Removing Sunscreen Stains from Clothing

When covering your skin with sunscreen it can be difficult to avoid getting any on your clothing. This guide is about removing sunscreen stains from clothing.

August 20, 2012 Flag
5 found this helpful

After reading all the comments about chemical reactions I decided to do a little experimenting myself. I found that The Works tub & shower cleaner takes out the stain. I spray it on wet or dry clothes, rub it gently and walk away for 5 minutes. When I returned the stain was gone. It's very inexpensive (under $2) and can be purchased at Walmart or Kmart. It works great on rust stains in toilets & tubs too! Their website is and you can enter your zip to find a store near you.

By Barb

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Anonymous Flag
September 30, 20120 found this helpful

The Works is an excellent household item. I would use caution with clothing, however. This product is hydrogen chloride based, a corrosive. Be careful using it on certain fabrics.

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May 28, 20130 found this helpful

* Please use caution * while using this product! I know for a fact the toilet bowl cleaner (like the one posted in the picture) will eat through some fabric! The tub & shower cleaner may be less harmful to clothing. I had some spill on a small carpet in front of my toilet and it ate a hole right through it. That was the toilet bowl cleaner. I use it all the time, its wonderful! Harmful but really works!

So in my opinion do NOT use the bowl cleaner on clothes...not sure about the shower cleaner that was mentioned in the post but definitely not the toilet bowl cleaner or you will have some damaged clothes

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May 28, 20130 found this helpful

I have bought this product at the Dollar Tree stores for $1. Just bought some today actually. I am anxious to try this on my laundry needs. Will read label first to see if it has bleach in it before using on colors. Thanks for the tip ;-)

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June 16, 20130 found this helpful

Do not use the works on bathing suits. It eats some fabrics away. We ruined two different suits this evening.

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August 25, 20130 found this helpful

Turned by t-sheet toilet bowl cleaner blue.

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June 16, 20150 found this helpful

March 20, 2013 Flag
1 found this helpful

Having freckly/fair skin I need to wear sunscreen every day. Some brands can leave a yellow/brown stain on light clothes. To remove this stain: moisten the area, rub with plenty of dishwashing liquid (I use a popular clear green type), and scrub with a nail brush if the fabric can take it.

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July 16, 2010 Flag
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How can I get the orange stains from sunscreen out of white clothes? I cannot find Biz bleach, which was recommended for an enzyme pre-soak. I also tired The Works but the stains reappeared as soon as I washed the clothing.

By Gail from NY

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August 14, 20100 found this helpful

Bar Keepers Friend: Thanks for the tip! I had given up on my new white blouse badly stained from SPF cream, but I followed the instructions provided on this site and I can wear the blouse again! Many thanks to all who alerted me to this product which I had in my kitchen. It also removes stains from bathroom sinks, rust stains in the toilet basin and of course, shines the stainless steel sink to look like new. You all saved me a great deal of money!

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December 3, 2010 Flag
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Sunscreen seems to be staining my t-shirts around the neck and also the tops of ankle socks. I've tried pre-cleaners and bleach and still no luck.

By Nancy



Try Dawn dish washing liquid. I just used it for the first time to get rid of human urine on decorative bathroom rugs. (05/16/2010)

By metroplex

My Stain Tests

I have had the same orange problem for several years. Recently I did my own experiment with sunscreens we have at home. As many others noticed any with avobenzone left dark orange stains. However Walgreen's Baby Sunscreen stick, Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby, and Coppertone Sensitive Skin left no stains even after washing. Their active ingredients are tianium dioxide or zinc oxide instead of chemical sunscreens. They do go on thicker and slightly white, but I think it's better than ruining all my clothes.

I think our hard water is part of the problem. I also think that clothes that have been washed in hard water will hold a small amount of that rust in the fabric because there was almost immediately an orange discoloration on the old white cotton sock I used for my experiment, the stains became darker after washing.

I have attached a photo of the sock I used in my experiment. Below is the meaning of the letters on the sock.

By LifeWithTheBoys

RE: Sunscreen Stains on Clothing

The Works

I read many of the recommendations and tried "The Works" toilet bowl cleaner because I didn't have any of the bathroom cleaner. It worked instantly, no scrubbing needed! The stains just disappeared, even old stains that had been washed and dried multiple times. I went out and bought "The Works" bathroom cleaner and it worked just as well. I am so relieved. Don't try anything else, just go out and get "The Works" because it works!

By bharris1

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May 20, 20160 found this helpful

I tried this but the Works is blue and it stained my white shirt. Did you not have this trouble too?

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December 7, 2007 Flag
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I have a number of white cotton t-shirts that have orange and red stains around the sleeves and neck from what I could only imagine is sunscreen. These stains magically "appear" when I wash them. I use ALL Free detergent, borax and vinegar in each wash. Anyone have any ideas on how to get these stains out?

Thanks in Advance!


Bar Keepers Friend

I have the same problem. I use Bar Keepers Friend and have good results. It's a cleanser similar to Comet or Bon Ami. I usually wet the stained shirt, sprinkle with Bar Keepers Friend, work it in (sometimes scrubbing with a brush) and let it sit a few minutes, then wash it out in the sink. It works like magic! Warning: Be sure not to mix it with detergents or bleach.

I live in Oregon and use well water. Our water has a lot of iron/rust in it. I haven't noticed this before and wonder if it's due to some ingredient in the new sunscreen I've been using. It's Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch 45 SPF.

By Kelly


We have the same problem. Use "Whink" in the brown bottle and the stains will come right out with no scrubbing!

By Elizabeth.

Well Water

I just wanted everyone to know that I spoke to a lady at Coppertone, and she advised me that there can be a chemical type reaction between the sunscreen ingredient avobenzone (also known as Parsol 1789) and the minerals in well water. I'm now trying a chemical free brand called Blue Lizard, and so far the "sensitive" formula has NOT caused any stains! Since it's chemical free, it is more expensive and harder to find but may be a solution for others!

By Kara

Soak Clothing Overnight

I don't have well water (our water is soft) and had the same problem this summer, especially on the t-shirts my son wore when he played tennis. He used Neutrogena Ultra Sheer dry-touch sunblock SPF 55 with helioplex.

For years I have used Biz stain activated booster powder (about 1/2 cup mixed in with half a dish container of water) to soak stained clothing overnight and it seemed to work pretty well on these stains as well. I always scrub the affected areas and try to make sure the stain is out before washing.

By Diane

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August 22, 20160 found this helpful

I, too, had yellow stains on a white shirt at the elbows and collar following use with Coppertone waterproof Baby sunscreen 50 and a hot day. The shirt came out of a cold water wash with Tide liquid, and there were the stains. i first soaked it in hot water and OxyClean with no improvement. Reading here I tried Whink Wash Away applied liberally on the sleeves and collar, and then left it to soak overnight in cold water. This morning the stains are gone! I support the Whink Wash Away, which I don't think I have ever used before, but was in my laundry cupboard.

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May 13, 2010 Flag
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Can someone please help me with orange sunscreen stains on clothing? I'm finding the stains after washing. They don't appear until the clothing has been washed.

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August 15, 2008 Flag
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I'm a golfer and I have ruined many shirts and shorts due to the sunscreen. How do I get rid of these stains?

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