5 Home Remedies to Remove Sunscreen Stains From Wood Deck


Sunscreen, while essential for protecting our skin from harmful UV rays, can often leave unsightly stains on our beloved wood decks.

These stains mar the deck’s beauty and, if not addressed promptly, can lead to more serious and potentially costly damage.

Don’t let these stubborn blemishes get the best of you or your outdoor living space. In this article, we will arm you with five straightforward, tried-and-true home remedies to help you restore your wood deck to its former glory. So, let’s dive right in.

Home Remedy 1: Dish Soap and Warm Water

Let’s talk about dish soap, a humble household staple I bet you never thought could be a deck-cleaning hero.

It works so well because of its surfactant properties, which can efficiently break down the sunscreen residue.

To create a soapy water solution, grab a bucket, fill it with warm water, and add a few generous squirts of dish soap. Stir it well until you see a good amount of suds.

When scrubbing the deck, I find using a soft-bristled cleaning brush works. Dip it into the soapy solution and scrub the stained areas gently. Once you’re done scrubbing, rinse the deck thoroughly with a hose.

But remember, moderation is key! You don’t want to scrub too hard or too long in one area, which can inadvertently damage the wood.

Home Remedy 2: White Vinegar Solution

Now, onto one of my all-time favorites: white vinegar. This pantry staple is not just for pickling eggs or cleaning windows. Its acidic properties make it an excellent choice for breaking down stubborn sunscreen stains.

Mix one part vinegar with two parts water to make your homemade vinegar solution. You can apply it using a spray bottle or a sponge. I prefer the spray bottle for its ease of use and even coverage.

What’s great about vinegar is that not only does it help remove stains and preserve your deck by eliminating mold and mildew—a common issue in damp areas.

However, heed my advice: always do a spot test before applying vinegar solution all over the deck to ensure it doesn’t discolor or damage the wood.

Home Remedy 3: Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is another everyday item that we all have in our cupboards, and guess what? It makes a great deck cleaner, too!

The nature of baking soda allows it to be abrasive enough to remove stubborn stains but gentle enough not to harm the underlying wood. It’s like using sandpaper but without the potential for serious damage.

Creating the paste is as simple as combining equal parts baking soda and warm water. I usually start with a cup of each and add more as needed. Stir until you’ve got a paste thick enough to stay in place but not too dry or crumbly.

Regarding the application, I like to use a soft scrubbing brush. Just dip the brush into the paste and scrub the stained areas, following the grain of the wood for the best results.

After scrubbing, be sure to rinse the deck thoroughly with water. Baking soda, being a salt, can leave a residue if not completely washed away. And don’t forget to let the deck dry completely before you walk on it or move furniture back.

Just like with dish soap, go easy on the scrubbing. Baking soda is gentle, but scrubbing too hard or too long in one spot could damage the wood.

Home Remedy 4: Lemon and Salt Scrub

Let me introduce you to my secret weapon – the lemon and salt scrub. This might sound like something you’d use in a gourmet kitchen, but it’s just as effective on your deck.

The natural acidity of lemon juice works wonders on sunscreen stains, and when combined with abrasive salt, it’s a match made in heaven.

Mix one cup of fresh lemon juice with half a cup of salt to make the scrub. Stir them until the salt is well incorporated. You should get a thick paste-like scrub.

For the application, you can use the same brush you used with the baking soda paste. Grab your scrubbing brush, dip it in the scrub, and gently work it into the stained areas.

However, one thing you should be aware of is that lemon can lighten wood. So, after scrubbing, rinse off the scrub promptly and thoroughly.

As always, remember to let the deck dry completely before using it. The lemony, fresh smell is a bonus!

Home Remedy 5: Mineral Spirits

For those tougher stains that seem to laugh in the face of your elbow grease, I bring you my ultimate solution – Mineral Spirits.

These bad boys are solvents known for their prowess in dissolving many substances, including hardy sunscreen residues.

Mineral Spirits as a Solvent for Sunscreen Residues

Imagine it’s a sunny day, and you have slathered sunscreen all over, but alas, some of it finds its way onto your beloved deck.

Fear not, for mineral spirits are here to save the day. With their unique properties, these spirits are tough on stains but gentle on your deck.

Proper Application Techniques and Safety Precautions

When using mineral spirits, it’s crucial to be mindful of safety. Always wear gloves, and ensure you’re in a well-ventilated area, as the fumes can be potent.

To apply, pour a small amount onto a clean cloth and gently rub it on the stained area. It’s like magic watching the stain disappear!

Benefits of Mineral Spirits for Tougher Stains

One of the beauties of using mineral spirits is their effectiveness on stubborn stains.

I remember when a glob of sunscreen had hardened on my deck, and nothing seemed to work. Enter mineral spirits, the stain was gone within minutes!

Adequate Ventilation during Application

I cannot stress enough the importance of good air circulation when using mineral spirits. The fumes can build up and cause dizziness or worse.

Always ensure windows and doors are open, and take regular breaks for fresh air.


So, there you have it, folks – five fabulous home remedies for those pesky sunscreen stains. We’ve got you covered from dish soap and water, baking soda paste, and my secret weapon, the lemon and salt scrub, to the mighty mineral spirits.

Remember, the key to maintaining the gorgeous appearance of your deck is prompt action. The quicker you tackle that sunscreen stain, the greater your chances of removing it entirely.

To keep your deck stain-free in the future, regular maintenance is crucial. Just simple sweeping and occasional washing can go a long way in preserving its beauty.

And the best part? These remedies are effective, eco-friendly, and light on the wallet. So, here’s to maintaining our decks, preserving the environment, and saving cash while we’re at it!

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