Sunscreen vs. the sun

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A domestic aside.

The sun is amazingly strong here. My eyes take time to adjust every time I venture outside. Sunglasses have to be close at hand and are usually dangling around my neck. Skin cancer rates are almost epidemic in Australia. We are both fair, so we use sunscreen recommended by the Dermatologist, Neutrogena with Helioplex, and SPF shirts. The problem is the sunscreen leaves orange stains on clothing and pillowcases. At first I thought it was rust from the water but a little investigation on the internet revealed that yes indeed, sunscreen stains. One site even mentioned carotene as an ingredient. Carotene is the orange in carrots.

Twin tub washer

We use a cute little device called a twin tub washer here. You fill it with a hose, wash in one tub then move the clothes over to spin them. The downside is you see how dirty the water gets after the wash. Super duper cleaners

Most cleaning solvents here are “professional strength”, concentrated and 3X strength. But none could get out the stains. Tim had some really orange ones all over the collars and sleeves of his SPF shirts. One was white, so I scrubbed it, soaked it, bleached it, threw some vinegar in the water for good measure and used the 3X industrial strength cleaners. No luck. It remained orange and so did his tan one, which I was reluctant to bleach. The photo on the left is AFTER the wash.

After wash, before juice  After juice

So I thought about the sun. And I remembered my teens when lemon juice and sun were all the rage to lighten your hair and, in fact, my hair is getting bleached by the sun. I have good old lemon juice in the fridge so….I took some lemon juice and squirted it on the collars and turned the clothes line to face the sun. Within an hour the stains were gone. Why spend all this money on cleaning products when simple things like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and good old fashioned elbow grease do the trick?

Ironic that it took the sun to clean the sunscreen.

Lemon juice

One thought on “Sunscreen vs. the sun

  1. many stories from my mom and inlaws about hanging the poo-stained cloth diapers outside in the sun, year-round to get them white, it still works and even better than all the chemicals i guess….c

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