How to Get Sunscreen Out of Swimwear

Don't let sunscreen ruin your bathing suit.
... David De Lossy/Digital Vision/Getty Images

When you're hanging out at the pool or beach, it's smart to protect your skin with a generous layer of sunscreen. Sunscreen does an admirable job of blocking UV rays, but if it gets on your bathing suit, it can leave behind a greasy stain. If sunscreen marks stubbornly cling to your swimwear, don't despair -- that doesn't mean they're permanent. By spot treating and laundering your suit, you'll remove most any sunscreen stain.

Rinse your bathing suit in cool water immediately after taking it off. This helps prevent damage from salt water and chlorine.

Scrape excess sunscreen off the bathing suit with a dull knife. If you've just spilled the sunscreen, blot it up with a paper towel before the fabric has time to absorb it.

Rub a stain-remover product or your usual liquid laundry detergent directly into the sunscreen mark. A mixture of equal parts dish soap and liquid glycerin will also work.

Launder the bathing suit in the washing machine, if possible, in hot water on the regular cycle. If your suit is too delicate for machine washing, hand wash it instead. Fill a bowl with warm water and a capful of liquid detergent. Soak the bathing suit in the water, then swish it around to clean. Let it soak for 30 minutes, then remove it from the water.

Squeeze or press excess water out of the bathing suit. Don't twist or wring it. Twisting may stretch out the elastic, so the suit won't fit as well.

Hang the swim suit on a rack or lay it flat on a bath towel to dry. Do not put swimwear in the dryer.

  • Do not leave your wet swimwear in a bag or crumpled up so it can't dry. This will cause mildew and a bad odor to develop.
  • To get rid of bad smells, such as those caused by chlorine or mildew, dab your bathing suit with vinegar. Wash as normal.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.