A car seat being sprayed and scrubbed with a stain on it

How To Remove Sunscreen Off Car Interior Easily

Won’t you agree that sunscreen is just one of those products that seems to get everywhere, no matter how much you try to avoid it?

This protective liquid makes your car interior appear messy and can be one of our road trip nemesis!

And while you can not just wipe it away, given that most sunblocks are waterproof and water resistant. There are ways how to remove sunscreen from the car interior.

Read on to find out the best methods with a step-by-step guide for eliminating sunscreen from a car interior.

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Best Methods For Removing Sunscreen Off Car Interiors

If you are one of those drivers who use sunscreen to protect their skin from the harmful effects of the sun, then you would want to know how to effectively remove the sunblock stains from the car interior and protect your vehicle.

Read on to find out the best methods of how to remove sunscreen off car interior.

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Method one: How To Get Sunscreen Off Car Seats With Baking Soda And Vinegar

Vinegar is a household product that has many practical applications. Vinegar is versatile as it can remove everything from grease to rust and oil stains. Vinegar can also be used to scrub off sunscreen residue since most types of sunscreen are oil-based. This is how to use the vinegar cleanse with baking soda for the best results.

Step one:

Leave your car doors open. Vinegar has a pungent smell. You, therefore, need to employ ventilation to help eliminate vinegar odors while working. Leaving your car doors open will also cause the vinegar to dissipate more quickly.

Step two:

Make an abrasive paste by combining the baking soda and vinegar. The ratio for mixing the vinegar with baking soda should be ½.

The abrasive paste will help remove sunscreen from your car’s interior.

Step three:

Scrub the sunscreen stains off your car interior using a clean cloth or sponge soaked in the abrasive paste you made in step two. Squeeze out excess water from the sponge and gently wipe the surface in gentle circular motions. If your car has leather seats, you should avoid rubbing too hard as the leather might get damaged.

Step four:

Rinse with some clean water and let it dry. If the stains remain intact, you might need to repeat the process.

As for the vinegar residue, you should follow with a baking soda and water wipe down to neutralize the acid. This is especially important if you are dealing with leather car seats.

A gloved hand scrubbing the interior of a car

Method Two: How To Clean Sunscreen Off Car Interior With Alcohol

Alcohol can be in different forms, from rubbing alcohol spray to alcohol wipes and everything in between. Alcohol-based cleaners are great for removing many types of stains, including those left by sunblock and greasy residues.

Rubbing alcohol is a safe bet as it has been proven to work well for stained, harsh surfaces, making it great for sunblock stains. It will do wonders for your car seats and interiors, but you should never forget to test an inconspicuous spot first and check for any discoloration.

Step one:

Rub alcohol on the stained area by pouring some of it on a clean cloth. After you have rubbed the alcohol in, you should wait for a couple of minutes to allow the fabric to absorb it well.

For faster application, use alcohol-based products that come in spray bottles to aid in faster application. They are also handy and easy to apply.

Step two:

Rub with a soft sponge or cloth in circular motions. You need to use circular motions as it helps cause the stains to come off the material and is also not tough on the fabric. The second step takes time and effort, especially when dealing with dried, large stains. So, when in this stage, try practicing some patience.

When rubbing, whether using a sponge or cloth, ensure that it is clean to prevent it from leaving behind grime. You also need to squeeze out the fabric thoroughly with your hand before rubbing to ensure that you use a moisture-free sponge/cloth.

Step three:

You can wet a clean cloth for rinsing and wiping down thoroughly. To remove the leftover alcohol, rinse with clean water. You will want to remove the alcohol as it can damage the fabric seats over time. If it was a small stain you were dealing with, you should clean over the affected area using a wipe or a damp clean cloth.

After lifting the stains and dealing with the alcohol residue, use a paper or a microfiber towel to dry the area. You can also opt to use a clean cloth as it works fine.

When using alcohol cleaners, here are some tips:

  • To prevent any damage to your car interior, ensure that the concentration of alcohol that you use is not too intense. You should start with a weaker mixture to be on the safe side. The alcohol-to-water ratio when dealing with easy-to-remove and more minor stains should be1:10. If you find the combination too weak, you can always make a stronger concentration so that the ratio is now 1:5.
  • Having some alcohol wipes in the car is always a great idea. You can use alcohol wipes for minor stains.
  • The last thing you want is to damage your car’s interior when using alcohol cleaners. Therefore chooses an alcohol cleaner that is safe for car upholstery.

Method Three: Getting The Sunscreen Residue Off Your Car With Soapy Water

While soapy water is effective on new and old sunscreen stains, you should note that it can not help in extreme stains. You should, therefore, not use this method when dealing with too large and deep hard-to-remove stains.

Step one:

If you are dealing with a fresh stain, you should wipe or bloat the excess sunscreen by using a paper towel or a dry clean cloth. After you have wiped, then you can apply some soapy water.

While you can as well skip this step, do not, as it helps make the method more effective and more manageable. While wiping, ensure that you are not using circular, gentle motions as this may create more mess by spreading the sunscreen around with soapy water; just dab in a way that you are not spreading the mess. 

Step two:

Make soapy water using either a car interior detergent or a dish soap. The mixing ratio should be about one liter of water to two tablespoons of dish wash. Then stir the mixture until you make suds. Always check whether the dish soap or car interior detergent is safe for leather and upholstery.

Step three:

In the third step, use a sponge or cloth dipped into the soapy water and wrung it out before starting to rub. Repeat if necessary until the sunblock stains have been removed altogether.

Step four:

After you have dealt with the stain, you should eliminate the soap residue by rinsing it with clean water. You can use a towel or paper towels to get rid of the excess moisture.

Method Four: How To Remove Sunscreen Off Car Interior By Using Commercial Cleaners

When dealing with sunscreen stains, a wide range of car interior cleaners can be used and are effective. Some of the best ones include:

The above cleaners have a similar cleaning process that is simple and removes sunblock stains from the car interior.

Step one:

Depending on your chosen solution, apply a few drops of your car cleaner, or spray over the stains.

Step two:

Using warm water is a good option. Dip your clean cloth in the warm water and wring it out to make it damp. Ensure that the fabric is not soaking wet.

Step three:

Set the car interior cleaner on top of the stains. Wipe them away with the cloth by using either circular motions or dabbing.

Step four:

Get a wet cloth or towel that you shall use to soak any residue and excess water. Then give it around five minutes to let it dry.

Step five:

If you are dealing with challenging stains, you might need to repeat the process to eliminate the stain. After the stain has been dealt with, then wipe the fabric with a clean cloth to make it dry completely.

How To Get Sunscreen Out Of Fabric Car Seats

  1. In a small spray bottle, combine one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and one cup of warm water.
  2. To the mixture, add one teaspoon of baking powder.
  3. Use a clean white cloth sprayed with the cleaning solution. Then gently dab and rub any stains on the fabric car seat.
  4. Let the car seat fabric dry.

How To Get Sunscreen Off Leather Seats

  1. Combining equal parts of white vinegar and water, make a cleaning solution in a small bucket.
  2. Dip it into the solution using a microfibre cloth to make it damp but not wet.
  3. Wipe your leather car seats, ensuring that you are rinsing the cloth regularly.
  4. Then with a clean, dry microfiber cloth, dry the leather seats. 

More Vehicle Care Tips

We hope you’ve found this guide to sunscreen removal helpful. If you’d like more tips on car care and common vehicle issues on your family road trip, you may also be interested in:

© Family Road Trip 2024

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