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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Sunscreen Stain Removal

By Dr. Laundry August 5, 2011

Q: How can I remove sunscreen stains from shirts?

A: For sunscreen stains, it’s best to treat the greasy portion first, so don’t apply any water to the shirt.  Instead, blot up any excess with a paper towel or cloth, and try not to rub hard to avoid pushing it further into the fabric.  Next, pre-treat using a good liquid laundry or dishwashing detergent–rub it into the stain and wait 5-10 minutes.

Now, for white items:


  1. Wash immediately in hottest water recommended on the care label with detergent and ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.

  2. Air dry and inspect the item.  If any stain remains, repeat the steps before tumble drying the item.


Or, for colored items:

  1. Apply Liquid Clorox 2® Stain Fighter & Color Booster, rub it into the stain and wait 3-5 minutes.  Wash in the warmest water recommended using detergent and more Clorox 2®.

  2. Air dry and then inspect the item.  If any stain remains, repeat the steps before tumble drying the item.


Readers – how do you remove sunscreen stains from your clothing?