You’ve been there before… After months of anticipation waiting for your warm getaway vacation, you rocked that new swimsuit and looked GREAT out by the pool. But then you arrived back home, APPALLED to discover the rust orange bronzer stain BURSTING out in stark contrast to your aqua blue bottoms.

Don’t worry though, the bottoms can be saved!

Using a self-tanner can be an easy way to boost your confidence before showing some skin and is a much safer option than UV tanning beds or prolonged exposure to the sun. Whether you use a tanning lotion, wipe-on cloth, or spray-on before your next vacation or trip to the beach, knowing how to remove self-tanning solutions from your clothes without damaging them is the key to a worry-free wash cycle when you return.

How does self-tanner work?

According to the Mayo Clinic, when you apply self-tanner to your body, DHA (a natural chemical) works by reacting with dead skin cells on the surface of your body, temporarily darkening those dead cells to mimic a bronzy glow. Because the self-tanner product reacts with dead skin, it makes sense that the effect is only temporary and is prone to wiping off or fading over time.

Search and submerge

If you find yourself using self-tanning solutions this summer, the first step toward keeping your clothes clean and pristine is being aware. When sorting your laundry into piles of lights and darks, take a close look at your clothes to identify any possible stains. The key to removing self-tanner stains is removing them as soon as possible—the longer they sit, the less likely they are to be treatable.

With the right tools and techniques, self-tanner stains can be easily removed. The first step is to run cold water onto the opposite side of the garment where the stain is. This will push the stain out of the clothing rather than deeper into the fabric and will make it easier to scrub out in the following steps.

Sponge the stain

Self-tanners are typically oil-based products with added dye. To remove the stain entirely, both components must be addressed and treated separately. Once the garment has been run under cold water, the next step is to create a cleaning solution with dish soap and warm waterDip one end of the sponge in the solution and gently blot the stain from the outside edges of the stain toward the center to avoid spreading the stain. This process will help remove the oily base of the tanner.

Once more, rinse the stain with cold water, then toss the garment in the washer using the same settings you normally would. This will help remove the tan-colored dye now that the oily base has been removed.

Repeat until removed, THEN dry

If the garment is still holding onto the stain after going through the washer, try repeating the above steps once more.

One of the most important rules when trying to treat a stain is to do everything in your power to remove it BEFORE putting it in the dryer. The intense heat of the dryer will set the stain into the clothes, making it nearly impossible to remove!

As a last-ditch effort to remove the stain, soak the clothing overnight in a mixture of oxygen-based bleach and cold water. Some laundry experts have also suggested applying 100 percent vegetable glycerine directly to the spot before washing again.

Be sure to explore all of our resources on the Speed Queen website to discover more washing tips, best practices, and to learn about all of the capabilities of your Speed Queen equipment.