As we head into summertime, many of us are diligently applying sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
I have very fair skin, so I am definitely a faithful sunscreen user!
Did you know that sunscreens that contain the ingredient avobenzone can produce stains on your clothes?
If you’ve ever applied sunscreen to your head, face, neck, or arms and later noticed dark, orange/brown stains on your clothes, you’ve experienced it.
The easiest way to avoid these unsightly – and difficult to remove – stains on your clothes are to use sunscreens that are avobenzone free.
I’ve scoured the internet and the sunscreen shelf at my local drug stores to identify which brands do not contain avobenzone, which you’ll find below.
If you have a sunscreen that is avobenzone-free that you’d like to add to the list, please leave a comment below!
Sunscreens that Do Not Contain Avobenzone
Note: Affiliate links are used in this post. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.
According to my research, the following brands of sunscreen do not list avobenzone or known trade names in the ingredients list.
Blue Lizard Sensitive Sunscreen
Sunology Natural Sunscreen SPF 50
Elta MD Facial Sunscreen SPF 46
Biore Sarasara Suncreen SPF 50+
Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen SPF 60+
Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream SPF 30
Del Mar Beach Supply Company SPF 32
Babyganics Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Do you have a sunscreen recommendation? Make sure to leave it in the comments!
Note: As with all recommendations here at Mama’s Laundry Talk, use at your own risk. Lauren Hill is not responsible for any advice or recommendations given at Mama’s Laundry Talk.
Thank you so much for doing the research on these sunscreens. How do you get the stains out of your clothes?
Hi Lucille! I give several suggestions to remove those orange/brown stains in this post: Removing Sunscreen Stains
Hope one of those works for you!
I’ve never really had a problem with sunscreen stains before, but that’s annoying that some sunscreens will do that. Thanks for sharing this list!
Very interesting piece of work. I do have my doubts about the avobenzone. Although I have nasty experiences with sunscreens containing butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (the synonym of abovenzone), some of them do not give staining. How is this happening? Are there other ingredients that might be the cause of staining?
As a dermatologist myself I am curious….
Let me know
There is one more chemical compound in the soup that causes the staining; iron. Hard water and Avobenzone are the culprits in the perfect storm for causing orange stains on clothing. They are extremely difficult to get rid of once they set in. Adding oxiclean to the wash seems to help. The difficulty is, the stains don’t appear until they’ve gone through the wash; after being exposed to the hard water.
I have this problem. Now at least I know that I could wash my summer clothes in town rather than at my house. Is there a certain type of material that seems to stain more? I notice it on all of my T-shirts and tanks.
Hi, yeah that’s interesting. I work outside and already have gone through dozens of white t shirts due to the brown/orange staining, Apparently washing/rubbing them in dish washing liquid dissolves the stain somewhat, but that procedure is lengthy and probably more expensive than buying new $5 work t shirts.
I looked around on the internet in Australia, but can’t find a recommended list for non staining sunscreen, and when asking a chemist, they were oblivious to this?
I have found that the staining occurs when the sunscreen on the swimsuit has a chemical reaction with the minerals in well water.
ALL GOOD spf 33 sport sunscreen is also avo free and has only non-nano zinc. Thanks so much for the list of products!
Thanks for leaving that one, Carrie!
All Good is brand name, I presume?
Have you found any spray sunscreens without avobenzone? I find they’re so much easier to use, especially for kids to use themselves, but the research is slow going (while I wash my brand new white cover-up to see if the tricks have worked!).
I have yet to find spray sunscreens without avobenzone. It is SO much easier to use the spray sunscreens with children – I couldn’t agree with that more! Sadly, I’ve yet to find any on the market!
Did your new white cover-up whiten up? I hope so!
CeraVe baby Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 45 appears not to have avobenzone nor butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane. I searched both ingredients on the product information on their website, cerave.com
Thanks, Heidi! Appreciate your research!
I use babyganics and it stains my son’s clothes.
Target Kids SPF 50 aka Banana Boat Kids SPF 50 doesnt contain avobenzone.
Thanks, Mark! Appreciate that suggestion!
Thank you for this information. I have sunscreen without those ingredients and they still stain. Can you or your readers recommend a specific sunscreen that you know, from personal experience, doesn’t stain whites?
We’ve personally used Blue Lizard (the first one listed), and it didn’t stain for us! Hope it works for you as well! 🙂
If there is iron in the water it is more likely to stain. In north Oxfordshire there is a lot of iron. I really want a sun screen that doesn’t stain my whites.
Thank you SO much for this list. I am going to buy fresh sunscreen and will be looking for one of the brands listed. I have had so many ruined clothes because of sunscreen stains.
I’m glad it’s helpful! We’ve ruined several shirts as well. :/
My husband is heading out on a week long fishing trip. He would really like to pack his nice fishing shirts to wear, but doesn’t want to ruin them. Hopefully we can find a sunscreen that doesn’t stain.
Thanks for the info.
They don’t stain clothes, but will they stain leather? I just bought a new Toyota Camry and I traded in my Solara with black leather seats. I had a tough time removing the stains from the seats. Do these stain leather seats? I am fair skinned and can’t go without my sun screen.
We, too have run into the stains on our car leather-doors and seats (Honda Pilot, gray and black interior). Was just planning on trying different things…will let you know what works best.
Equate (Wal-Mart store brand) Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Kids Sunscreen contains Homosalate, Octinoxate, Octisalate, & Titanium Dioxide only.
I’ve had great success removing these stains with a product called Iron Out. Just pre soak stained clothing in a separate container for an hour, then wash as usual.
Eucerine brand sunscreen spf 30 does not have .avobenzone. My dermatologist told me about it. After years of whites turning orange once they hit our well water( even though we have a water softener and use anti- rust pellets), I finally don’t get stains in our whites!
We use Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50. Active ingredients are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. It seems to do the trick! Consumer Reports gave it a poor rating saying that it only tested as SPF 15 after water testing, but we haven’t had troubles using it. No sun burns as long as we reapply according to the directions (every 2 hours, or every 80 minutes if in the water). I thought I had heard that the product was discontinued, but I saw it in the store recently (in August 2017) so I guess I was wrong about that! Since using this brand we definitely have gotten rid of all the nasty orange stains in our clothes (we have a lot of rust in our water), so I am happy with it.
I have been using Neutrogena 100spf on my face. I love the way it smooths on and stays on your face without any stinging with sweating while in the sun. I recently have been putting it on the back side of my hands since I had a few spots removed by my dermatologist. I am very fair skinned so I need on my hands.
It feels great on your hands.
Well, yesterday I applied to my hands and with what was left on my fingers, I just worked it into my fingers like hand lotion. Bad idea. I came home with stains on my favorite white jeans. Now I have tried several stain removers with no success. I guess my water is hard. I think looks worse since the stain removers and washing.
So, I may have to buy new jeans.
Yuck!! I hate having to spend the money.
The Neutrogena is a fabulous product but not good if everyone will ruin their clothes. I looked at the ingredients and do no see the avobenzone ingredient. I will read your article to see what other suggestions you have.
I need some help with the qvobenzone/iron in water connection. I own some Ben Hogan golf shirts I like to wear at work (white, 100% polyester). The sleeves and collar are stained orange. Before I saw the collar, I thought it was garbage staining.
If this is helpful, I work as a janitor.
I have found The Works, a bathroom cleaner, found in dollar stores removes the stains …
My light grey leather recliner got stained from Banana Boat Sport sunscreen with avobenzone in it. My husband was waiting for me to finish my shower and thought sitting on a leather chair would be better then sitting on the upholstered furniture. His legs from the calves down to the ankles touched the leather for about 30 minutes and it was shocking ,the stain. I have tried everything to remove the stains but without success. The chair is new and I’m sick about it, between the ruined shirts, shorts, bathing suits and coverups. Thank you for giving me heads up on that avobenzone ingredient.
Thank you so much for this article! I have many beautiful items from suits to dresses stained this way. The trouble for me is the hot , hard water combo with the sunscreen culprits. The oxi clean does make it worse and stains are never really gone, just faded. I’ve had luck with Barkeeper’s Friend, foaming formula. I hand wash and soak with this and it does seem to work. But you can’t launder in hot water after, because the stains just re-appear. The other frustrating thing is any sunscreen left behind on my body after a shower. If any spot is missed with soap, it will stain the dress or pants too. Thanks again for the hints to clean and the sunscreen list!
SKINCEUTICALS PHYSICAL DEFENSE SUNSCREEN SPF 50, IT’S ALSO TINTED TO ENHANCE SKIN TONE
OLAY ALL-DAY MOISTURIZING LOTION BROAD SPECTRUM SPF 15, I JUST BUY WALMART’S EQUATE BRAND ( IT’S CHEAPER)
I tried to “Contact Mama” on this website’s “Contact” link, but it did not work. Here is what I got: [si-contact-form form=’1′].
I would like a printer-friendly list of the sunscreens that will not react with hard well water. I have been seeing these orange stains for several years. I knew they were from sunscreen, and I was never able to get rid of the stains. It seems to have gotten worse in the past 2 years. I will try these tricks. I already use The Works in my toilets, and Iron Out spray in my sinks. Ahhhh, country living!
Any new additions to the list.
My white dress shirts are in a mess with the orange stains . Pls update if there is any remedy to easily remove the stains as vinegar or lemon juice are not effective.
Did you try The Works? That gives the best result, in my experience! 🙂
I have tried many different sunscreens and all do the same thing. By the end of day my shirt has an orange ring around the collar. Neutrogena, Coppertone, Banana Boat, etc. This is happening before I wash my clothes. Very frustrating indeed.
Beautycounter is another option. It does not have avobenzone nor about 1500 other harmful ingredients. It has non nano zinc oxide which will not absorb into the skin. Also safer when choosing.
Thanks so much for the recommendations. I live in the Bahamas, have had skin cancer, and have to apply sunscreen every time I go out. I use Neutrogena spray everywhere except on my face and it drives me crazy because it stains my clothes, particular around the collars of my blouses. It’s a white stain though, not orange like others have said. I wish the manufacturers of these sunscreens would remove the Avotenzone from them! I don’t have much choice of sunscreens here, but can try Banana Boat. Also, can adults use Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen SPF 60+?
Oh yes, absolutely you can use it on your face! I have and do use Baby sunscreen on my face with great success (and I am super fair skinned!)
Forgot to mention that I use Neutrogena sunscreen lotion on my face.
Whink Iron Stain Remover and The Works remove these stains. I have softened well water and all sunscreens with avobenzone and some without, stain our clothes. The stains don’t show up until after the items are dried. Oxy Clean is a no no because it oxidizes the iron and makes the stain worse. I have had to switch to mineral sunscreens only and am now looking for one for the body that is not chalky.