick to pre-treat.

2. Brush/Scrub The Sunscreen Stains Before Putting Your Clothes Into The Washing Machine.

You can use an old toothbrush or scrubbing brush to loosen any stain particles before tossing them into the washing machine. These tricks will make it easier for the clothes to be free of smell after cleaning. The loose the sweat and sunscreen particles are, the more likely they will come out in the first round of wash.  This helps you avoid the need for extra loads of laundry during summertime.

3. Pre-treat The Smelly Areas Plus Stains With Baking Soda

If the sunscreen smell has made it through the creviced areas of your clothing, i.e., neckline, pants inseams, shoulders seams, sprinkle baking soda and warm water onto those areas and scrub gently.

Please leave it to soak for about 30 minutes and then toss the clothes into your washing machines as usual. This is a good tip for someone throwing sun-soaked garments into the washing machines plus another laundry.

4. Use Any Laundry Detergent Booster In Your Washing Cycle

To give your smelly summer clothes an extra boost of freshness, use a natural deodorizer of your choice during your wash, such as a fresh wave laundry booster. With it, you will get the sunscreen smell out of your clothes after adding 2-4 capfuls during your wash cycle on top of your regular laundry detergent.

It doesn’t matter how tough the smell is or how stubborn the stain is; your fresh wave’s laundry booster or any other will remove the sunscreen smell from all the clothes. 

Tip: Don’t use bleach. If the stains combine with the chemicals in sunscreen, it might make it worse rather than blasting the scent and stains away.

5. Ensure The Washing Machine Removed Sunscreen Stains Before Placing Your Clothes In The Dryer

If the washing machine didn’t do a good job of removing the sunscreen smell or stains, don’t put it in your dryer. The high dryer heat will allow the odor or stains to set into your clothes even further. However, if your washing machine, regular detergent, plus laundry booster did a great job removing the sunscreen odor or stains, feel free to dry them as you please.

But if you need to go back and work on the sunscreen smell or stains, repeat the four steps discussed above.

6. Dish Soap And White Vinegar

Start by saturating the smelly sunscreen-stained clothes in dish soap and rub it to ensure it’s soaked through the fabric. After fully absorbing the stains, rinse away the dish soap using cold water. Then, fill in a bowl with an equal mixture of cold water and white vinegar in a 1: 1 ratio. Allow it to soak for about an hour, and you will see smells or stains get out of the clothes.

You can as well spray your cloth with undiluted white vinegar. Its acidity will eliminate odor without leaving the overwhelming smell of vinegar. Make sure your garment dries fully before use.

7. Use Lemon Juice On White Clothes.

Another home remedy for sunscreen smell and stains is lemon juice. Since white clothes are vulnerable to grease stains that make your clothes smell, if you’re able to get all the oil out of your clothes, you might still smell it or see a stain or shadow on your clothes in places where sunscreen was.

In such a case, squirt some lemon juice on smelly or stained areas after washing. Afterward, hang your clothes on a line outdoors in the sun. The combination of lemon juice and sunlight has a bleaching impact that will help your white clothes get their usual bright color back.

8. Change Your Sunscreen

You might as well consider changing your sunscreen with one that doesn’t have a strong scent or none at all, if there is any, and avoid such hassle. Some sunscreens do not have the ingredient responsible for staining clothes, i.e., Avobenzone.  They are normally made for babies and children, so that will be a good place to start looking for them.

9. Hang Your Clothes Outside For Several Hours To Air Them

Fresh air is the best way to get rid of the odor trapped in your clothes.  Choose an open space outside with bright sunlight and hang your clothes from a clothing line. Leave your clothes for about 12 hours or more outside for incredible results.

You may also use baking soda to get the smell out of your clothes quickly. Mix two scoops of baking soda (29.6 g) with a few drops of water to form a slow paste. Then, place the paste in all the smelling parts using a spoon and let the baking soda dry entirely for 5 minutes or more. After that, remove the baking soda using a stiff brush.

10. Spray Your Clothes With Diluted Vodka To Remove The Overwhelming Smell

Use a bottle of high-grade, cheap vodka and spray the mixture all over the smelly spot. Let the vodka rest on your clothes for 5-10 minutes, then rinse using cold water. Vodka is widely known for killing bacteria effectively and removing the smell of perfumes.

Why Do Sunscreens Stain Clothes?

The sun-protective lotions, while essential for safeguarding the skin from harmful UV rays, often leave unsightly marks on your clothing. The interaction between the chemicals in the sunscreen and the fabric is primarily responsible for this effect. This article elaborates on the reasons behind sunscreen’s unwanted stains on clothes.

1. Oil-based Ingredients

  • Most sunscreens contain oil-based elements. These oils, while integral for sweat resistance and longevity on the skin, can cause trouble when in contact with clothes.
  • Just as cooking oil leaves marks on fabric, oily components can seep into clothing fibers and generate greasy stains.

2. Active UV-filtering Compounds

  • Certain active compounds in sunscreens, notably avobenzone, are designed to absorb UV radiation but may also interact unfavorably with fabric.
  • A chemical reaction between these ingredients and iron particles in water can result in dark orange or brown marks on clothes.

3. Incompatibility with Detergent

  • The chemicals in sunscreens may interact negatively with some detergents, exacerbating the stain or even setting it further into the fabric.
  • These detergent-sunscreen reactions can also result in color changes or fading.

4. Direct Sun Exposure

  • If sunscreen-soaked clothes are exposed to direct sunlight, the heat can magnify the staining effect.
  • The ultraviolet rays may lead to a bleaching effect around the stain, making it more noticeable.

5. Residue Buildup

  • Repeated usage without adequate washing can lead to a buildup of sunscreen on fabric, increasing the visibility and permanence of stains.
  • Over time, these patches can become more challenging to remove.

How Can You Avoid Sunscreen Stains/ruts Entirely?

The best way of preventing stains is to let the newly applied sunscreen dry out completely before dressing. Avoid the neckline and sleeves whenever you are reapplying with sunscreen.

How does Sunscreen get On Clothes?

Sunscreen is great for protecting our skin from the sun but what happens when it gets on your clothes? Most people might not think about sunscreen damaging their clothes, they just don’t want their skin to burn. The problem is that sunscreen can leave stains on fabric and cause lasting damage to clothing which can be much worse than getting a sunburn. For instance, if you spill sunscreen on your shirt, it could lead to an unpleasant smell when sweat dries out from the shirt.

The Dangers of Sunscreen Smell.

Exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays is a risk factor for many common cancers, including melanoma. Some sunscreen brands also contain harmful chemicals that can further increase this risk. Some ingredients found in these products have been shown to cause allergic reactions and can even penetrate the skin’s surface and enter the bloodstream. This unfortunate issue has led many to seek alternative methods for sun protection, such as oils.

How To Get Sunscreen Smell Out Of Clothes?

There is nothing more off-putting than the smell of sunscreen. It can cling to your clothes and even your hair, and it has a way of lingering with you no matter how many times you wash it away.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to remove the smell of sunscreen from your clothes.

If you use dryer sheets, put them in your dryer before switching on the heat for a few minutes.

Can You Be Able To Get Sunscreen Stains Out Of Your Clothes?

Can You Be Able To Get Sunscreen Stains

Yes, it is possible to get sunscreen stains out of your clothes—mix two spoons of baking soda with enough warm water to make a paste. Then, apply the paste to the stained areas of your garment and scrub it with a stiff-bristled brush. Wait for a few minutes for the paste to absorb the stains, then wash the garment and hang it outside to dry under the sun.

Final Thought!

Sunscreen is a significant part of your summer toolkit. You will need it to protect your skin health while enjoying great outdoor activities. But, its smell or stains can wreak your clothes, making it unpleasant. Fortunately, we have discussed ten ways you can use to get the smell out of your clothes. Try one or two methods and be at peace anytime you are outdoors!