How to Get Spray Tan off Tanning Salon Towels

Spray tan towels are invaluable during the tanning process, and thanks to them, you or your clients get a flawless finish to their tan, and you can easily clean up after a tanning session. Now, the problem is how to get spray tan off tanning salon towels.

Those tanning sprays, lotions and creams can wreak havoc on fresh, white linens. With the proper care and cleaning tips, you’ll know how to tackle spray tan on towels and refresh your laundry to give guests clean, like-new linens.


How to Remove Fake Tan Spray From Towels

While it’s great that spray tan stains the skin a warm, glowing shade, it isn’t good news for your towels. Because of the nature of the product, it may seem at first that there’s no way to remove those pesky tan streaks from your linens, but don’t worry, there are ways to get spray tan off salon towels.

First, know that most tanning products contain some sort of color additive, like dihydroxyacetone, which serves to tint the skin. That dye, or others like it, combine with an oil-based ingredient in tanning products to deliver the best results for your skin. Because of the ingredients, spray tan and tanning lotions are almost like makeup in that they can stain surfaces and contain tricky ingredients to clean. But if you know how to remove makeup from towels, you’re on the right track to getting spray tan off your salon towels.

With a bit of effort, you will revive your tan-stained towels. Start by taking care of the oil-based part of the formula, then move onto the dye. Follow these steps to remove fake tan spray.

Check the Tags

Before you begin with stain treatment, check the tags to ensure you do not use any cleaning methods that will harm your linens. Watch for information about:

  • Bleaching
  • Machine washing
  • What temperature to use when washing
  • Machine drying


While you want to do what you can to remove the spray tan stains from your towels, you don’t want to ruin them in the process. Even if a tag says nothing about a particular stain remover, you may want to do a small spot test to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration or the color to bleed. Most towels should work with these stain treatment options, but it’s always best to check before using cleaning products and methods on your linens.


Treat the Tanning Stains as Soon as Possible

When you apply tanning spray, it takes a bit of time to dry and give the skin its new glow. That window is your opportunity to clean stains off towels. If you wait longer and the stain gets a chance to set in and dry, it’ll be more challenging to remove.

Another hurdle to removing tanning product stains is the fact that the color develops over time. If the product is a lighter-colored lotion that develops into a tan, you may not notice it on the towel right away. By the time the color appears, it means the product is drying and setting. Care for stains even if you don’t see them, especially if you think some product got onto the linens.

Flush the Stain From Your Salon Towels

Use cold water on the towel to flush the stain and keep it from drying. To get the excess product out of your towels without scraping or pushing at the stain, which would make it worse, be sure to:

  • Hold the linen under cold running water.
  • Make sure the stain is facing away from you and the faucet.
  • Avoid rubbing the stain as you’re rinsing it.

Those steps will make sure the stain doesn’t soak deeper into the fibers of your towel, which would make it more challenging to remove and risks permanently staining your linens. Remember to rinse with cold water, and you can even use sparkling water if you want to help loosen up the stain even more.

Clean the Fake Tan Spray Stain

Once you flush the stain and remove as much excess product as you can, create a solution of liquid dish detergent and warm water. The dish detergent will help break down and remove the oil component of the tanning product. You can then:

  • Sponge the stain with the solution.
  • Go from the outer edge of the stain to the inside to prevent spreading.
  • Rinse with cold water.

If you don’t have dish detergent, you can use laundry detergent for the same effect. For extra stain-fighting power, add commercial stain remover after rinsing the laundry detergent. Check the label of the stain remover and make sure you use it according to instructions.

Launder Your Salon Towels as Usual

After the stain treatment, you should launder your towels as you typically would. Remember to check the labels for the appropriate wash setting temperature, but in general, use these temperatures for different towels:


  • Hot water for white and light-colored towels
  • Warm or cool water for black and dark-colored towels
  • Cold water for delicate fabrics or decorative towels

Along with the right water temperature, use a laundry detergent with stain-lifting enzymes that is ideal for heavy-duty washing. Remember to wash towels only with other linens, but if a towel has a lot of spray tan stains, you can wash it by itself to prevent the stain from bleeding onto clean linens.

Machine Dry If the Stains Are Gone

Check the linens after washing to see if the stain remains. If it’s gone, you can dry the towels as usual, but if it’s still there, skip the dryer in favor of additional stain treatment. Putting towels with spray tan stains in the dryer will cause the stains to set, and line drying will have the same impact. Keep the linens wet and try to remove the stain again.

Additional Treatment for Your Salon Towels

While it’s frustrating to see that your stain removal efforts didn’t pay off at first, you have more solutions to try. To take care of stubborn stains, explore the following options.


  • For white towels and linens you can bleach: Use oxygen-based bleach and cold water. Mix the right ratio according to package instructions, then soak the stained towel for around eight hours. After this soaking time, check if the stain is gone. If it is, launder as usual, but if you still have a stain, make a new bleach solution and soak the towel again. You may need to repeat this step a few times until the stain goes away.
  • For light-colored towels: If you can’t bleach lighter-colored stained towels, use hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach. To make sure it won’t cause any color bleed on your linens, test a bit on a discreet part of the towel. If the color doesn’t bleed, blot at the stain with a cotton swab soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Be careful not to rub at the stain, as that could spread it around. Rinse with cold water and wash as usual if the stain is gone.


These treatments should also work on older stains that you may not have noticed in time. If those solutions aren’t successful, make another attempt to remove the stain with vegetable glycerin, which will help break down the dye and oil from tanning products. After that, repeat the dish detergent and laundering treatment.




Other Tips for Tanning Salon Towels and Cleaning Spray Tan Stains

While you know how to get spray tan off tanning salon towels, a few precautions will help you maintain your towels and avoid having to remove spray tan stains. You’ll get the most use out of your towels, all while keeping them pristine. To prevent future stains or for some general tips on cleaning spray tan stains, consider the following.


  • Have dedicated tanning salon towels: If your business uses a variety of hand towels, washcloths and other linens, keep a specific set to use with tanning products. You won’t risk staining your other sets of towels if you have a dedicated set for using with spray tans and tanning lotions. That means you’ll know guests are getting clean linens for their other needs.
  • Go dark: Dark towels aren’t just modern accents — they’re functional, too. Darker linens help disguise stains better than white ones, so even if you struggle to get a stain out, it won’t be visible. Repeated stains on lighter towels may impact the towel over time, so avoid wear and tear with dark salon towels.
  • Choose high-quality linens: When choosing salon towels, you want the best. While soft and absorbent towels are valuable assets to have in a salon, you should also prioritize durable, bleach-proof options. High-quality towels will last longer and withstand more strains and treatment than other linens, and they’ll treat your guests to something plush and luxurious. Bleach-proof salon towels are also great for sanitation purposes, as you’ll want to bleach and launder towels to keep them clean for clients and guests.
  • Save small towels for tanning use: Guests will need larger towels to wrap up in or dry off with, but if you’re wiping up tanning products or using a towel to even out a tanning lotion, choose small towels. They’ll be easier to clean and remove stains from, and it’s easy to know where the stains are. On a larger towel, it’ll be challenging to find smaller stains, but they’ll stand out more noticeably on a hand towel or washcloth.
  • Use stained towels for cleaning: Sometimes, stains sit too long or are too tough to banish. However, you don’t have to give up on stained towels and throw them away. Instead, only use them for cleaning spray tan rooms and surfaces or for drying off after you wash tanning products off your hands. Be sure to use these towels yourself, and don’t mix them up with linens you give to guests or clients.
  • Wear a mitt when applying tanning lotion: When you apply tanning lotion, you might get the product on your hands. You then reach for a towel to remove it, and end up staining the towel. To help prevent this, use a tanning mitt to apply the product. You won’t risk staining your towels if you protect your hands from tanning stains in the first place. Wear gloves or other protective gear when working with spray tan products, as well.
  • Use high-quality tanning products: Give yourself and your clients the best with quality tanning products, and as a bonus, they may be less likely to stain towels. Tanning lotions and sprays that absorb and dry quickly on the skin may not transfer easily to towels, clothing and other fabrics. Be aware that if the product dries quickly, you may not have as much time to treat stains, but it could be a good trade-off for something that doesn’t transfer too much.
  • Treat non-washable surfaces: Removing fake spray tan from towels is a bit easier, since you can rely on the washing machine to help revive them. Treatment is a bit different for carpets, upholstery and other fabric surfaces that you can’t wash. First, use something like a dull knife to scrape the excess tanning lotion off the surface. Then, combine liquid dish soap with warm water and use a soft-bristled brush to work the solution into the stain. Blot with paper towels until the stain lifts. Be sure not to soak these fabrics.


Combine these tips to get the best use out of your salon towels and keep them clean for your clients. Prevent future stains and keep a stock of new towels pristine longer.

Get Salon Towels and Other Linens From Towel Super Center

Whether you need to replenish your stock of salon towels or get a new selection of high-quality linens, Towel Super Center has what you and your guests need. Our plush and absorbent linens will treat you or your guests to the best as they wrap up after a tanning session or show off an even, impressive tan, all thanks to towels from Towel Super Center.

Browse our selection of tanning salon towelssalon towels and bleach-resistant linens in a wide array of sizes and stylish colors. If you need other towels for your home or business, check out our wholesale towels, washcloths, hand towels and more.


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