How to get Sunscreen Smell Out of Clothes – 4 Simple Methods

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Do you love beaches and the outdoors? Well, what’s there to not love about it, right? The high and mighty waves, the blast of wind on your face, the salty air, fresh sand — it’s pretty much the picture of a great weekend getaway.

We use sunscreen to protect ourselves from the sun, prevent sunburns, and help to tan. However, the smell o sunscreen sometimes lingers, especially when it gets on our clothes.

This article will teach you some great cleaning tips, especially on how to get sunscreen smell out of clothes.

how to get suncreen smell out of clothes

How to get Sunscreen Smell Out of Clothes

Sunscreen lotions contain an ingredient called Avobenzone, which is responsible for the odor that your clothes emit when they have a stain caused by the lotion.

This oil-soluble chemical absorbs the full spectrum of UV rays, so it’s good to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, but the same cannot be said for clothes.

When sunscreen stays on your clothes and is ignored for a long time, it will cause a foul odor, and leave brownish stains that become tougher with time.

So it’s important to immediately work on removing the stain as soon as you see one and the following DIY methods give you some inspiration for the same.

1. Wash Sunscreen Smell out of Clothes with Vinegar

White vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent that can get rid of stains as well as odor.

For washing your clothes, use white distilled vinegar, as using other types of vinegar could cause further stains on your clothes.

If you have a very strong odor on your clothes, then just add the vinegar solution right after tossing your clothes directly into the washing machine.

Rinse the clothes in plain warm water and vinegar for two to three cycles.

Once you are convinced that the scent of the sunscreen lotion has diminished, you can wash your clothes regularly using your detergent and take it the rest of the way.

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

If you have a strong scent as well as stubborn stains of the sunscreen lotion, you can use the baking soda plus vinegar method to remove the sunscreen smell.

Fill 3/4th of a bucket with warm water. Add the desired amount of your regular detergent to it.

Then add a cup of baking soda and white vinegar.

Immerse a mug into this warm water mixture, fill it up, and then take the mug a little away from the bucket and pour the water in it right back in— repeat this action until you see suds gathering along the surface of the water.

Now it’s time to soak your dirty clothes in the bucket.

Let the clothes sit for two or three hours. The vinegar and baking soda should take care of removing both dirt and smell from the clothes.

After the said time, toss these clothes into the washing machine and run the wash cycle.

As you rinse them, add a fabric conditioner of your choice to give the clothes a good scent and make them softer.

Run them in the drier for a couple of cycles before letting the clothes dry.

3. Hand Wash

The good old traditional method of hand washing the clothes will also work great if you are wondering how to get sunscreen smell out of clothes.

A good idea would be to pre-treat the clothes with baking soda paste.

In a mixing bowl, combine two spoons of baking soda with some warm water enough to make a thick paste.

Apply the paste on specific spots on the clothes where you see brownish stains left by the sunscreen. Leave it on for a few minutes.

Then, with a stiff-bristled brush, scrub the area well by mixing some water as you work on the garment.

Since Avobenzone is an oil-soluble ingredient, the stain is bound to be greasy and that is why baking soda or vinegar can be used to neutralize it.

Once you have scrubbed enough, you’ll see that the stain has faded away.

Now you can rinse it and wash the garment by hand all the way through. Alternatively, soak it in a bucket of detergent plus water before tossing them into the washing machine to complete the job.

how to get suncreen smell out of clothes

4. Lemon Juice on Whites

You can also use lemon juice to get rid of stains on white garments.

Squirt a little bit of lemon juice on the stains, wash them in the machine or by hand. Then hang them out in the sun to dry.

The sun is a natural bleaching agent and will be ideal for white clothes.

Using lemon juice on colored garments could cause the color to fade, so make sure you use this method only for whites.

Drying your clothes

An important factor in getting your clothes rid of the scent and stain caused by sunscreen lotions is to make sure you air them out well.

If you have a clothesline make sure you secure it where there is maximum exposure to the sun and hang the clothes dry under the sun.

This will take the bad odors out of the clothes, dry them stiff, and in general keep your clothes in good shape.

If you do not have a clothesline, you could hang the clothes dry over the railings on your staircase. You could also purchase foldable clothes drying hangers, placing them in an area of the house that offers the best air circulation. This will also get rid of any bad odors.

In general, if you are wondering about the best ways on how to get sunscreen smell out of clothes, the thumb rule is to wash the clothes as soon as you spot the stain.

Do not wait for the next laundry schedule as the stains may get more stubborn with time.

Do not sit on your chair, sofa, or matters while still wearing those clothes. Wash them immediately by following one of the methods mentioned above.

You may also want to research better sunscreen products if the ones you have leave stains often. Look for ones in particular that are oil-free to avoid stains and smells.

Try these methods right away and get rid of those nasty scents and stains!

FAQs on How to Get Sunscreen Smell Out of Clothes

Can you get sunscreen stains out of clothing?

Yes. In a mixing bowl, combine two spoons of baking soda with warm water enough to make a paste.

Apply this paste on the areas of stain on your garment. Scrub the clothes with a stiff-bristled brush.

Wash the garment and hang it out to dry under the sun.

What is the ingredient in sunscreen that stains clothes?

The exact ingredient that causes a stain and gives off a bad odor in clothes is called Avobenzone.

This is an oil-soluble chemical and hence is responsible for those greasy stains it causes.

While this chemical is good on the skin, as it absorbs the complete spectrum of UV rays, the same cannot be said of clothes.

You need to neutralize the chemical with baking soda or lemon juice (for whites) in order to get rid of the odor and stain left by this ingredient.

Takeaway – How to Get the Sunscreen Smell Out of Clothes

If you are back from a trip on the beach, and your clothes reek of the scent of sunscreens, then here are some great methods on how to get sunscreen smell out of clothes.

You can rinse your clothes with a white vinegar plus water solution. You can soak your clothes in warm water mixed with baking soda, vinegar along with your regular detergent.

It’s also an option to pre-treat your clothes by applying a baking soda paste on the areas of stain. You can also use lemon juice on white garments to treat stains.

Make sure to air the clothes out by hanging them dry under the sun or in any area of the house where there is great air circulation.

This will help get rid of bad odors in general.

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