Unfortunately, the various components found in most sunscreens and suntan lotions can cause stains in fabrics. Most of these skin care products contain oils to make them moisture-resistant. They may also contain dyes to give them a certain color or to allow the skin to darken. Initially, stains caused by these products may be invisible, but age and/or the heat of cleaning may cause them to become more apparent.
The oil component of skin care preparations may not be easily removed in normal washing or drycleaning procedures and may require the use of dryside stain removal agents, such as volatile dry solvent and oily-type paint remover. The dye or coloring matter may be water-soluble and may be removed with tannin or protein stain removal agents.
These types of stains may be prevented by following the instructions provided by the maker of the product. Consumers should be reminded to allow the preparation to dry before it contacts a garment and to wash their hands before handling garments to avoid possible staining. However, it is important to note that despite these precautions, some residue may still transfer to clothing through perspiration.
Q: After cleaning, a garment exhibited a series of brownish stains. What caused these stains, and can they be removed?
A: One source of these stains is sunscreens and suntan lotions. As more people use these products to protect their skin from the hot, summer sun, you may find a greater number of garments with these types of stains coming into your plant.
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