How to remove sunscreen stains from plastic


Sunscreen has always been an essential product that works by preventing sunburn. Due to its blend of ingredients, it can trigger a different kind of stain or blemish on different household surfaces including plastic.

Plastic is susceptible to staining. Once you discover a sunscreen stain which is a type of oil-based stain, it can be unappealing to look at. Luckily, these stains can be removed with a little effort on your part along with cleaning agents. Read further to learn ways on how to remove sunscreen stains from plastic.

How to remove sunscreen from plastic

When you want to get rid off of sunscreen from plastic first scrub with a water and detergent solution. Then soak the plastic in a mix of foamy water and bleach. For set-in sunscreen stains dab rubbing alcohol on the spot. Alternatively use baking soda and water.

Steps on how to remove sunscreen stains from plastic

Let us now take a look at the steps on how to remove sunscreen stains from plastic.

  • Scrub the plastic surface or object with a solution of water and mild detergent. In most cases, this alone can get rid of the stains if they are fresh.
  • Fill a basin or sink with a mixture of foamy water and a small amount of bleach. Allow the plastics to soak for some time. Rinse thoroughly after the soaking. 
  • For set-in sunscreen stains, dab on rubbing alcohol and leave it in place. Pour a mixture of water and white vinegar on the stained area and leave in place for a few minutes. 
  • You can also prepare a mixture of baking soda and water to create a paste. With a sponge, scrub the paste into the stained plastic. Generally, this technique is effective for most oil-based stains.
  • Leave the stained plastic under the sun for a few hours. The exposure can help fade the stains. 

How to get rid of sunscreen stains on washable fabrics

  • Pre-treat the stain using a pre-wash stain remover or a heavy-duty liquid detergent. Persil and Tide are some of the recommended brands that contain enzymes to break down the oily element of the stain.
  • Using your fingers or a soft-bristled brush, work the stain remover or liquid detergent into the stained area and let it sit for a minimum of 15 minutes. 
  • Add your preferred detergent to the washing machine and launder the garment, as usual, using the hottest water based on the fabric care label. In case you have hard water, include a water softener into the wash or hand-wash the garment in warm water. 
  • In case the stain lingers after washing, launder it again using a rust remover. Remember that the commercial rust removers are only advised to be used on white or colorfast fabrics.

If you cannot deal with a sunscreen stain immediately, get rid of any leftover residue and sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch. In case you are at the beach, utilize sand. Allow the powder or sand to rest on the stain for a minimum of 15-20 minutes before brushing it away. This works by absorbing the oil until you have the option to wash it properly.

Other related questions to sunscreen stains

How do I get sunscreen stains off my dashboard?

Once you discover a sunscreen stain on your dashboard, it is vital to remove it right away. Simply follow the steps below.

  • On a clean sponge, apply a small amount of ammonia.
  • Rub the sponge over the stain gently to remove the sunscreen. Continue rubbing until the stain vanishes. 
  • In case the stain lingers, rinse out the sponge and dampen it with rubbing alcohol. Scrub over the stain until it vanishes. Rinse instantly.
  • Rinse the sponge thoroughly and utilize soap and a mild detergent to remove any leftover residue of the ammonia. 
  • Wash the sponge again and wipe the dashboard clean.
  • Once the sunscreen stain has been fully removed, apply a protectant using a cotton cloth. 

Does dish detergent remove sunscreen stains from plastic?

As an oil-based stain, sunscreen is not difficult to remove off plastic surfaces or objects. In most instances, you need to utilize a grease-cutting agent that is suitable for plastic and warm to hot water since it helps liquefy the grease. 

  • Scrape the plastic with a spatula to get rid of as much excess sunscreen as possible. 
  • Pour the grease-cutting dish detergent directly on the stained area. If the plastic item is small, place it in the sink and fill it with hot water. For bigger objects or surfaces, utilize a damp sponge to trickle water onto the stained area. 
  • Allow the dish detergent to soak on the plastic for 5-10 minutes.
  • Scrub using the moist sponge. Pour more warm water and detergent if the stain is hard to eliminate.
  • Rinse carefully with warm water. 
  • Dry the plastic using a towel. Check the plastic by touching it. In case it feels slightly greasy, re-wash using the dish detergent until it feels and looks clean.

Does talcum powder remove sunscreen stains from plastic?

Since sunscreen can be considered as a type of oil-based stain, proper removal requires certain steps including using talcum powder. When you are faced with a fresh sunscreen stain on plastic, including car upholstery, simply follow these steps. 

  • Blot up as much of the sunscreen using paper towels or an old towel. 
  • Sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch evenly over the stained area. Rub it into the stain using a towel or your hand. 
  • Allow the talcum powder to sit on the stain from 8-10 hours. 
  • Vacuum the talcum powder. Any leftover sunscreen should come up with the talcum powder. 
  • Repeat steps 1-4 until there is no more stain left. 

Final thoughts

Sunscreen stains are considered as an oil-based stain and require proper steps for effective removal. With the techniques discussed on how to remove sunscreen stains from plastic, you can effectively get rid of this type of stain in no time from plastic surfaces and objects. 

teammichael

Michael René, consultant, is the leading stain removal expert in Denmark. Read about him and the rest of the team here

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