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How To Get Fake Tan Out Of Clothes

by | Mar 17, 2023 | Cleaning Tips

Spray tan, self-tanning lotion, self-tanner – whatever you use, the purpose is to make yourself look sun-kissed and glowing.

The compounds in self-tanner “stain” your skin to make it appear darker, as if you’ve spent time out in the sun without the risk of sunburn or skin cancer. Unfortunately, sometimes it stains your clothing, too.

Now – does fake tan come out of clothes? Fortunately, yes!

How to get fake tan out of clothes? Start by flushing the stain with cold water. Treat the stained area with a mixture of dish soap and warm water, then rinse. Immediately wash the garment with heavy-duty detergent containing enzyme cleaner. You can also soak the garment in colour-safe, oxygen-based bleach mixed with cool water beforehand.

If your fake tan gets onto your clothes, don’t panic! Just act fast so it won’t become permanent.

Learn how to get fake tan off clothes – and next time, wait for it to dry before getting dressed!


Before Trying to Remove Fake Tan Stains

woman checking the care label on clothes

Always check the care label of any garment before cleaning. Some fabrics are dry-clean only, which means you’ll need to get your clothes to a professional.

Tackle spray tan stains as quickly as you can – the longer the stain sits, the harder it’ll be to remove. This applies whether you’ve accidentally stained clothes, carpet, or a toilet seat.

Do not try to heat the garment if the stain remains in any way. This will cause the fake tan stain to set and become permanent.


How to Get Fake Tan Out of Clothes

Self-tanner is a combination of oil with added dye. You’ll need to remove the oily component first, then tackle the fake tan stains.

To remove fake tan stains from clothes, you’ll need:

  • Alcohol wipes
  • Spoon or dull knife
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Heavy-duty detergent with enzymatic stain remover


If necessary, you can also prepare oxygen-based bleach – but make sure it’s colour-safe.

If you used self-tanning lotion, start by removing any globs on the fabric using a spoon or dull knife. You can wipe the residue on paper towels. If you used a spray tan, you can skip this step.

Take the alcohol wipes or baby wipes and gently blot the affected area. This should remove some of the stain and prevent spreading, so long as it’s fresh. Don’t rub the stain – that’ll just push the self-tanner deeper into the fibres and make it harder to remove.

Run the stain under cold water, holding the fabric the wrong side up. The running water will push the fake tan substance out of the fabric.

Make a cleaning solution from dish detergent and warm water, and use a sponge to dab it onto the stain. Work from the outer edges inward until the stain fades. Rinse well afterwards.

You can then put the garment on a warm cycle in a washing machine. Ideally, use a heavy detergent with stain-removing enzymes.

If this does not lift the stain, you can mix some oxygen bleach and cool water. Follow the correct instructions to dilute the mixture. If you’re unsure if the bleach will damage your garment, test it on a small area first.

Soak the affected area completely for at least 8 hours, then wash the clothing as usual.


open door of the washing machine with dirty laundry


How to Remove Fake Tan from White Clothes

For white clothing, you can go straight to soaking the garment in oxygen bleach and water. Keep the clothing submerged for about 8 hours, then wash with regular detergent in the washing machine.


Other Tips to Remove Fake Tan Stains

If the clothing is light-coloured, you can try using 3% hydrogen peroxide. Test the peroxide on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric.

Dip a cotton swab in the hydrogen peroxide and gently dab at the self-tanner stain until it lifts. Rinse with cold water afterwards.

Alternatively, you can use vegetable glycerin to break down the stain. Carefully rub some glycerin into the stained area, then clean with either dish soap or peroxide.

If you need a quick solution when you’re out, dab the stain with club soda. Wash immediately when you get home.


Tan-tastic Laundry Tips

Don’t toss the stained garment into the dryer right away – the heat could set the self-tanning stain and make it permanent. If you can air dry the clothing, that’ll work better.

Make sure you regularly clean your washer (or have a professional cleaning service tackle that for you). This will make sure there isn’t any dirt or grime that’ll stain and damage the clothes you wash.

If you regularly use Bondi Sands or any other self-tanner, then it’s essential to know how to get fake tan out of clothes. This way, you can treat the stain ASAP and you won’t ruin your favourite shirt forever.

About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.


About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.