How to remove fake tan from a carpet

Written by meredith jameson
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How to remove fake tan from a carpet
Sunless tanning can replace tanning at the beach but can be harmful to surfaces, if spilt. (tan image by Allyson Ricketts from

Sunless tanning lotions and creams work through an agent called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which interacts with the amino acids in skin cells to alter the colour to a darker shade. The colour fades as the coloured skin cells naturally fall off in a few days. While sunless tanning products provide an effective method of dying the skin, if spilt, they can also effectively dye other surfaces, such as carpet. Removing a sunless tanning product from carpet can take some effort and should be attempted almost immediately after the spill has occurred, to prevent permanent damage.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Towel(s)
  • Cloth(s)
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Water
  • Toothbrush
  • Vacuum

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  1. 1

    Blot up as much of the sunless tanning lotion as possible using absorbent towels. Note that the towels will stain, so use towels you don't mind ruining.

  2. 2

    Mix together 2 cups of warm water and 1 tbsp of dishwashing liquid.

  3. 3

    Dip a clean cloth into the cleaning mixture and apply to the stain, scrubbing in a circular motion until the stain is removed.

  4. 4

    Use an old toothbrush dipped into the cleaning mixture to scrub any stains remaining in the carpet fibres.

  5. 5

    Vacuum the area to lift up any remaining debris or residue and let dry. Vacuum again.

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