Finally summer is here, but with summer comes one very big problem – sunscreen. More specifically, those greasy, yellow stains that it can leave on your new summer clothes. There are a lot of new sunscreen formulas that are much less oily than the older types of sunscreen – such as the Aroma Magic Cucumber Sunscreen Lotion that was reviewed here recently – but even these can still be troublesome when they get absorbed into the fibres of your clothing. Before we start covering ourselves head to toe in sunscreen, we need to know the best way to remove those stains: the most efficient methods, the most effective detergent, and the best drying processes.
Remember when using any laundry product that the manufacturer really will know the best way to use it, so always check the label – many laundry detergent websites will even offer a range of tips for getting the best results. The same goes for your clothes: check the label and wash your garment according to the laundry care symbols.
How to Wash Sunscreen-Covered Clothing
Let’s use the Aroma Magic Cucumber Sunscreen Lotion as an example. This formula is great for problem skin, as it primarily contains a host of beneficial natural ingredients: extracts of cucumber, green tea (which is very soothing to the skin), lemon, and aloe vera (yet another product that can help keep your skin fresh and healthy). However, as you get further down the list of ingredients, you’ll see the problem: essential oils. In this case, we’re looking at orange blossom, rose, and lavender oils. These oils are essential for sunscreens, as they prevent your skin from drying out and help to form a protective layer from the ageing effects of the sun, but they can be tricky to remove from your clothing.
You should treat sunscreen stains as you would any type of greasy or oily mark. Don’t be afraid to use your washing machine, as it really helps make this a quick and easy job, but make sure you use the right settings – particularly the correct temperature. Many people will tell you that hot water is the best way to tackle stains, and in some cases this is great advice. When it comes to oily stains, however, a cooler wash actually works better. Hot water can set the mark, rather than removing it, so stick to temperatures of around 30 degrees celsius for the best results.
What’s the Best Detergent to Use?
The natural oils found in sunscreens aren’t particularly problematic – in most cases they’ll respond well to any type of laundry detergent. However, it is recommended that for this type of stain in particular you choose either a liquid detergent, or a fine powdered detergent guaranteed to dissolve very quickly. Unfortunately, some powdered detergents rely upon very hot water to dissolve, and so may not break up completely in the 30 degree wash typically recommended for oil stains. Something like Surf Excel’s Easy Wash should do the trick – it’s a super fine powder that dissolves almost instantly, even in cooler temperatures. The problem with undissolved powder is that it’s not doing anything to help clean your clothes – it just sits as the bottom of the drum clogging up the filters.
Always Dry Naturally
If you’ve got a tumble dryer at home, it’s so easy, and so tempting, to simply throw your clean, wet laundry straight into the dryer once it comes out of the washing machine – but this can be a big mistake when dealing with sunscreen stains. In most cases, a good quality detergent and the correct washer settings should remove those oily stains in no time, but on occasion it can take a little extra elbow grease – especially if the stain was very large to begin with. If you dry your clothing while the stain is still visible, it will become practically impossible to remove at a later date. The best option is to hang your clothes to dry naturally, and keep an eye out for any remnants of the stain as the garment begins to dry. If you spot anything, quickly apply a stain remover and wash in the machine once more. This second wash is sure to remove even the toughest of sunscreen stains.
As the hottest months approach, there is no need to fear sunscreen! Believe it or not, sunscreen is actually very easy to remove from clothing once you’ve got the right detergent and have mastered the best techniques. Sunscreen not only stops us from getting sunburn, but also wards off wrinkles, so it’s vital that we all use it, even those of us who tan easily – while we may not burn, we’re not immune from the ageing effects of the sun!
Remember these tips and don’t worry about sunscreen stains.