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How to remove sunscreen from car interior seats

Wearing sunscreen to protect against sun damage is always a good idea, but if it gets on the seat of your car, you make think otherwise. Spilled or smeared sunscreen can be a frustrating problem if you don’t know how to deal with it properly. Here’s what you should know about how to remove sunscreen from a car interior without making things worse.

Why it’s challenging to remove sunscreen from a car interior

Sunscreen is oily, so it can be difficult for plain water to break it down. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the ingredients in mineral sunscreens, are white powders, which can lead to white residue that’s hard to remove from surfaces. And many chemical sunscreens contain avobenzone, which absorbs ultraviolet light and reacts poorly with the iron found in hard water. When hard water and avobenzone come into contact, the avobenzone reacts by leaving a rust- or dark orange-colored stain behind.

So, how do you remove sunscreen from your car’s interior fabric without ruining your seats in the process? Follow these instructions carefully the next time you end up with sunscreen on your seats.

How to remove sunscreen from a car interior

To keep your car interior looking clean and grease-free, here are two effective methods for cleaning up sunscreen:

Degreaser method

A degreaser is arguably the most effective product for lifting sunscreen stains from the interior of your car. Make sure you use a degreaser that’s specifically designed for car interiors. If using a stronger degreaser, always dilute it beforehand according to the instructions. Wet the sunscreen stain with the degreaser, but don’t drench the area or you could damage the car’s interior materials.

Once you apply the degreaser, gently scrub it into the stained area and remove it immediately if you’re working with a leather interior. If you have a fabric interior, you can allow the degreaser to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing the spot and wiping it clean. Always follow the instructions on the package and test the product in a small area first.

White vinegar method

One of the best ways to remove sunscreen from car interior seats or carpets is to put some white vinegar into a spray bottle, then spray it directly on the stain. Use a moderate amount to thoroughly wet the material.

If your interior is leather, wipe away the vinegar right away with a microfiber cloth. If it’s not leather, let the vinegar sit on the spot for a few minutes before gently scrubbing it into the stain and wiping it away with a clean cloth. Repeat the steps above until all traces of the stain are removed.

Avoid needing to remove sunscreen from a car interior

If you want to avoid having to remove sunscreen from a car interior, sign up for our newsletter at Clair Obscur to learn about our innovative sun protection products that minimize mess.