How to Remove Suntan Lotion Stains

There are several different ways to remove suntan lotion stains depending on the type of fabric that is stained. It is always best to remove any stain as soon as possible. The longer any stain remains, the harder it is to remove. The following directions are for removing suntan lotion stains from washable fabrics.

Scrape off any build up of suntan lotion, as gently as possible, with a dull tool such as the side of a knife or spoon edge.

Soak the stained fabric for 15 minutes in a mixture of 1 tbsp. white vinegar, 1 tsp. liquid detergent and 1 qt of water.

Launder the item in the usual manner.

Blot the stained area with rubbing alcohol if it still remains on the fabric after it has been washed.

Mix an enzyme presoak with water and let the item soak in the mixture for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not let it soak in this solution for any longer then 30 minutes.

Rewash the item again.


For a very stubborn stain, bleach can be used on some types of fabrics if it is applied very carefully. The following are bleaching agents listed in order of harshness; lemon juice (either fresh or bottled), hydrogen peroxide, a bleach that is oxygenated and chlorine bleach. If you cannot launder the item immediately, soak the stained fabric with water and a presoak, if available, and allow it to air dry.


Always test the bleaching agent in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the item.

Things You'll Need

  • Stained fabric
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Liquid detergent
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Enzyme presoak
  • Bleaching agent
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