Remove Sunscreen Stains from Car Paint & Interior

Walking out to your car and seeing visible hand or fingerprint marks on your paint can be annoying.

Most of the time, a brief clean using a quick detailer and microfibre cloth is enough. Unfortunately, if the person was wearing sunscreen, it is not.

If you have left the handprint for a long time it may have started to attack the clear coat on your car.

The more embedded it becomes, the harder it is to remove and correct. As a result, you will want to act as soon as possible.

Failure to remove this handprint could result in your clear coat peeling and can affect the resale value of a car. The same goes for stains on your car interior, though they’re cheaper and easier to correct.

Using the right tools & products we’ll teach you how to correct this and make your car look brand new again.

How Does Sunscreen Stain Car Paint?

There are two ingredients that make sunscreen stain car paintwork.

Polyethylene Glycol and Titanium Dioxide are designed to protect humans from light and UV Rays but when left on a vehicle, it leaves behind a greasy white residue that can damage the paint.

Most sunscreens nowadays are water-resistant. This means that the sunscreen will remain on your car even after intense contact washes.

Sunscreen is also made to absorb into whatever it is applied to. When someone touches your car the sunscreen will transfer and start absorbing into your paintwork or interior.

How To Remove Sunscreen From Car Paint

As a general rule of thumb, the quicker you act, the less work you will have to do. Acting quick will also increase the chances of completely removing the handprint, meaning you never have to see it again.

How To Remove Sunscreen From Car Paint ( If recent )

What You’ll Need:

You’re at the beach and your child leans against the car covered in sunscreen, what should you do?

Using a bottle of water, a microfiber towel and a bottle of quick detailer, you will be able to remove the sunscreen with very little effort.

If the affected area is heavily contaminated, make sure to rinse the panel off beforehand. This will avoid creating any micro scratches and swirl marks.

Once the panel is clean of loose dirt, you can now apply a quick detailer to the area and wipe the handprint away with a microfiber towel.

That’s it. It should not return. If it does, you’ll have to move onto the next step once you return home.

Admittedly, not everyone will have a microfiber cloth and quick detailer in the back of their vehicle, but they should. It’s very useful if you care about keeping your paintwork factory new.

How To Remove Sunscreen From Car Paint (Not So Recent )

If the sunscreen has stuck to the panel for long enough it will have begun to absorb into the paint. The sunscreen will leave your paint a little sticky and the handprint will be very obvious.

Don’t worry, this can be fixed, but you’ll have to use a more abrasive method since the sunscreen has begun to absorb and penetrate the paintwork of your car.

The first thing you can do is apply a rubbing compound or polish onto the paintwork of your vehicle using a foam applicator pad.

You should always do a full wash and if possible decontaminate the paint before applying detailing products to your vehicle.

Most of the time, a product like Autoglym Super Resin Polish or Meguiar’s One-Step Compound will remove the handprint without fail. Sometimes it will need a lot of elbow grease.

If after a while the handprint is still there, it’s time to use a Dual Action Polisher & a 3 step polishing system.

Most people will not own a dual action polisher and will not know how to polish the paintwork of a car. If that’s the case, you can either buy one and learn, or pay your local detailer for a full paint correction.

Paying for a detailer can be expensive though.

How To Remove Sunscreen From Your Cars Glass

There’s nothing more annoying and obtrusive than a sunscreen stain on your windscreen.

As you drive during the day, sun glare will make the handprint obstruct your view of the road. At night, the light of oncoming vehicles will shine through it, distracting and blinding you as you drive.

Thankfully, removing handprints from your windscreen is much easier. All you will need is a good glass polish, something like “Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Polishing Compound“.

When applying a glass polish, make sure to apply it evenly with a foam applicator pad before buffing it off with a microfiber towel.

This should successfully remove any sunscreen stains from your windscreen and side windows. It will also leave the glass looking sparkly clean.

How To Remove Sunscreen From Car Interior

vinyl car interior

If people were to get sunscreen over your car interior, it’s a little more understandable than getting it over the windows. People interact with the seats and trim, so it’s inevitable that they will come into contact with sunscreen at some point.

I haven’t listed steam cleaning in the methods below, but if you have one, it may be the most effective way to remove stains from the interior of a car.

Removing sunscreen stains from leather car seats

Stage 1: (Same Day)

If you find your leather seats covered in sunscreen marks, you should act fast before it dries into the leather.

Hopefully, the sunscreen is still fresh. If so, all you will need is a good leather cleaning product, an applicator pad, and a microfibre towel.

Apply the leather cleaner, rub it in with the pad and then buff it off with a low pile microfibre towel.

If the sunscreen has already dried into the seat or isn’t moving, move onto step two.

Stage 2: (A Deeper Clean)

Like anything else in detailing, start off with the least abrasive method first and work your way up.

For the deeper clean, we’re going to use an all-purpose cleaner. This is a stronger chemical especially if you keep a low product:water dilution ratio.

To protect your leather or vinyl, make sure that the APC is Water-based & PH Neutral. I would recommend using “Meguiar’s Detailer All-Purpose Cleaner” for this job.

Stage 2 is exactly the same as Stage 1, but instead of using a leather cleaner, we use a stronger product.

Apply the product using a pad and then buff it off with a microfiber towel. Keep repeating this process until you achieve the required results.

Again, if the stains are still there, move onto stage 3.

Stage 3: (Stain Remover Bar)

I’m not a fan of using non-car products on my car, even though most of the time It’s completely safe.

If you have stains on your upholstery that arent moving whatsoever, it may be time to use a stain remover bar.

Stain Remover Bars are formulated with Power Enzymes that are effective on laundry and upholstery.

To use the stain remover bar, wet the stained area with cold water and rub the area with the bar.

When you are satisfied, wipe away the product with a microfiber towel and rinse it off.

After I’ve used the stain remover bar, I’ll normally apply some leather cleaner to the area for the best finish.

Be careful when using Stain Remover Bars as they can lead to discoloration if you rub too hard. This is a problem to consider if you’re using it on colored vinyl and leather.

Removing sunscreen stains from car trim

car door card

With most car interiors being made with the ease of cleaning in mind, removing sunscreen stains from car trim is not too hard.

Unless you’re driving around in a Rolls Royce, most dashes and interior trim are made from vinyl. plastic, carbon fiber or leather.

To clean sunscreen and other stains from the interior, all that you need to do is dilute a bottle of All-Purpose Cleaner with some water and rub it with a sponge or microfibre towel.

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