Summer's here and it's time to protect your skin with sunscreen - whether you're at the pool, hiking, running errands or going to work. Unfortunately, when sunscreen gets on your clothing it can leave yellowish stains. These stains are tricky to remove because of the ingredient avobenzone, which is found in most sunscreens. It reacts with iron in hard water and may stain your clothes permanently.

If you spill, don't let the sunscreen dry into the fabric. Follow these steps immediately for best results treating the affected clothes:

  • Brush off excess sunscreen from the garment using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse under cold running water. The higher the water pressure, the better your chances are to get it all out. Exercise caution adjusting water pressure for delicate fabrics.
  • Apply Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid directly on the stain. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, spread the detergent gently into the fibers. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Using the lid, measure the appropriate amount of stain release detergent and pour it into the detergent dispenser or the drum. Next, load your clothes.
  • Wash on the usual cycle using on the hottest wash temperature indicated by the fabric care label on the item.
  • Unload the garments immediately when the cycle finishes. If the stain remains, repeat steps as needed until it disappears. Then dry. If you dry before the stain is gone, it will set permanently.

Natural sunscreens that do not have avobenzone may inflict less damage on your clothes. The FDA recently proposed sunscreen regulations that state only two ingredients (both minerals) are generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE): zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. For more info on sunscreen ingredients, check out this article in Good Housekeeping.

Finally, always apply your sunscreen before dressing. Let it dry completely before putting on your clothes.