How To Get Self-Tanner Stains Out Of Your Clothing

Many of us turn to self-tanner to keep that summer, sun-kissed skin going a little longer into the fall and winter. It's a great alternative to tanning beds, but with self-tanner comes some challenges. Since self-tanner is used to literally stain our skin, it can be difficult to keep it off things we don't want to stain with tan, like our sheets, our furniture, and our delicate silk clothing. A self-tanner stain is considered a combination stain because it contains both oil and dye, making it challenging to remove completely (via You Beauty).


If you've lost a shirt or pair of pants to a self-tanner stain, you understand the struggle. According to MineTan Body Skin, it takes a more aggressive approach to get a stain of this caliber out of your garments because of the oil component. However, there are many tricks you can use to combat a self-tanner stain that will keep your closet full of your favorite items and your skin bronzed and beautiful. 

Removing new stains

The easiest self-tanner stain to tackle is one that just occurred. If you just spilled self-tanner or you have a fresh stain from the garment touching your skin, it's best to target it quickly (via Cleanipedia). Take care not to scrub it. Doing so will only make the stain set in more intensely. Make sure to not put the stained fabric in the dryer because the heat will bake the stain into the fibers and your garment will likely never be stain-free.


Experts all recommend pre-treating the stain. As soon as you notice the stain on the fabric, brush away any debris that may be near it, and blot the stain with a baby wipe. If you don't have a baby wipe, simply begin flushing out the stain with cold water by putting it directly under the faucet, per You Beauty. For an added boost, Beauticate recommends applying a liquid detergent to the fabric and rubbing it lightly over the area. Once the stain has been pre-treated, immediately wash in the washing machine with a strong detergent. If the garment is white, add some bleach to the washing machine. Following these steps will make it so the stain should come out with ease.

How to deal with set-in stains

If the stain occurred some time before you noticed it, it may be harder to remove, but not necessarily impossible. Using an oxygenated bleach will be the best approach when attempting to remove a set-in stain. You Beauty advises dissolving a scoop "in a gallon or so of hot water" before submerging "the item in that solution." Soak the fabric in this solution for eight hours or more. Dishwasher detergent is also a helpful tool because of its ability to dissolve grease. Once it has soaked for many hours, wash the fabric in the hottest temperature the fabric will allow (via Good Housekeeping).


These approaches work well to remove stains. However, the best way to defend your clothing against self-tanner stains is to not get them at all. Wipe surfaces you may have touched with the tanner, be careful of clear tanners that will bronze with time, and give yourself enough time to let the tan set in on your skin before putting on clothing you love. Following these steps will help you have a beautiful glow and blemish-free clothing.