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Hair + Beauty

How Redheads Can Get Sunscreen Stains Out of Clothes

Redheads need sunscreen, but we don't need stains!

My (and yours?) sunblock frustration: sunscreen stains and yellow rims on the cuffs of white t-shirts! I hate it. However, not using sunscreen is obviously not an option as a redhead with sensitive skin. I’ll share my tricks on how to avoid these stains and make t-shirts vibrant and clean again.

Unfortunately, sunscreen can leave unattractive marks on clothes, which are often not noticeable at first. I discover the annoying stains and edges after trips to the beach and it’s often really bad, especially after many trips to South Africa. I often wear light-colored blouses and some of them I couldn’t save, some I could clean. Oh, how I hate it, but not wearing sun protection is obviously not an option for redheads.

Where do these yellow spots come from? 

The yellow spots and edges, unfortunately, come from the oil-soluble, organic UV filters contained in the sunscreen. Residues tend to stick stubbornly to the fabric. Of course, the best thing would always be to wash t-shirts, tops and bathing suits immediately after a day of sunscreen use. The longer the laundry remains unwashed, the more difficult it is for the stains to come out. But, it is not always feasible to wash clothing immediately.

Here are my tips and remedies for annoying yellow rims on blouses and shirts:

1. Prevent the stain if possible

Sunscreen should always be well absorbed when you pull the t-shirt over your head. This prevents acute stains. Try to apply the sunblock already in the morning and let it absorb into the skin before you dress. However, in summer temperatures, you usually sweat on your neck and that’s why it’s almost impossible to avoid a little fatty sunscreen collar or cuff.

2. Dishwashing detergent

Dishwashing detergent also dissolves grease when washing up, so it can also help quite well with sunscreen stains. The best time to use it is when the stain is still relatively fresh. Then you can pre-treat it with liquid dishwashing detergent, leave it to soak in for 30 minutes and then wash it in the washing machine. However, refrain from using bright-colored dishwashing liquids that are heavily dyed. The best option for redheads is to use gentle dishwashing detergents that are redhead-approved.

To remove stains: Wet the area with the sunscreen stain, add dishwashing detergent over it and rub it into the fabric. Leave it to soak for about 30 minutes and then wash the garment in the machine as usual.

3. Baking powder or baking soda

Baking power and baking soda are household all-rounders. These home remedies, therefore, have very well appreciated in my household. They work wonders on lighter clothes.

To remove stains: Wet the area with the sunscreen stain, sprinkle the baking soda or washing powder over it and rub it into the fabric. Leave it to soak for about 30 minutes and then wash the garment in the machine as usual.

4. Citric acid or vinegar 

Citric acid and vinegar are also natural home remedies that can help remove sun lotion residues from clothes. However, you should be especially careful when using either of these on colored textiles. They could be discolored by the acid.

To remove stains: Dissolve 15 g of citric acid in 1 liter of warm water and soak the garment or stained area for about 2 hours. After this pre-treatment, you can wash the item in the machine as normal. If you use vinegar water, simply add 1 part vinegar essence to 5 parts warm water and soak the garment for about 1 hour. Then wash it as usual.

5. Mrs. Stewarts Liquid Bluing — For Whites Only 

If you have white clothes with sunscreen stains, a great option is to use Mrs. Stewarts Liquid Bluing. Sometimes bleach can cause clothes to become yellow, but this product makes clothes whiter and prevents sunscreen staining!

To remove stains: Dilute bluing in 1 to 2 quarts of cold water. Add diluted bluing to wash water or final rinse water. Wash water should appear a light sky blue color.

Rock it like a Redhead! 

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