Remove Sunscreen from Car Interior: Easy DIY Tips

We’ve put together this DIY guide on how to remove sunscreen from car interior. We recommend using household items as well as effective store-bought car cleaners.

results for how to remove sunscreen from car interior

It’s summertime, meaning plenty of time spent in the car. Whether it be a family road trip or just going to the grocery store, chances are you’re getting your hands on some sunscreen.

The problem is that once you remove your clothes, remove the towel from around your neck, and slip into those shorts – there will most likely be a white spot where you applied sunscreen to your arms which then got transferred onto the seat.

How to remove sunscreen from car interior

Here are some household materials that can remove sunscreens stains from car seats, the dashboard, or even your headliner. You may also read this guide if the sunscreen gets in between car seats.

Soapy water

Use a sponge or cloth with soapy water to remove the stain.

This method is versatile, as it can remove old and new stains but may not work well in extreme cases.

Step 1

If the stain is new, start by wiping any leftover residue off the car seat with a dry cloth or wet wipes. Avoid spreading the stain around by using gentle, circular motions.

Step 2

Find some soap and water that is on hand, or use dish detergent if need be. Mix it in your hands to create suds. The ratio should be two tablespoons of soap to a quart of water.

Tip: Ensure the soap is safe for leather and fabric upholstery.

Step 3

Dip your sponge or cloth into the mixture and wring out any excess soapy liquid (you don’t want too much to drip onto the car seat).

Step 4

Rub until sunscreen has been removed from fabric and leather seats.

Repeat as necessary until no more sunscreen remains on the surface of your vehicle’s interior (this might take some time)

Tips: Remove excess water from the sponge and cloth before rubbing. If your car seat is made of a fabric that can be easily bleached, apply bleach directly onto the stain if need be (not for leather seats!)

Step 5

Rinse with water to remove soap residue if necessary, then dry off excess moisture with a clean towel or paper towels.


This household product has many uses for removing all sorts of things, including oils and grease stains.

Mixing vinegar with baking soda creates an abrasive paste that works well for scrubbing off those pesky white spots left by sunscreen!

Be careful not to rub too hard as the fabric could get damaged if rubbed too much during the process.

Step 1

Start by turning your car’s ventilator on to remove any excess odors in the air. This will make the vinegar smell dissipate faster as well.

Step 2

Create an abrasive paste between vinegar and baking soda (both household products). The ratio is usually about two parts baking soda to one part vinegar.

Step 3

Use a sponge or cloth dipped into this mixture, then scrub off sunscreen stains from fabric seats with circular motions until clean!

Tip: Don’t forget to remove excess water from the sponge or cloth before rubbing, and be gentle when scrubbing.

Step 4

Rinse thoroughly before drying off.

Tip: If the car seat is made of leather, use a pH-balanced soap to remove any vinegar residue.


A citrus fruit, lemon can easily remove sunscreen from the car interior. The acidity of the fruit helps break down any stubborn stains without much difficulty!

You only need a few fresh lemons and some water to remove those pesky sunscreens spots off your upholstery.

Step 1

Cut some fresh lemons in half and remove the seeds.

Steps 2

Squeeze about three to four halves of a lemon on top of the sunscreen stain on your car seat.

Steps 3

Let this sit for about five minutes before scrubbing with a sponge or cloth.

Steps 4

Rinse with water to remove any excess lemon juice and dry off the car seat.

Tip: Remove any lemon juice residue with a clean towel or paper towels if no stains remain.

Rubbing alcohol 

Rubbing alcohol is an excellent way to remove sunscreens stains from car seats because it can also break down the material.

Further, it can remove old stains from the interior, which is a good choice if you are dealing with an oily residue.

Step 1

Simply pour some rubbing alcohol onto the car seat’s stain and let it soak for several minutes. Alcohol in spray bottles is better because it can be applied faster.

Steps 2

Using a clean cloth or sponge, rub in a circular motion until all of the sunscreens are gone.

Tip: Choose a clean cloth or sponge that won’t leave any dirt behind. Also, the alcohol should be safe for upholstery.

Repeat until all stains are gone!

Tip: Ensure to remove all excess moisture from the sponge or cloth before rubbing, and be gentle when scrubbing.

Steps 3

Rinse with water to remove any residue before patting dry with a clean towel or paper towels.

These methods will remove sunscreen stains from most car seats, but they may not remove them 100%.

If that is the case for your vehicle’s interior, you should consult with a local detailer or use one of the recommended products below.

Store-Bought Cleaners

Here are the best cleaner options you can find in the store if you’re not up for DIY cleaning.


Chemical Guys Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Suppose you’re looking to clean leather upholstery with NO scrubbing required and NO toxic chemicals, ammonia, bleach, color damaging detergents or solvents. In that case, Chemical Guys Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is the best option!

All you need to do is spray it on and wipe it off with a clean cloth.

Buy on Amazon

Dawn Dish Soap

This product is a great option as it can remove even the most stubborn stains without hassle.

Not only that, but Dawn dish soap also works wonders on oil and grease stains often left by sunscreens!

Simply squirt some of the liquid onto your stained fabric. Scrub with a sponge for two minutes, then rinse off to remove those pesky white spots!

Buy on Amazon

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Mr. Clean is a household favorite and has been around for years! The sponge material of this cleaner makes it perfect to remove sunscreen stains from car seats.

It has an abrasive texture that breaks down any stain easily – no scrubbing is required.

Buy on Amazon

Goo Gone

This is a great product to remove any sticky substances from your car seats, including sunscreen!

Goo gone has that signature orange smell, so it might not be the best option if you prefer fragrance-free products.

But this cleaner does an excellent job of removing pesky white spots left by sunscreens.

It’s also effective on another residue on fabric and leather upholstery- without leaving any marks whatsoever!

Buy on Amazon

Leather Honey Leather Cleaner

Leather Honey creates an easy-to-apply protective shield that protects your car seats from future stains caused by oils, dirt, or spills – all while leaving behind a pleasant leather scent.

Buy on Amazon

Other useful items

Here are other great products you might need to remove sunscreens from upholstered surfaces in your vehicle too.

Shout Wipe and Go Instant Stain Remover

These wipes remove tough stains like sunscreen without much difficulty at all! Just be sure not to leave them sitting open.

Buy on Amazon

They can dry out over time, making them more difficult to remove the next time you need them.

Zwipes Microfiber Cloth

This is a great option if you’re looking for gentle cleaning cloths that can remove stubborn stains like sunscreens without damaging your car’s upholstery!

Zwipes come in different colors and sizes – so be sure to order what best suits your needs.

Buy on Amazon

Why do you want to remove the sunscreen from your car

A lot of people don’t know that sunscreens are bad for cars because they think there’s no harm done by using one since its purpose is supposed to be our protection against UV rays while driving outside on sunny days.

However, no matter how effective the sunscreen may be, it will not protect against UV rays that reflect off cars and buildings.

Moreover, it can damage dashboard surfaces and leather interiors because sunscreen is a petroleum-based product that will absorb these surfaces.

No one wants a car full of sunscreen stains because they can’t enjoy the clean dashboard or leather seats.

So why not use sunblock when you’re outside (specially designed for this purpose) instead?

Exterior Damage

The sunscreens also make your car’s paint job more likely to fade. This is because they coat its surface, inhibiting a protective layer from forming on top of the paint.

They can even cause surfaces to turn white. This is due to mineral deposits left behind by some products when applied too liberally.

Ways of preventing future sunscreen stains on car

To avoid sunscreen stains on your seats and dashboard, you should regularly clean your car’s interior by vacuuming any loose dirt and dust.

This will help prevent sunscreen from sticking to the surfaces of your seats while also protecting against harmful UV rays. These can damage the leather surface over time.

Moreover, you should use car wax on your surfaces to protect them. Applying an auto detailer will help remove any mineral deposits left behind by sunscreens.


Conclusion paragraph: It’s time to ditch the greasy hand towel and take care of your car interior. We hope you found our DIY guide on removing sunscreen stains from a car useful and store-bought cleaners that can help clean up any future messes without harming your vehicle or its occupants.

The next step is prevention, so be sure not to get sunscreen on anything other than skin! Happy driving!

Read more car care tips! Follow us on Facebook!

Leave a Comment