Knowing how to remove suntan lotion from a bathing suit can help keep your favorite summer accessory looking great. It's best if you blot up any excess sunscreen right away, or that you rinse your suit out immediately, but if the stain has already dried, don't despair. While there is no guarantee that a stain of any kind, once set, can be removed, there are several things you can try. So don't throw in the beach towel just yet! Instead, try one of these ideas for removing sunscreen from your swim wear.
- Baking Soda. If you have a sunscreen stain on your swimsuit, it's almost certainly from an oil based sunscreen. Applying a dense sprinkling of baking soda can help absorb and break up the stain. Leave the soda on for at least an hour or two before laundering.
- Vinegar. Like baking soda, vinegar is tried and true for all kinds of cleaning. When used as a dilution in hot water (three parts water to to one part white vinegar works well), you can soak out a large sunscreen stain. You can also apply apply white vinegar directly to small stains. Just use it conservatively. Vinegar can also be used in tandem with detergent as a pre-soak. Use one teaspoon each of white vinegar and liquid detergent to one quart of water. After pre-treating, launder as usual.
- Commercial Solutions. If the "home remedies didn't cut it, you can try commercial pre-soaks or stain removers. Just make sure they were created to break down enzymes. For a very special swimsuit with a sunscreen stain, you can even purchase a swimsuit cleaner that is made just for the job of keeping your suit at it's best. Unless you have a specialty shop nearby, you will probably have to go online to purchase one. These little bottles can be a bit pricey. (Tommy Bahama sells a sixteen ounce bottle for twelve dollars.) So it really depends on how far you are willing to go to save your suit.
Any of these methods can work to remove a sunscreen stain from your bathing suit, and there's no harm in trying them all. Once you have removed the stain it's a good idea to look for a water based sunscreen. These sunscreens won't stain your suit like the oil based variety. And, in the end, the best solution for removing a sunscreen stain from a suit, is to prevent getting gone in the first place.