Prevent Benzoyl Peroxide from Staining Your Clothes

8 Tips to Keep Benzoyl Peroxide from Bleaching Your Clothes, Towels, and Sheets

Benzoyl peroxide is a really good acne treatment.  It also leaves funky orange stains on nearly everything it touches.  I can't tell you how many towels, pillowcases, cute pajamas and favorite T-shirts I've ruined over the years.

There's no way to stop benzoyl peroxide from bleaching.  If it gets on your fabrics, it's going to stain.  The best thing you can do is prevent the medication from coming in contact with your fabrics in the first place.

Which, it seems, is easier said than done.  It's insidious, stains popping up where you least expect them.

So, while you may still succumb to a stained towel here and there, these tips will go a long way in helping you prevent benzoyl peroxide bleach marks.

1
Rub in well and let dry thoroughly.

Man looking at his reflection; using facial toner
Protect your clothes from Benzoyl Peroxide. Paper Boat Creative / Getty Images

Before you dress, make sure that benzoyl peroxide medication is good and dry.  And make sure you wash your hands well with soap and water after application.

If you're using a benzoyl peroxide cleanser, rinse your face extremely well before toweling off.

But I always rubbed my BPO in well, let it dry thoroughly, and washed my hands after application.  And it still found a way to bleach my towels, sheets, and clothing! 

So, while it's a good place to start, it's not always enough to prevent stains.

2
Think white linens.

White towels and sheets look crisp and clean.  And they can't be bleached out by benzoyl peroxide. 

Since I've never been able to keep benzoyl peroxide from coming in contact with my towels and sheets, even with careful treatment, white is the linen color of choice here.

3
Buy benzoyl peroxide-resistant sheets and towels.

File this one under "who knew?"  There are actually linens that are designed to resist benzoyl peroxide bleaching.

So, if you're bored with white sheets and towels, you may want to invest in some of these products. 

I've found benzoyl peroxide resistant linens at Target, Kmart, and LL Bean.

4
Apply your BPO only at night (and wear old PJs).

Even when benzoyl peroxide is completely dry, I've found it easily transfers to clothing.  All it takes is a brush of a sleeve or a rub of a collar and you've got a stain.

If it's an option for you, try applying benzoyl peroxide at night only.  Wear pajamas you don't mind staining.  Shower in the morning before dressing.  

5
Don't sweat.

Any tiny bit of moisture sets benzoyl peroxide to staining.  Obviously, if you live in a humid or hot climate you can't really sweat-proof yourself.  But you can take care not to get that sweat on your clothes (i.e. don't use your sleeve to wipe a sweaty brow).

And here's something you may not have thought about.  If you apply benzoyl peroxide at night, and head out for your workout first thing in the morning, that medication is still there on your skin waiting to stain your workout clothes and towel.

6
Wear a white undershirt.

Using benzoyl peroxide on your back or chest?  Wear a white undershirt to keep it from transferring to your clothes.  Easy peasy. 

7
Keep possible BPO-tainted laundry separate.

When certain articles of clothing started showing up with odd stains, I thought I was somehow having bleach mishaps in the laundry room.  Then one day I realized that my pajamas were transferring benzoyl peroxide to other items in the laundry.

Put anything that comes in contact with benzoyl peroxide in a separate hamper, and don't wash in the same load as your good stuff. 

Remember, benzoyl peroxide is sneaky!  Even if you don't see it on the fabric, it may still be there.

8
If you really can't take it, try another acne treatment.

This is a last resort, especially if benzoyl peroxide is working well for you. 

But if you're so frustrated you're ready to throw out your acne treatments, talk to your dermatologist.  Ask if there is a benzoyl peroxide-free medication that would work for you instead.

OTC benzoyl peroxide users beware -- no other over-the-counter acne treatment is as effective.  If you're considering dumping your OTC benzoyl peroxide, the next best option is a prescription acne medication.

Next Steps:

Tips for Using Benzoyl Peroxide

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