How to Remove Tanning Oil

by Jonathan Shaffer ; Updated September 28, 2017

The sooner you tackle a tanning oil stain, the better chance you have at removing it.

half laundry basket image by Snowball from

The summer sun brings fun on the beach, cool drinks and -- sometimes -- tanning oil stains on your favorite T-shirts and swimwear. You won't always be able to remove these stains completely because of their chemical and biological makeup, which is based on fats and oils. But if you can get to the stain in time and use the right methods, you should be able to avoid having your clothes ruined.

Pre-wash Stain Remover

Apply pre-wash stain remover to the tanning oil spot.

Scrub the pre-wash stain remover into the stain with the cleaning brush.

Allow the stain remover to sit for one to five minutes, depending on the darkness of the stain.

Wash your garment in the hottest possible water suggested by the manufacturer. Find this information on the sizing tag.

Allow the clothing to air-dry. If the stain persists, repeat the process.

White Vinegar

Add a generous amount of white vinegar to the bowl.

Soak the stained garment for one hour in the white vinegar.

Wash the garment at the hottest possible temperature suggested by the manufacturer.

Air-dry the garment after washing. If the stain persists, repeat the process.

Photo Credits

  • half laundry basket image by Snowball from

About the Author

Jonathan Shaffer has been a freelance writer and blogger since 1999. He has written concert reviews for prominent music blogs and magazines, including "Connections Magazine" in Orlando, Fla. Shaffer holds an Associate of Science in the recording arts from Full Sail University and is working on a Bachelor of Business from Valencia College.