Does Lotion Stain Clothes and How to Remove It?

does lotion stain clothes

When you are enjoying a bright sunny day picnic in summer and notice orange color stains in your clothing that were not there before, the essence of a relaxing will vanish in seconds. When sunscreen is the only thing you wear as an ointment for the day, you will come up with the question does lotion stain clothes? Let’s clarify your doubt here. 

We never forget to apply sunscreen on burning summer days when we go out. It is the lifesaver we have that protects us from sunburns and harmful UV rays of the sun. Sometimes you may be using an everyday moisturizer if you want your skin to be hydrated, shiny, healthy, or flawless. Facial lotions are widely used types, which come in different brands and ranges to match your skin type. Night face creams are an extended version of this genre which are applied before bed and removed in the morning the next day. 

Does Lotion Stain Clothes?

Lotions are of different types and come under thousands of product lines. As we discussed, face creams are again specialized separately as day and night. Hand and foot creams to overcome the problems of cracking, dryness, protection, etc.

There is also a usage of fragranced lotions with the mere intention of having smelling-good skin. Medical lotions, commonly known as ointments, are used in curing various skin problems. 

When you are applying any kind of the lotion mentioned above categories, does lotion stain clothes is a probable question that will come along. This is a question that must be answered with the composition of the lotion. That means the ingredients included in a lotion are the acting factor that determines whether it could leave marks on your favorite dresses.

Some lotions could cause stains on clothes. This is mainly because of the oils used in manufacturing. A lotion is a mixture of,

  • Emulsifiers like SLS or Sodium Lauryl sulfate, benzalkonium chloride, stearic acid, and behentrimonium methosulphate (used to help the mixing of water and oil)
  • Emollients like zinc oxide, paraffin, butyl stearate, and glycol laurate (for making skin soften)
  • Fragrances made from essential oils, rose water, vanilla extract, almond extract, etc. (for the smell unique to the product)
  • Glycerine (to get moisture to the skin surface)
  • Occlusives like petrolatum, silicon, lanolin, and dimethicone. (reduces water loss of the skin)
  • pH adjusters like citric acid, lactic acid, and triethanolamine (Maintaining the favorable pH value for the skin)
  • Preservatives like formaldehyde, imadozolidinyl urea, glycol ethers, benzoic acid, and anisic acid. (Help in the long-term use by avoiding any microorganisms to spoil the lotion)
  • Solvents such as dipropylene, pluracare and N-propanol, water, animal oils, vegetable oils, alcohols, etc. (Promoting the mixing of the used ingredients)

When we closely check the ingredient lists of a lotion, we can identify it presents different types of oils used in many aspects, like solvents and fragrances. Oils can make stains in clothes; if not treated immediately, they will sometimes last forever. You can use a stain treatment to get rid of the stain.

When in sunscreen, UV filters are responsible for the orange or yellowish stains appearing on clothes after sun exposure. To avoid such accidents, you must take extra care when applying sunscreen in the areas near sleeves, collars, or any other nearby item. Avobenzone or Butyl methoxy dibenzoylmethane is the mostly used UV block in sunscreens. 

Emollients in lotions are also a cause of staining your clothes.

How to Remove Stains in the Clothes Caused by Avobenzone?

  • The stain’s quantity and nature decide whether it needs to be soaked in an enzyme-breaking solution or not. Harder marks will need to be soaked in about 12 hours, and a stain treatment would do enough for the light stains.
  • Wash it with warm water. But beware not to exceed the highest temperature the fabric can bear without being subjected to any change.
  • If the stain appears further, you can follow the same steps once again.
  • Most importantly, do not dry the dress with a dryer as the heating will make the mark stay long.

How to Remove Lotion Stains in Clothes?

What if your favorite dress has been ruined with a lotion stain? Don’t worry; there are methods to get rid of that trouble. You can directly go for a dry-cleaning service provider or else do the removal using a DIY project as follows. 

  • If you have accidentally dropped some lotion you use into a dress, then take a small knife and remove the possible amount from the surface. Beware that you do not make the case worsen by spreading the cream drop.
  • Then use a stain remover or a heavy-duty detergent powder with a little bit of water and cover the stain with it. Let the cleaning agent rest on the stains for about 15 minutes. The enzymes in those agents will break the bonds of oil in the lotion stains.
  • Rub with a soft brush. Start from the outer line and gradually continue to the center while scrubbing.
  • Then use hot water and rinse the dress. As we mentioned earlier too, do not use hot water exceeding the recommended temperature for the fabric of the dress.
  • You can dry the dress in your dryer when the stain is gone.
  • For more dark stains, use a bleaching powder containing oxygen and cool water after rinsing it with hot water. You must take only the recommended concentration in bleach and water solution.
  • After one round of bleaching, check whether the stain is removed or not. If it still remains a little, then do the same process again. 

Note: Do not delay taking necessary measures to clean a lotion stain because the more time it takes for the cleaning will make the stain more attached to the fabric. Thus, it will be hard to remove.


Applying a lotion to overcome skin problems and maintain a healthy skin tone is essential. But sometimes, by chance, you will drop a bit from your lotion to your clothing.

In this article, we have discussed the responsible substances for making a stain, the agents we can use to remove it together with the methods to perform the stain removal.

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