How To Remove Fake Tan Stain From Washable Fabrics

February 14, 2023

Fake tanning products can be a great way to achieve a sun-kissed glow without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays. However, these products can also leave behind stubborn stains on your clothes or other washable fabrics. If you've ever found yourself struggling to remove a fake tan stain from your favorite shirt or bed sheets, you're not alone. In this article, we'll share with you some tried-and-true methods for getting rid of fake tan stains and restoring your fabrics to their original state. Whether you're dealing with a fresh stain or one that's been set in for a while, we've got you covered.


Orange to Brown


These stains may appear as an orange or brownish mark on the fabric, and could be slightly sticky or dry. They may also have a strong smell.


Cold (65° to 75°F)


Cold water helps to prevent the dye from setting and spreading.

The Science Behind Fake Tan Stains

Fake tan stains clothes because of a chemical reaction between the ingredients in the self-tanning product and the fibers in the fabric. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active ingredient in most self-tanners, reacts with amino acids in the skin to produce a brown pigment that gives the appearance of a natural tan. However, DHA can also react with the proteins in clothing, resulting in a yellow or brown stain that is difficult to remove. This process is accelerated when the tanning product is not fully dry before coming into contact with clothing, so it's important to wait several minutes before getting dressed after applying self-tanner.

What You'll Need To Get Rid Of Fake Tan Stains

  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Stain remover

Step By Step Process To Remove Fake Tan Stains

  1. Blot the stain with a clean, damp cloth to remove any excess tanning product.
  2. Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a bowl, and apply the solution to the stain using a clean cloth. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse the fabric with warm water.
  3. Apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain, and work it into the fabric with your fingers. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse the fabric with warm water.
  4. If the stain remains, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a bowl, and apply the solution to the stain using a clean cloth. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse the fabric with warm water.
  5. If the stain still won't come out, apply a stain remover to the fabric according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  6. Wash the garment in the washing machine using the warmest water temperature that is safe for the fabric. Check the care label on the garment for specific washing instructions.
  7. Hang the garment to air dry, and check for any remaining stain before putting it in the dryer. Drying the garment in a dryer can set the stain permanently.
Please note that some fabrics may require special care, and that using too hot of water can damage or shrink some fabrics. It's also important to work carefully and patiently to avoid spreading the stain or causing damage to the fabric.

In Brief

Fake tan stains clothes due to a chemical reaction between dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and the proteins in clothing. To remove the stain from washable fabrics, you can use white vinegar, warm water, liquid laundry detergent, hydrogen peroxide, and a stain remover. Wash the garment in the warmest water temperature that is safe for the fabric, and air dry it to avoid setting the stain permanently. Test any product on a small, inconspicuous area before using. Be patient and follow the care label on the garment.

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