How to Get Sunscreen Out of Swim Wear

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Sun and fun require sunscreen and care of swimwear.

Health authorities recommend using a sunscreen when skin is exposed to the sun. Protecting the skin with sunscreen is especially important during the summer months. Getting sunscreen on swimwear is inevitable and if left on the garment, the chemicals in many sunscreens will likely stain the fabric, ruining expensive swimwear. Wearers are left to choose between better skin protection and lower staining properties. Removing sunscreen from swimsuits can help extend the wearable life of the garment. Normal laundering may remove some sunscreens but some of the ingredients require pre-treatment.


Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda

  • White vinegar

  • Laundry detergent

Step 1

Mix baking soda and water to make a thin paste. Spread on the stained area and leave for at least one hour. If the stains cover large areas, soak the whole garment in a soda and water solution for an hour or more. This will break up stains from oil-based sunscreen products. After pre-treating, launder as usual.


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Step 2

Make a solution of three parts warm water to one part white vinegar and soak the garment in the solution for an hour or more. Apply vinegar sparingly directly to the stain.

Step 3

Make a solution of one teaspoon each of white vinegar and liquid detergent to one quart of water. Let the garment soak for at least an hour.


Step 4

Soak the garment in a commercial pre-soak or stain remover that is designed to break down enzymes. Follow the directions on the product's label for mixing with water and for how long to soak. There are many products that are sold specifically to pre-treat swimwear.


Purchase a sunscreen that does not contain avobenzone. Apply sunscreen carefully, avoiding the garment edges.


Pre-treat and launder swimwear immediately after changing.


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