By Victoria Moorhouse
Updated Jun 08, 2017 @ 12:30 pm

Stain removal is a skill that validates bragging rights, but the true test of excellence in our book? Getting self-tanner out of crisp white sheets. For being two things we love, particularly in the summer season, they definitely have an oil-and-water relationship.

But before you toss your shabby chic decor out the window because you can’t give up your self-tanner, you should know there is a way to treat the spots.

Many self-tanners claim they won’t leave behind stains, and we’ve tested plenty that have lived up to the word, but if it does happen, here’s your out.

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First, you should know the popular tanning ingredient, dihydroxyacetone, isn’t what causes stains, according to Clorox’s in-house cleaning and laundry expert Mary Gagliardi, also known as Dr. Laundry. It’s actually colorless, and what really causes the stain is the other ingredients combined with the oils in the formula or any colorants used to give the product color.

So her best tips? First, pre-treat the fabric while it’s dry by massaging liquid detergent into the stain. Then, wait 10 minutes and rinse out with warm tap water. Repeat this process. Then, for whites like white sheets, Dr. Laundry suggests using a product like Clorox Ultimate Care Bleach and then washing immediately in the hottest water recommended water with detergent and a cup of the aforementioned bleach.

After the washer finishes its cycle, air-dry and make sure the stain is gone before you pop it into the dryer.