I'm a laundry expert – here's how to remove sun cream, sand & sweat stains… & the tennis ball hack for soft beach towels | The Sun

SUMMER can mean sun, sea and sangria – but it can also mean an array of pesky stains that are tricky to treat with just a normal washing machine cycle alone.

From sun cream, sand and sweat – there's a whole host of issues that arise in the hot weather when it comes to the laundry.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tips and tricks to ensuring your summer clothes remain stain-free.

Here, washing expert and eco laundry brand Wilton London founder Sam Whigham reveals his top tips to sparkling whites, his trick to getting sand out of your swimwear, and the tennis ball hack that guarantees soft beach towels…

When life gives you lemons…

When the sun is out, it's absolutely vital we apply sun cream – but this can often result in unsightly yellow stains around the edges of our clothes.

Sam says: "It’s not summer without a few sun cream stains to haunt your whites, and they are really tough to get rid of.

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"The main culprit is an ingredient found in almost every sun cream called 'Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane'.

"It's tough to wash off your clothes because it reacts with the natural iron minerals in our tap water and creates yellowy / orange stains – those stains are essentially rust.

"Many stain removers will make it worse rather than make it vanish.

"So I like to use a combination of salt and lemon.

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"Flush the stain with cool water and squeeze lemon juice on top if the stains.

"Then lay your garment down and add a little salt to the stain.

"Leave it for a few hours then throw in the wash as normal with a laundry liquid."

Sand solution

When you take a trip to the beach, it can feel like you end up taking half the beach home with you.

You don’t want all that sand clogging up your washing machine, so there are a few things you can do.

"There’s a scientific reason that means sand sticks to everything.

"Sand is hydrophilic, meaning it clings to everything wet and being ever so small, it finds its way into every nook and cranny.

"Before you put them in the wash, shake them down or hang them out on the washing line and give them a good beating.

"Then, a soak in a cold bath with a little laundry liquid will help release the sand from the fibres.

"Shake and agitate them then pull them out after 10 minutes or so.

"A lesser known tip is to use fabric conditioner before you go.

"Fabric conditioner helps remove static and is hydrophobic so it repels water which should stop your clothes from picking up as much sand in the first place.

"Just make sure to use a biodegradable fabric conditioner."

Tennis ball towel hack

After a summer of being dragged around the beaches, towels often lose their softness and can become scratchy.

Sam says: "Beach towels get a lot thrown at them. The sun cream and sweat can build up on them causing fibres to clump together and lose their fluffiness.

"Combine that with hard water and your towel may feel more like sandpaper.

The solution? Sam says: "Chuck your scratchy towels in the tumble dryer with a few tennis balls.

"The rough fibres of the tennis balls will help break up the clumped fibres making them much softer.

"You can keep your carbon footprint low by hanging them out to dry, then when they’re nearly dry, pop them in the dryer for a 15 min spin with a few tennis balls."

Shapeless swimwear

Our swimming costumes endure a lot, and as a result, they never seem to last very long.

Sam says: "They’re exposed to a lot of sun, sun cream, chlorine and salt. No wonder they need a bit of special care.

"Washers have a tendency to damage the elasticity of your swimmers.

"It’s worth spending the time hand-washing with a gentle laundry liquid instead.

"Leave them to soak in warm water and laundry liquid, treat them gently without wringing and hang them out to dry instead of tumble drying.

"The more delicate items can be left to dry flat, this will help them keep their shape.

"Try adding a tiny amount of fabric conditioner, which will help maintain colours."

How to keep your summer clothes clean

Here, Wilton London laundry expert Sam share’s his top tips to keeping on top of the washing this summer…

  • Dry your whites outside in the sun – the sun’s natural rays will help bleach your whites without using any energy.
  • You don’t always need stain remover – a little laundry liquid directly on the stain can often do the trick.
  • Hot washes don’t help with most stains, it can often lock them in. Stick to 60 max.
  • Freeze it. When an item of clothing needs a freshen up (like jeans), pop them in a bag in the freezer for 24 hours. It will kill off the bacteria causing most smells.
  • A short wash isn’t always more economical. Most eco wash settings use less power and less water over a longer wash period.
  • Only do full laundry loads and hand wash the odd items to save power, water and money.
  • Wash clothes with a zip or delicate items inside out. It stops them snagging on other items in your wash.
  • Wash a stain as quickly as possible, if you get the stain in the wash within minutes, it will nearly always come right off.

Red red wine

Did the Sangria miss your glass and ruin your favourite top?

Sam says: "The deep red colour and tannins inside red wine makes it notoriously difficult to remove.

"Don’t worry, red wine is easy if you act quick.

"Most red wine stains will come out if you wash them quickly on a coolish wash.

"Act quick and add a little laundry liquid directly to the stain. But if you left the stain until you got home, you might need the help of some oxygen bleach.

"Mix a little laundry Oxy bleach with warm water to form a paste.

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"Pour that on the stain and leave for a few hours.

"Pop it in the wash at 60 (if your garment can go that warm) with laundry liquid and another scoop of oxy bleach and your favourite top will be sangria free."

Wilton London products are now available to buy in Sainsbury's.

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