remove sunscreen from leather

3 Effective Ways to Remove Sunscreen From Leather

Spending a summer trip with your family is a pleasant time for every car driver, but after every member of your family had a picturesque trip, you are the one as a car owner needs to deal with cleaning it. It’s not bad, as it is a regular routine for every car owner.

However, summertime means a lot of sunlight, and people are trying to avoid getting sunburned using sunscreens. But have you ever wondered what can happen if somebody accidentally spread sunscreen on your car’s leather seats? If you searched for this article, I’m sure that you already know – stubborn sunscreen stains!

Don’t worry I have 3 effective ways how you can remove sunscreen from leather, even the most stubborn stains!

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Why Sunscreen is so hard to remove?

remove sunscreen from leather

Well, sunscreen has in its compound avobenzone and oxybenzone which can spell trouble for your upholstery. These chemicals can react with the leather, causing discoloration, fading, and even deterioration over time. That’s why it’s crucial to remove sunscreen and especially sunscreen stains as soon as possible.

Also, sunscreen has a lot of oils that soak into the car’s leather, and the majority of sunscreen people often choose is water-repellent, as it’s more practical, right? But it makes it even harder to remove such stains, as how easy do you want a water-repellent product to be removed with a water-based cleaner?

Not only do they make your car look neglected, but if left untreated, those stains can become stubborn and challenging to remove. Over time, they can seep deeper into the leather, making restoration even more difficult. So, it’s essential to take immediate action.

Sunscreen on leather can be as dangerous as bird poop on car paint!

3 Ways to Remove Sunscreen from Leather

If you noticed that you stained your car’s leather with sunscreen, you should pay attention to it as soon as possible, not after the trip, or next summer. It will be much easier to remove sunscreen before it gets deeply into car leather. Use dry napkins, or a clean microfiber towel, and try to soak it, instead of wiping and spreading the stain even more. Once you soaked all sunscreen you can, wipe it off with wet napkins.

If the stain is still there, move on with the options below. Options are arranged according to the complexity of the sunscreen stain. Where 1st is a fresh stain, and 3rd is an old stubborn stain, which you tried to remove with all possible methods.

CAUTION! If you’re unsure about the impact of the cleaning solution on your leather, I recommend testing it on a small, inconspicuous area first. This way, you can ensure that it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage. It’s especially relevant to 3rd option.

1. Dishsoap

If you have a fresh stain, and you already soaked any residue of sunscreen with a clean napkin, now, it’s time to prepare the gentle cleaning solution. In a bucket or spray bottle, combine a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water. Mix it gently until it creates a soapy solution. Remember, we want a mild concentration to protect the leather. Feel free to repeat the cleaning process with dish soap, if the stain was not removed completely after one pass.

2. APC(All-Purpose Cleaner) or Leather Cleaner

You can also use a safely high-quality Leather Cleaner or correctly diluted All-Purpose cleaner. It is an effective way to remove sunscreen stains, however, it may not remove old or water-repellent sunscreen stains. Such products are designed for use on leather, so feel free to repeat the cleaning process if you are not satisfied with the results.

3. Meguiar’s D10801 Super Degreaser

Meguiar's D10801 Super Degreaser

Now we are moving to big guns. Super Degreaser is not something you should use on your leather, as it’s a powerful degreaser that allows you to remove grease for example from the engine. So you should use it only if you tried previous methods and they did not work, and use Super Degrear on the car’s leather at your own risk!

You can dilute the product at 1:10, where 1 is a degreaser and 10 is distilled water. Always test it on an inconspicuous area before using the solution!

Remove Sunscreen from Leather Step-By-Step

remove sunscreen from leather
  1. Dip a clean, soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge into the soapy solution and wring out any excess liquid.
  2. Gently scrub the sunscreen stain in circular motions.
  3. Avoid applying too much force to prevent damaging the leather.
  4. Once the stain has lifted, it’s time to rinse away any residue.
  5. Dampen a clean cloth with fresh water and gently wipe the treated area.
  6. Make sure to remove all traces of the cleaning solution to avoid any potential build-up.
  7. After rinsing, allow the leather to air-dry naturally.
  8. Protect it with Leather Conditioner.

Preventative Measures and Future Care

Prevention is better than spending hours on cleaning, they say, and that holds true for sunscreen stains too. To protect your leather from future sunscreen mishaps, consider using seat covers or towels when applying sunscreen. Alternatively, you can apply sunscreen before getting into your car, allowing it to absorb fully before sitting on the leather.

After successfully removing the sunscreen stain, it’s essential to keep your leather in top-notch condition. Use a quality leather conditioner or protectant to nourish and shield your car leather from UV rays and other potential stains. Regular application of such products will help maintain the beauty and longevity of your leather seats and will prevent getting stains too deeply into car leather. Don’t forget to protect other interior part with the Best Car Interior Dressing.

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