Tanner stain: How to get fake tan out of clothes

Foundation and fake tan can damage your clothes, so here’s how to get makeup out of clothes.

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Tanner stain: How to get fake tan out of clothes

For those of us with paler hues, using fake tan can be a safe way to look like we’ve caught a bit of colour without being exposed to harmful rays. With a good fake tan or even some well-coloured foundation, it’s easy to look a few shades bronzer. The only downside when it comes to these products is the potential for making a mess.

Fake tan or foundation on clothes is no fun at all. It’s easy to smear onto a collar or sleeve without noticing and ruin your favourite white shirt. If this happens to you, here’s some advice on how to deal with fake tan stains and how to get the foundation out of clothes, including some special measures to take for white garments and delicates.

A good-quality detergent like OMO can help get rid of even stubborn stains.

Why does spray tan stain clothes?

Fake tan of all varieties contains a particular substance called dihydroxyacetone. This may also be found in foundations that have a gradual tanning function. It’s a colour additive that darkens your skin gradually over a few days. It’s also what can create nasty stains if it gets onto clothes, as once it’s sunk into the fabric it will keep getting darker. However, that doesn’t mean that a single stain is going to be there forever. The key is to deal with it as soon as it happens. Here’s exactly what you need to do.

Fake tan stains on clothes: a step-by-step guide to eradicating stains

Now that you know the risk, here’s how to get makeup out of clothes.

  • Step 1: as soon as you notice the stain, run the fabric under cold water. Ideally, do this from the back; this is more efficient in terms of removing the particles. If you have sparkling water around the house, that can also be quite good at getting out the stain as the bubbles give it extra stain-removing oomph.
  • Step 2: now put some good-quality laundry detergent like OMO directly onto the stain, mixed with a bit of water. If you don’t have any laundry detergent to hand you could also using washing-up liquid, but detergent is much better. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can push the colour particles further into the fibres.
  • Step 3: once you’ve treated the stain directly, put the item in for a regular wash in your machine. Again it’s important here to use an effective detergent, preferably a biological one if it’s suitable for the material. Put the item on the cycle you would normally use, then remove it.
  • Step 4: the item needs to be dried after this. However, when it comes to the makeup-on-clothes type of stain it’s important not to dry it anywhere that extra heat will be added. So no tumble drying or laying it out in the sun. Hang the item indoors, away from direct sunlight, and leave until it’s completely dry.

How to get fake tan out of clothes made of delicate fabrics

The above steps will suit most items when you’re dealing with makeup on clothes. If your garment is a little fragile, however, you want to be extra careful. It may be better to hand the item over to a professional dry cleaner or at minimum do a patch test on an inconspicuous area of the fabric to prevent any unintended consequences.

How to get fake tan off clothes in lighter colours

If you’ve got a stain on a white item of clothing it can be particularly difficult to get it looking clean again. One option for cleaning white clothes is to use oxygen-activated bleach. This is powerful stuff that is likely to get stains out effectively, but it does so by removing all pigmentation, so be sure not to use it on coloured items or it’ll just replace one stain with another.

We all get stuff on our clothes now and then, and unfortunately, the stain can be a tricky one when it comes to fake tan and foundation. Follow these simple steps as soon as the stain occurs, however, and you have a good chance of getting it out completely.

  • Rinse immediately with cold water.
  • Pre-treat with a good-quality detergent.
  • Put the item in your normal wash.
  • Dry naturally away from direct heat or sunlight. 
  • Originally published