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Laundry How To, Stain Removal

Foolproof Guide: How To Get Fake Tan Out Of Clothes

So, you used a bit of spray tan or lotion to get that golden glow and now you find you’ve stained your clothes.  Don’t panic; you’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last to make this mistake! With my pale skin, I know it all too well. 

Of course, this leaves you with one burning question: How to get fake tan out of clothes?

Many of us end up in such a rush getting ready for a night on the town, that we throw our clothes on before the tan’s had time to dry. So we end up with some lovely self-tanner stains on our favorite white clothes. 

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix.

First of all, don’t panic and definitely don’t try to rub the stain out. This will only make it worse and spread the spray tan or lotion further into the fabric fibers.

Follow our guide below for the best results in getting these stubborn stains out of your clothes.

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Fake Tan: What’s It All About

Instead of sitting under the sun, people have been using sprays, drops, water, mousse, and self-tanning lotion. For many, it’s a safe, effortless way to get the sun-kissed look without wasting time or dealing with harmful UV rays.

However, the downside of using self-tanning products is that it can stain your clothes. If you don’t wait long enough for the tan to dry, you can easily mess it up and get fake tan stains on your clothes. Also, if you tend to sweat, you’ll find that the tan can be transferred to your white clothes, white sheets, towels and even your toilet seat! 

How To Get Fake Tan Out of Clothes

Fortunately, getting fake tan out of clothes isn’t that hard; all you have to do is follow the steps below:

1. Act Quick

If you’re just applying the fake tanner and somehow get your clothes on accident, you need to act fast. Timing is your best friend in this situation, so you have to be quick and act fast.

Fresh stains are typically easier to remove than old ones because the clothes haven’t absorbed the product yet. 

Hence, the longer you delay, the harder it’ll be to get out. So, as soon as you notice the stain, start the removal process or keep the affected area damp until you can attend to it.

Hands holding a care label on clothing
Image by Africa Images

2. Check the Care Label

There’s one trick to this whole process, and that’s the type of clothing item that the fake tan damaged. Different fabrics have different care requirements, and if you don’t know them, you might cause more damage. 

That’s why you’ve got to check the label before you make any solutions or jump in with the cold water. 

Look for specific instructions or warnings about the type of cleaning agents or methods this clothing article needs. 

For instance, many standard stain removers can easily damage a delicate fabric like silk. If your particular item of clothing says that it can only be dry cleaned, it’s off to the dry cleaners for it! 

3. Don’t Rub!

What’s the first thing you do when you spot a stain? Try to rub it out. Well, don’t! Rubbing a stain can only help push the product further into the fabric, especially if it’s a fresh blot.

Rubbing can also spread the stain, making it much larger than it should be. Instead of rubbing, gently dap at the stain using a wet cloth or baby wipes. 

4. Rinse with Cold Water

Once you have the primary source of the stain taken care of, it’s time to lift out what seeped into the fabric.

This step is relatively simple, as all you have to do is turn the garment inside out to avoid the tan going deeper and hold the stained part under cool water.

Again, don’t rub, wring, or twist the material. Let the cold water flow through the threads, pushing the stubborn stain out.

Blue basin with clothes soaking inside
Image by Kim Tatiana

5. Soak in Stain Remover Solution

The previous steps may help mitigate the problem enough to place the clothes in a regular wash afterward.

However, for some, the stain could be old or too deep, in which case you need to create one of the following solutions:

  • Mix two tablespoons of lemon juice with one cup of hot water.
  • Combine 4–6 tablespoons of baking soda with ½ cup warm water.
  • Mix equal parts water and white vinegar.
  • Add one part dish detergent to two parts hydrogen peroxide and mix well in a spray bottle.

Before you use any of the treatments above, make sure you’ve read the clothing label and understand what your clothes can handle. Also, start by spraying just a small area before aiming for the entire stain and letting it soak through.

Finally, let the warm solution of water soak into your clothes overnight to ensure maximum effectiveness.

6. Wash Gently 

Place the garment in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with cold water the next day. Of course, don’t forget to add your detergent and softener.

If the damaged article is delicate or isn’t machine wash-friendly, then you’ll need to hand wash it. Simply fill your sink with cold water and gently agitate the water to create suds. 

Don’t rub the garment; swish it around the water and submerge it with the detergent until clean. Once done, rinse it thoroughly with cold water and repeat if necessary.

7. Inspect the Stain

Inspect the garments once the washing is complete, especially where the stain is. If you still see it or feel its ghost lingering, you should avoid drying the garment at all costs. 

The heat from the dryer can make the stain set in further. Instead, you should repeat the above process, minus the first three steps, until you’re sure there’s nothing left.


How to get fake tan out of clothes pin

Quick Recap

As you can see, if your fake tan has left pesky stains on your white clothing, it’s pretty simple to  get rid of them. 

The first step is to act immediately. Whether the stain just happened or was transferred during your sleep, it’s best to tackle it as soon as you notice it. 

Start with something light, like baby wipes, a moist paper towel or a damp cloth to moisten the spot. As you do so, look at the label to see how you’ll proceed.

Once you determine the best course of action, create the mixture you need and apply it gently to the stained area. Leave the cleaning solution overnight, rinse, repeat, and good luck!

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