Sunscreen and Suntan Lotion Stains

Hot, sunny days require sunscreen and suntan lotion. While most people use these products to help protect their skin from the sun, others use them to enhance their skin tone.

Unfortunately, the components found in most sunscreens and suntan lotions can cause stains to fabrics. Most of these skin care products contain oils to make them moisture-resistant. They may also contain dyes to give them a certain color or to allow the skin to darken.

Initially, stains caused by these products may be invisible, but age and/or the heating of cleaning may cause them to become more apparent.

How do you prevent stains from sunscreen?
To prevent these stains, follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. The general rule of thumb is to allow the preparation to dry before it contacts a garment. Also wash your hands before handling garments to avoid possible staining. However, it is important to note that despite these precautions, some residue may still transfer to clothing through perspiration.

Can these stains be treated?
The oil component of skin care preparations may not be easily removed in normal washing or drycleaning procedures, but appropriate stain removal techniques can be successful. For this reason, it is important to tell your cleaner if sunscreens or tanning lotions may have contacted the garment. The more information your cleaner knows about stains, the happier both of you will be when your garment is returned.