The care and maintenance of jackets
September 23, 2013 10:59 PM   Subscribe

How do I remove sunscreen stains from waterproof-breathable fabric?

The fabric in question is 'Entrant DV', nylon with a polyurethane backing, sort of a lower-end form of Gore-tex. Sunscreen oil has stained the interior neck of the jacket and I don't want the fabric to lose the waterproofing there.

The manufacturer suggested dishwashing soap and scrubbing, but after a go at that the stains remain. Googling provides guides on how to re-proof the DWR coating on a garment but nothing about removing stains - any ideas? If I buy some DWR coating and re-apply it, will the stains impede the breathability/waterproofing?
posted by zennish to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (3 answers total)
Avobenzone, an ingredient in sunscreen, oxidizes the iron minerals
found in the water. The reaction between the avobenzone and iron cause a colored stain (rust) on your garment.

Stain removal, different materials.
posted by JujuB at 7:19 AM on September 24, 2013

Ask your dry cleaner. They should know how to clean it.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:52 AM on September 24, 2013

I have not tried this on sunscreen specifically, but I have had excellent results using Nikwax Tech Wash on grimy, bug and oil-stained motorcycle gear. It's designed for use with waterproof/breathable textiles and is, in fact, what the people at Gore recommended for use on Gore-Tex when I went through apparel certification with BMW.

Waterproof/breathable garments are totally washable; some manufacturers (including Gore) even recommend tumble-drying to renew the membrane. If you wish to re-treat with a DWR, use a high-quality one like Nikwax TX-Direct. Don't use Camp Dry or any silicone-based products.

(I'm not a shill for Nikwax, I swear. I just have lots of experience using and selling their products.)
posted by workerant at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2013

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