The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Removing Sunscreen


Boy swimwear woodfloorSummer’s here, and with it, the increased awareness of, and need for, sunscreen. We need the protection, but our tile floors? Not so much. Fortunately, there are easy ways to clean up when we accidentally slather and spray SPF on surfaces other than our skin.


While that’s definitely good news for you and your kids, it sounds like the family wardrobe didn’t make out as well. But don’t fear; most commercially available bug sprays and sunscreens do wash out relatively easily. First, pretreat the stains with a prewash stain remover, then launder, using the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric. Check to make sure the stains are gone before you put the garment in the dryer, as heat could set stains that haven’t washed out. Most stains should be gone at this point, but if any do remain, you could just accept the fact that summer is all about getting dirty, and instead focus on the sunshine and your kids (who will grow out of those stained clothes before you know it).

Tile Floor

Spray-on sunscreen can stain your floor and make it slippery. Get it up quick! Here’s how:

  1. Fill bucket with warm or hot water
  2. Add a small amount of soap or detergent
  3. Mix in a small amount of ammonia (which will cut through the water-proof barrier of sunscreen)
  4. Dip a sponge or soft cloth into bucket, squeeze, and gently scrub the affected area
  5. Repeat until all sunscreen is removed
  6. Rinse area thoroughly with clean water and cloth
  7. Dry

Wood Floor

While sun streaming through windows can damage wood floors over time, they certainly don’t benefit from sun creams, lotions and sprays. Remove it by:

  1. Wipe up as much of the spill as possible with a dry cloth
  2. Soak another cloth with water and continue to wipe the area
  3. Spray the area with a cleanser that has a degreasing component
  4. Lightly scrub the stain with a clean cloth to remove residual grease
  5. Rinse the area with water and repeat as necessary

Leather Furniture

What’s worse than chasing after and wrestling a wriggly toddler to apply sunscreen? When the now-greasy toddler sits on the leather sofa. Keep calm and follow these tips:

  1. Blot sunscreen with paper towels to remove as much as possible
  2. Mix a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water
  3. Swish it around to get the mixture sudsy
  4. Use a sponge and apply only the foam to the leather surface
  5. Wipe dry with a clean cloth
  6. Follow up with a leather conditioner

Now that you’ve cleaned up, here are some tips so that you don’t have to go through this again on the next sunny day!

  1. Find a better place to apply sunscreen in the first place – like outside or on a porch
  2. Dry off before you sit on any furniture