Sunscreen stains, one of the hidden costs in laundries

Sunscreen is essential in protecting the skin from the harmful rays of summer. Unfortunately, most sunscreens tend to cause yellow-orange stains on textile, which are difficult to remove.  As a result, normal washing cycles are no longer effective and laundries are confronted with a high percentage of rewash and a significant increase in processing costs.

What makes sunscreen stains so difficult to remove? 

The main reason why sunscreen stains, is the chemical ingredient avobenzone. Avobenzone is an oil-soluble ingredient which is found in most sunblock formulas and which absorbs the full spectrum of UVA rays. Deposited on fabrics, avobenzone absorbs the UV light forming a barrier for the optical brighteners to perform effectively in the wash process.

These optical brighteners are added to the wash process to enhance the whiteness of the fabrics. In fact, they absorb the UV light and turn it in visible light.



Viewed under UV light, you can see that the optical brightener agents (OBA’s) don’t have any effect on the sunscreen stains. 

Not only does avobenzone prevent the optical brighteners to perform effectively, the ingredient also reacts with the iron minerals found in the water during washing. Hence, the rusty stains on the fabrics. Especially regions with iron-rich water will experience more staining. Also, synthetic fabrics are more prone to this type of staining than natural fibers, such as cotton.

How to treat sunscreen stains?

To successfully remove sunscreen stains from fabrics, it is important to first remove the UV filter. This is done using a powerful degreaser. Christeyns’ Mulan Solar is such a degreaser. It contains a unique blend of surfactants, that adhere to the textile and remove the UV filter from the fabric. Once the UV filter is removed, the optical brighteners can do their job. As a result, the textile will regain its whiteness.

Secondly, to avoid the interaction with the metal ions in the water, experts advise to add sequestrants in the wash process. Sequestrants work by binding to these metal ions and preventing them from interfering with the detergent’s cleaning action. Smart Complex is an example of such a sequestrant. It is a complex blend of sequestering and anti-greying agents. In addition to improving cleaning performance, sequestrants can also help to extend the life of clothing and fabrics by preventing the buildup of mineral deposits on the fibers.






The result after applying Mulan Solar + Smart Complex: sunscreen stains are no longer an issue. These pictures show the result under both daylight and UV light.

How can Mulan Solar help in improving your productivity?  

Mulan Solar is a powerful degreaser specifically developped to remove suncsreen stains. By dosing Mulan Solar in the wash process, normal washing cycles will be effective again and rewash rates will drop resulting in a decrease in processing costs.

Are you also fed up with these sunscreen stains?! Contact your Christeyns expert for more information about the benefits of Mulan Solar.


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