If you want to get an attractive sun-kissed look, you’re going to need to sunbathe. Unfortunately, many people think it’s as simple as soaking in the sun without any preparation. That’s a great way to get sunburned, accelerate your aging, and possibly get skin cancer. You need to use tanning oil to moisturize your skin and protect it from damaging UV radiation, but this product has a nasty side effect of staining your bathing suit.
Tanning oils are a necessary evil in this case, so the solution is not to stop using them. On top of that, you might even use bronzers to help deepen a natural tan that is fading, and bronzers can also easily stain bathing suits. A major point of going to the beach is to look sexy with your swimsuit, not in spite of it, so a stained swimsuit is a big no-no. We must learn how to clean up any stains caused by tanning oils and bronzer so that they are pristine again.
As soon as your swimsuit comes into contact with tanning oil, you must treat it immediately before the stain sets in. Once that happens, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove the stain. For tanning oil, carefully remove any globules that are on your swimsuit with a dull edge, and then put some sand on it to absorb the oil. Then, pre-treat it with a mild detergent, before putting it through your usual wash cycle. If you’re quick, you can get the tanning oil out before it has a chance to set in, and no one will be the wiser!
Keep reading on, and we will go over each step of this process in more detail so that you can safely sunbathe with tanning oil without ruining your bathing suit each time.
Pre-treat the stain
Before we get into the top methods to remove tanning oil, some preparation needs to be done first. As soon as you’ve stained your bathing suit, you should take immediate action if you don’t want it to stain, even if it doesn’t seem like it has left a stain. Stains can sometimes have a delayed appearance, so if you’re positive some oil has gotten on your swimsuit, begin treating it right away.
If you’ve made a huge blunder and got a large globule of oil on your swimsuit, take a dull edge such as a credit card and carefully remove the oil while trying not to spread it. A common mistake people make is to get a towel and try to wipe the oil off, but they just end up smearing it to more areas.
After you’ve removed as much oil/lotion as you can, next sprinkle some sand on the affected areas (there should be no shortage of that around you). Let the sand sit for 10-15 minutes so that it can absorb the oil. Do not bury your bathing suit under the sand, as the temperature can get really hot and you might even forget where you buried it.
Finally, apply a small amount of mild detergent on the stained areas. You can choose which one you like from the list below, but a simple and effective option is simply to apply dish soap or hand soap. Let the detergent sit for 15-30 minutes to work its way deep into the fabric. Now you are ready to launder as usual.
Following this advice can potentially prevent your bathing suits from staining in the first place even if you got some tanning oil on it. That said, it’s not foolproof and you may need to do a bit more afterwards.
Best cleaning agents to remove tanning oil stains
We use dish soap to remove oils from our dishes, and we can also use it to remove tanning oil from bathing suits before they set in. Everybody has dish soap at home, so you don’t even need to go out and purchase a new product. Furthermore, dish soap is fairly mild and should not weaken nor discolor the fabric, unlike some laundry detergents or spot removers.
Distilled white vinegar
White vinegar is yet another product you likely already have at home, and it is safe to use on bathing suits because it is a natural product. White vinegar is effective at removing stains and also any odors from swimsuits. Contrary to popular belief, it will not leave a sour vinegar smell; in fact, it will leave either no smell (after getting rid of the existing odor), or enhance the smell of a detergent if used with one.
Swimsuit detergents are formulated specifically so that they are safe to use on all swimsuits without deteriorating the material or causing color run-off. They are essentially milder laundry detergents and are often made with all natural ingredients. There are many to choose from, and they should all be similarly effective.
Unlike the other detergents mentioned, you may not have any swimsuit detergents at home already, so it can be an extra expense for most. That said, it’s well worth the money if you notice that dish soap and white vinegar are proving ineffective for tougher stains.
How to get rid of tough tanning oil stains
If you are having trouble getting rid of a stubborn stain, then in addition to pre-treating it, you might also need to soak your swimsuit in a detergent of your choice. It’s likely that you just need more time for the detergent to penetrate deep into the fabric and wash out the stains.
To soak your bathing suit, first fill a sink or basin with warm water (hot water will make the stain set in). Then add some detergent; the amount varies depending on which detergent. For dish soap, you just need a handful of drops. For white vinegar, you might need as much as an entire cup. Mix the water and detergent thoroughly until they’ve mixed together.
Then let your bathing suit soak in this cleaning solution for 15-30 minutes. Let it soak even longer than that if you can clearly see that the stain hasn’t been fully removed. Consider giving the stained areas a good scrub to see if the removal process is working. If so, then you should successfully be able to scrub off the stain if it hasn’t been removed already.
If you aren’t a fan of handwashing, then you can just put the swimsuit in a laundry wash bag and let the washing machine handle the cleaning. Make sure you set the machine to use cold water and a gentle wash cycle.
Following these steps should remove most stains from your bathing suit, not just tanning oil stains. If it doesn’t work, repeat the soaking process until it does. If it still doesn’t work, then you might have to resort to more drastic measures like using spot remover or bleach, but the chemicals contained in these products can discolor or damage your swimsuit. At that point, though, you don’t really have a choice, so it’s either risk damaging your swimsuit or buy a new pair entirely.
In my experience, I have always managed to prevent my swimsuit from getting stained because I am quick to treat my swimsuit if I suspect I have gotten tanning oil on it. Just make sure not to make the obvious mistakes like spreading the oil around while wiping it up or using hot water to rinse, and the rest is basically just the same steps you’d normally do to clean your swimsuit.
Armed with these tips, you don’t have to worry so much about staining your bathing suit with tanning oil the next time you go sunbathing because you know exactly how to deal with it.