Clothes hanging on a laundry line outside

5 Ways to Get Sunscreen Smell out of Clothes

A day at the beach, working in the yard, or simply sitting and relaxing in the sun can feel so productive and rejuvenating. However, we can’t say this enough: Apply sunscreen and hydrate while the warm temperature radiates around you. Otherwise you’re in for a few painful, sunburnt days.

Here’s something else to think about while you’re soaking in the vitamin D, the sunscreen you applied all over your body, is soaking into your clothes. We can help you navigate how to remove sunscreen from clothes so your summer outfits can stay fresh and bright!

Why Does Sunscreen Stain Clothing?

Most sunscreens contain a chemical called Avobenzone, which is the chemical responsible for leaving behind the scent and brownish stains from sunscreen on your clothing. If you’re trying to get sunscreen smell out of clothes, avoid washing your clothing in hard water.

Hard water is water with a high mineral content. How do you know if you live in a home with hard water? You’ll typically notice:

  • Weak water pressure
  • Spots and mineral stains left on your dishes and glassware
  • A film-like residue left on your hands after washing

It’s okay if you have hard water, but it means you’ll just have to use a softening detergent when doing your laundry.

Steps to Get Sunscreen Smell Out of Clothes

  1. Wash Sunscreen-Stained Clothes ASAP
  2. Brush or Scrub the Sunscreen Stains
  3. Pre-Treat Stains and Smelly Areas With Baking Soda
  4. Use a Laundry Detergent Booster
  5. See If the Washing Machine Removed Stains

1. Wash Sunscreen-Stained Clothes as Soon as Possible

If you aren’t sure how to wash the sunscreen smell out of clothes, the key is to tend to them as soon as you or your family members remove the garment. Your first move might be to shower, and that’s fine, but be sure to get back to freshening your clothes right after you freshen yourself.

The worst thing you can do is throw sweaty, sunscreen-soaked garments into the hamper and wait around until laundry day to wash them. If you allow the sunscreen to dry into your clothes, it will be much harder to remove the smell and stain.

If you can help it, hold off on reclining on your favorite couch or upholstered seats with sunscreen-soaked clothes. That way, you’ll avoid transferring any damp stains onto your furniture. But just in case you do, you can easily get rid of smells in your couch with some quick spot-cleaning and a fresh smelling spray.

2. Brush or Scrub the Sunscreen Stains Before Putting Clothes Into the Washing Machine

Use an old toothbrush or scrubbing brush to loosen the stain particles before you toss them in the washing machine with the rest of the load. Knowing these tricks for how to wash sunscreen out of clothes will make your life a lot easier. The looser the sunscreen and sweat particles are, the more likely they will come out in the wash the first time around. After all, who wants to be doing extra loads of laundry during the summer?

3. Pre-Treat Stains and Smelly Areas With Baking Soda

If the sunscreen smell has really made its way into creviced areas of your clothing (i.e. shoulder seams, necklines, pant inseams, etc.), sprinkle some baking soda and warm water onto these areas and scrub. This is a great tip if you’re throwing your sun-soaked clothes into the washing machine with the rest of your laundry.

4. Use a Laundry Detergent Booster During Your Wash Cycle

To give your summer clothes an additional boost of freshness, we recommend using a natural deodorizer during your wash. With Fresh Wave Laundry Booster all you have to do to get sunscreen smell out of clothes is add 2-4 capfuls during your wash cycle in addition to your regular laundry detergent.

Think of our Laundry Booster as the Robin to your laundry detergent’s Batman. It doesn’t matter how tough, smelly, or stubborn the stain, Fresh Wave’s Laundry Booster will remove sunscreen smell from all of your clothes.

Here’s an added bonus tip: Don’t use bleach. You may think it will blast the scent and stains away, but combined with the chemicals in sunscreen, it will only make it worse.

5. Check To See if the Washing Machine Removed Stains Before Placing in the Dryer

If your washing machine did not do a great job of removing the sunscreen smell or stain, do not put it in the dryer. The high heat of the dryer will only allow the odor or stain to further set into your clothes. If the combination of your washing machine, detergent, and laundry booster did a good job removing the sunscreen odor and stain, then feel free to dry as you please.

If you do find that you need to go back and work on the stain some more, repeat steps 1-4.

When seasons change and the weather gets warmer, it’s the perfect opportunity to put your best foot forward. Protect your clothes and keep them smelling fresh all summer long with a little help from Fresh Wave Odor Removing Products and our helpful tips.