Why do some sunscreens stain my clothes?

It’s rare but that orange-ish stain can happen when Avobenzone, an active ingredient in many sunscreen brands mixes with water that has a super high iron content, most likely the water you wash your clothes in. If sunscreen gets on your clothing before it dries, the iron in your water can cause oxidation, aka a rust stain.

You can avoid this stain and those caused by the oils and moisturizers in sunscreen by applying the product naked, which is always a good time, and allowing the lotion or spray to dry completely before putting your clothes on or by using an Avobenzone-free sunscreen, like our Signature line.

Our lotion and spray containers have been designed to keep the product in, and not spilling onto your belongings, however - our products - like all liquids - should be packed in a plastic bag that has a tight closure before putting them in your beach bag, suitcase, or purse. Sun Bum cannot be held responsible for damages to your belongings due to spills where the product was not properly packed.

To get sunscreen stains out there are lots of DIY suggestions online that can help. We’ve heard that it’s best to remove all excess with a spatula, blunt knife or spoon. If any liquid remains, blot it with a dry cloth. Sprinkle the stain with baking soda to absorb any excess oils and leave for 30 mins. Brush off any excess powder, then rub the stain with a color free dishwashing liquid and then wash according to care instructions on the garment. If the stain has not come out completely after a first wash - do not dry - repeat wash steps until the stain comes clean.