How to Remove Suntan Oil Stains from Clothes? – 3 Grandma Tricks that Work Miracles!

by Stephanie Yankova

There is one downside of suntan oil that companies usually don’t warn us about – the stains. Most of you have probably experienced the following scenario – you lather your skin with tanning oil, get dressed and as soon as you get to the beach both your bikini and clothes are covered in oily stains! What do you do next? One thing is for sure – the washing machine won’t cut it! Don’t worry; I know the pain and will not gatekeep the remedy! Let me teach you the easiest methods I’ve learned from my mom and grandma for ridding clothes of stubborn oily stains!

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Are Sunscreen Stains Permanent?

You’ve probably learned by now that the oily stains left from sunscreen are pretty stubborn! But does that mean they can’t be removed? The short answer is – no! The sunscreen stains are not permanent. However, you need to make sure that you treat the oily spot as quickly as possible. The longer you leave the stain unattended, the more difficult it will be to remove it. Remember that these stains won’t come out by simply putting your clothes in the washing machine. Scroll on to see the easiest fool-proof methods for removing suntan oil spots from your favorite clothes!

How Do You Remove Suntan Oil Stains From Clothes?

The reason why some suntan oil stains are more stubborn than those from organic or cooking oils is their chemical compound. If the stain is left untreated for a couple of days, chances are you won’t be able to remove it completely. This is why the first and most important step is to clean the stain as soon as you possibly can! Here are the suntan oil stain-removing methods I use that never let me down!

Read also: How to Remove Stains from Denim Jeans? Here’s a Simple Guide That’ll Help You!

Quick White Vinegar Wash

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If the tanning oil stain is colorless and you’re able to treat it immediately, this is the easiest method to apply! All you’re going to need is:

  • standard white vinegar
  • a bowl big enough to fit your garments
  • hot water

Once you have everything ready, the steps you need to follow are pretty simple! Here’s what they are:

  1. Pour a good amount of white vinegar into the bowl. Make sure that it’s enough to cover the stained garment.
  2. Soak the stained clothes in the vinegar for an hour.
  3. Once the garments are done soaking, it’s time to wash them. If you have access to a washing machine, wash the clothes at the highest possible temperature suggested on their label. If you don’t have a washing machine, there are two things you can do.

– Use a tea kettle to boil some water. Pour the hot water into a bowl, mix it with some soap and wash the clothes in it until they’re clean.

– Lather the clothes with soap or liquid detergent. Then wash them in the sink with the hottest running water, or use the shower head.

Note: Once the clothes are fully washed, let them air dry. The sun has a natural bleaching effect which will help lighten the stain. If you can still see some remaining marks, repeat the process until the stain is fully gone.

Grandma’s Oil Stain Removing Method

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Let me tell you, when I learned about this method for removing oily stains I was blown away! Why? Because the only ingredient you need is probably already in your kitchen cupboard. And what’s more shocking is that you would’ve never guessed it can actually do that! So what is it? Drumroll please – it’s CORNSTARCH! Yes, I’m talking about that powder you use to thicken soups and sauces. Little did you know it actually sucks oil right out of almost any fabric! This is how you do it:

  1. Take a little spoon and pour the cornstarch onto the stained area.
  2. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Take a clean dry toothbrush and brush the cornstarch off the stain gently.
  4. If you have any pre-wash stain-removing product, apply it to the stain before you wash the clothing.
  5. If you don’t have such a product, simply soak the garment in white vinegar for 30 minutes.
  6. Once you’ve done that simply wash the garments in the washing machine at the highest temperature stated on the label.

Read also: How to remove makeup stains: You can save your clothes with these ingenious techniques

How Do You Get Dark Suntan Oil Stains Out of Clothes?

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Some suntan oils or tanning accelerators leave dark brown marks. Unfortunately, this is an unpredicted side effect that can understandably ruin anyone’s mood! Don’t worry, these stains aren’t forever! Remember, it is vital that you don’t wet the oil stain. Because water and oil don’t mix, the water can actually create a thin layer preventing the stain from coming out. With that in mind, you can easily get your garments back to their original state with the following method. Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • paper towels
  • clean dry toothbrush
  • dish soap for grease
  • enzyme-based liquid detergent

Once you have everything set, go through the following steps:

  1. Use paper towels to blot any excess oil from the garments.
  2. Take the dish soap and pour a few drops onto the oil stain.
  3. Use the toothbrush to lather the dish soap onto the garment. For best results, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. You have to be careful to not damage the fabric or worse – push the oils deeper into the fabric.
  4. Once you’ve done that, let it sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Put the garments in the washing machine, add the enzyme-based liquid detergent and wash at the highest temperature safe for the fabric.
  6. If the clothes are white, you can also add bleach.
  7. It is mandatory that you do NOT put the clothes in a dryer. The high temperature will push the stain deeper into the fabric and make it impossible to remove. ALWAYS air-dry your oily spot-treated clothes!
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