How to Get Suntan Lotion off Leather

It’s summertime and nothing feels quite as good as basking in the warm sun. When you’re out enjoying a day at the beach, pool or lake, it’s important to make sure your skin is protected with sunscreen – but have you ever thought about what happens when that sunscreen inevitably spills onto leather?

How to Get Suntan Lotion off Leather

Sunscreen can leave unsightly stains on leather surfaces and sports equipment if not removed properly; luckily, there are some tried-and-true methods for getting suntan lotion off leather without damaging it.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to get suntan lotion off leather materials like furniture upholstery, shoes, handbags, and more. Stick around until the end to learn our go-to tips on how to effectively get rid of stubborn suntan lotion residue once and for all!

What Removes Suntan Lotion from Leather?

Removing suntan lotion from leather can be a tricky task. To start, first, try to gently scrape off the excess product with a soft cloth or towel. If this does not work, you may have to take more extreme measures, such as using a leather cleaner. However, before doing so, make sure that it is safe for use on leather.

If the suntan lotion is particularly difficult to remove, a solvent cleaner such as rubbing alcohol or acetone may be your best bet. However, always test these products first on a small inconspicuous area of the leather before using them on the entire surface in order to ensure that they are safe for use.

Once you have applied the solvent cleaner, gently rub it in with a soft cloth and wipe off any excess residue with a damp cloth afterward.

Finally, moisturize your leather afterward by applying Saddle Soap or another suitable leather conditioner or protector. This will help to keep it looking its best and protect it from further damage caused by sun tan lotion, dirt, and grime. With the right technique, you can easily get suntan lotion off your leather and keep it looking good for years to come.

Saddle Soap or Another Suitable Leather Conditioner

Does Sunscreen Come Out of Leather?

When it comes to leather, you may be wondering if sunscreen can come out of the leather material. The answer is yes! Sunscreen can be removed from leather, but it’s important to use the proper methods and products.

The first step to removing sunscreen from leather is to clean the surface of the material. You can do this using a damp cloth or paper towel and some mild cleaning solution like dish soap or shampoo, and gently scrubbing away at the stain.

Make sure you’re not too harsh with your scrubbing so that you don’t damage the leather in any way. Once finished, let it dry completely before proceeding.

If you find that stains remain after cleaning, you may need to resort to specialized products designed for removing sunscreen stains on leather. A good choice would be an oil-based cleaner specifically made for leather surfaces.

These cleaners are usually composed of a mixture of oil, water, and detergent that helps to dissolve the sunscreen residue. After applying the cleaner onto the leather surface, use a soft cloth or brush to gently scrub the material until it is free of sunscreen residue.

10 Methods How to Get Suntan Lotion off Leather

Method 1: Absorbent Materials

Using absorbent materials such as baking soda, cornstarch, or talcum powder is an excellent initial step to remove suntan lotion stains from leather. Sprinkle the absorbent material on the stain, let it sit for a while to absorb the oil, and then gently brush it off. Repeat if necessary.

Absorbent Materials Such as Baking Soda

For baking soda, make a paste out of it and water and spread the paste over the stain. Let it dry for a few hours then brush off the residue. Baking soda is known for its natural cleaning power and can help neutralize acidity in leather caused by suntan lotion.

Method 2: Mild Soap and Warm Water

Create a solution by mixing mild soap and warm water. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the solution and gently dab the stained area. Rinse the cloth or sponge frequently and repeat the process until the stain is no longer visible.

For deeper cleaning, use a soft brush to gently scrub the stained area. Rinse the leather with clean water and pat dry with a clean towel. If the stain persists, try a leather cleaner. Apply a small amount to the stained area and wipe gently with a soft cloth or sponge.

Method 3: Commercial Leather Cleaner

Commercial leather cleaners specifically designed to remove stains can be effective in eliminating suntan lotion stains from leather. Follow the instructions provided with the cleaner, apply it to the stained area, and gently rub it with a soft cloth.

Allow the cleaner to sit on the stain for a few minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth. For stubborn stains, a soft brush can be used to work the cleaner into the leather. Once the stain is gone, be sure to wipe off any excess cleaner with a damp cloth and allow the leather to air dry completely.

Method 4: Rubbing Alcohol

Dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently dab the stain. Avoid rubbing vigorously, as it may damage the leather. Continue this process until the stain begins to fade. Once all of the suntan lotion has been removed, use a dry cloth to absorb any remaining moisture. Leave the leather to air-dry before using it again.

 Clean Cloth With Rubbing Alcohol

When removing suntan lotion from leather, it is important to do a patch test first on an inconspicuous area to ensure the rubbing alcohol won’t damage the material. If you are concerned about any discoloration, use a milder cleaning solution.

Method 5: White Vinegar and Water Solution

Create a solution by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water. Dip a clean cloth into the solution, wring out the excess liquid, and gently wipe the stained area. Rinse the cloth frequently and repeat the process until the stain disappears.

Method 6: Lemon Juice

Lemon juice’s natural acidity can help break down suntan lotion stains on leather. Apply fresh lemon juice to the stain using a cotton ball or clean cloth and gently rub the area. Allow the juice to sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a damp cloth.

Be sure to test the acidity of the lemon juice on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather first. If you are satisfied with the results, apply the juice to the rest of the stain. After applying the lemon juice, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then wipe away with a damp cloth. If the stain has not been completely removed, repeat the process until satisfied.

Method 7: Cornstarch Paste

Make a paste by mixing cornstarch with water. Apply the paste to the stain, ensuring a thick layer covers the affected area. Allow the paste to dry completely before gently brushing it off. Wipe away any residue with a clean, damp cloth.

This method is best for treating small patches of suntan lotion on leather. If the stain covers a larger area, you may need to apply the paste multiple times, letting it dry completely between each application.

Method 8: Petroleum Jelly

Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the suntan lotion stain and gently rub it into the leather using a clean cloth. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping off the excess jelly with a damp cloth. To ensure that all of the jelly is gone, use a dry cloth to buff the area. This method should be used cautiously, as petroleum jelly may damage the leather if it is left on too long or applied in too large an amount.

Petroleum Jelly to the Suntan Lotion Stain

Method 9: Leather Conditioner

After successfully removing the suntan lotion stain, it is essential to restore the leather’s moisture and shine. Apply a leather conditioner or moisturizer following the product’s instructions, as it will help maintain the leather’s suppleness and prevent drying.

Always spot test the conditioner in a hidden area to make sure that it will not cause discoloration. After applying, use a soft cloth to spread the conditioner evenly across the surface of the leather. Allow it to dry and then buff with a clean, soft cloth.

Method 10: Professional Leather Cleaner

In cases where the suntan lotion stain persists or the leather is delicate or valuable, it is advisable to seek professional help. Professional leather cleaners have the expertise and specialized products to effectively remove stubborn stains without causing further damage to the leather. 

After the professional cleaning, it is important for regular maintenance of leather to be done. This includes vacuuming the surface regularly and using a soft cloth to apply a leather conditioner twice a year. This will help keep the leather from drying out or cracking and ultimately preserve its beauty for years to come.


Trying to get suntan lotion removed from leather can be a difficult task, but it is not impossible. You have a wide variety of methods at your disposal to try and remove reactivated stains from your leather item. If all else fails and this isn’t an easy stain to remove, bringing it into a professional cleaner with the right supplies and techniques could help.

Make sure that when you clean any leather item, you use the gentlest solution first before attempting something harsher. Try these methods out first before ever using substances such as paint thinner or acetone, as they can cause further damage to your prized possession.

How to Get Suntan Lotion off Leather in the safest way possible with some patience and attention to detail on your part- good luck!

Photo of author

Matt Clark

Hi, this is Matt, and I am a leathercraft hobbyist. I have been working with leather for quite a bit of time. When I was a teenager, my father taught me the basics of leathercraft. Along the way I have learned a lot of things about leather work leather items, restoring leather, and creating leather accessories. I started this blog to share my knowledge of leatherworking with others and help people learn about this amazing craft. I also wanted to create a community of like-minded people who could share ideas and support each other in their leatherworking journey.

Leave a Comment