Don't let protecting your skin ruin your swimsuit.

How to Get Sunscreen Out of Swimwear

by Jaimie Zinski

Lounging by the pool or splashing in the waves of the ocean can keep the kids occupied, but it's your job as the parent to protect all of your family's skin with sunscreen. Sometimes, in the mad dash to try and cover everyone up with that protective thick cream, some might smear onto the swimsuits as well as the skin -- and if sunscreen makes it onto your lovely, expensive new bikini, the redness of your cheeks won't be due to sunburn. Pretreat the sunscreen before washing the suit to ensure the annoying spot doesn't become a permanent stain.

Lay the swimsuit flat and pour 1 tablespoon of mild laundry soap directly onto the sunscreen stain, recommends "Real Simple." Work the laundry soap into the stain with your fingers or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Allow the laundry soap to eat away at the stain for five to 10 minutes.

Rinse the soap from the swimsuit with cool water and examine the stain. If the stain persists, combine liquid dish soap with glycerin, which you can purchase at a drug store. Combine 1 tablespoon dish soap and 1/4 teaspoon glycerin in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the stain and work it in with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Rinse out the mixture of glycerin and liquid dish soap with cool water. Create a mixture of 1 gallon lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon mild laundry soap in a plastic basin or clean sink. Lower the swimsuit into the mixture and allow it to soak for 30 minutes.

Swish the swimsuit around in the water to remove any chlorine, dirt or odors from the suit.

Lift the swimsuit from the mixture and rinse it under a lukewarm or cool tap.

Gently squeeze the excess water from the suit and hang it inside or outside to dry.

Items you will need

  • Liquid laundry soap
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Glycerin
  • Small bowl
  • Plastic basin


  • Read the swimwear's label for specific directions to find out if there are particular detergents that must be used or avoided, as well as if machine washing is acceptable.
  • Never place your swimsuit in the dryer, as the heat can damage or warp the elastic and other synthetic fibers.
  • Be sure to choose a mild laundry soap that doesn't contain dyes or perfumes.

About the Author

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images