Does Spray Tan Come Out of Clothes? (And How to Wash it Off)

More and more people are turning to sunless tanning options as the risks associated with over-exposure to UV rays become more understood. Stained clothing, however, can be an unfortunate side effect of spray tans. Knowing how to properly remove these stains is therefore essential if you plan on using sunless tanner regularly.

So, does spray tan come out of clothes? Well, yes, the good news is, if you know how to properly remove a stain, it is possible to wash it out. Acting quickly is vital and following the correct procedure of a cold-water flush, followed by detergent or stain remover is key.

For more information and how to get the spray tan out of clothes quickly keep reading below.

Does Spray Tan Come Out of Clothes?

If color transfers from your skin onto your clothes, the particles of color will start to lock into the fabric, causing a permanent stain. If you get to it quickly enough, however, it is possible to stop the color locking in, and rescue the clothing.

But before we talk about getting the stains out, let’s look at how the stains get there in the first place!

Does spray tan stain clothes? The short answer is yes – cosmetic layers of color in spray tan can transfer onto clothes, towels, and bedsheets. The stains won’t be visible on darker clothing, but on whites and lights, brown and orange streaks could certainly ruin an outfit.

Most self-tanners that technicians use in salons are made up of two components – dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and a cosmetic layer of color sometimes called bronzer. DHA reacts with amino acids in your skin to produce color, taking hours to develop. The cosmetic layer is just there so you see color instantly and can be washed off a few hours after your spray tan.

The long-lasting DHA component generally will not rub off onto clothing. The cosmetic layer of color, however, could stain the clothes you wear before a shower.

To avoid this, it is recommended that you wear dark, baggy clothing immediately after a spray tan. On an old, loose, black t-shirt, some tan rubbing off on the inside won’t cause any noticeable staining. A skin-tight white dress, t-shirt, or pair of jeans, on the other hand, could see some serious damage. For more on what to wear check here – what to wear to a spray tan.

How to Remove Spray Tan Stains from Clothing

If wearing loose-fitting, dark clothes after your spray tan is not an option, or if you are tanning at home and have stained some clothes, towels, or bedding, you probably want to know, does spray tan wash off clothes? And the answer is yes, it is possible! Here are my top tips for removing the stains.

Act Quickly

The sooner you address and try to remove the stain, the better chance you will have of it coming out. When color seeps into clothing, it takes some time to intertwine with the fabric and form long-lasting chemical bonds that are irremovable stains.

As soon as you notice the stain, then, and if possible, as soon as color transfer or spillage occurs, is the time to act.

Flush with Cold Water

Working from the reverse side of the fabric that the stain is on, use cold water to flush out as much of the color as possible. Hot water can speed up the setting process, making the stain more likely to stick.

The cold water will cause the particles of the color to separate and run out of the fabric.

Sparkling water has also been recommended for this process, as the addition of carbon dioxide can speed up the breakdown of color particles. If you don’t have sparkling water, however, water from the cold tap should also be effective.

Dab the Stain with Soapy Water

Mix either laundry detergent or dish soap with water and use your finger to rub it onto the stained area. Then use a sponge to remove it. The chemicals in the detergent will help to further break down the more stubborn stains.

This process can be repeated as many times as necessary. Just keep rinsing and repeating until you start to see some progress.

As an alternative to soapy water, at this stage you could also you a specialized stain-remover.

We Recommend: Vanish Stain Remover Bar

These products are specially designed to target stains. If you don’t already have some at home, using soapy water immediately is a better option than waiting until you buy a stain remover. Time is precious when it comes to stains.

Run the Item(s) Through a Normal Laundry

Once you have removed as much of the stain as you can with cold water, and then soapy water or a stain remover, put the stained clothing or sheets into the washing machine and run on the cycle recommended on the clothes.

Always check the labels of your clothes to see what temperature is recommended when using the washing machine, to avoid damaging the articles in question.

It is generally best to choose lower temperatures, to avoid the heat causing the stain to set. For this same reason, the stained items should not be tumble-dried or dried in the sun until the stain is fully removed.

You might have to run the clothing, towels, or bedsheets through the washing machine a couple of times to see perfect results.

Related Questions

Is it OK to Wear Jeans the Day After a Spray Tan?

Whilst it is recommended to wear dark, loose-fitting clothing immediately after a spray tan and before you have washed off the cosmetic layer of color, by the next day and after a shower, jeans should be fine.

Can I Sit After a Spray Tan?

Ideally, you should avoid sitting down if possible before you have showered off the cosmetic layer of color (a few hours after your spray tan).

Sitting will create pressure and rubbing between the fabric and the color, and so staining is more likely to occur.

Of course, standing for the entire time while you wait to shower off the cosmetic layer might be difficult, so wear loose-fitting, dark clothing, so staining will be less prominent.

Does Spray Tan Come Off White Clothes?

Whilst white clothes, towels or bedding are the most vulnerable to spray tan stains, it is possible to remove them if you follow the steps above.

The sooner you work to tackle the stain, the more likely it is to come out. White fabric might require a few more rounds of each step than other colors but be persistent and you will have a good chance of removing the stain.

Scroll to Top