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How to Clean Your Tanning Mitt (for Glowing Tan Application)

How to Clean Your Tanning Mitt for the *Perfect* Glowy Application

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Main image – Floraldeco/Adobe

Your tanning mitt is one of your most important allies in the quest for an even, streak-free glow (extending that post-holiday glow, anyone?). 

Not only that but your mitt prevents potentially embarrassing tan hands (is there any bigger giveaway?).

A good tanning mitt will last a long time, but to get the best out of your self-tan application you *are* going to need to clean it after every use to keep it in good shape and to avoid residue buildup. 

That’s why we spoke to Rick Rome, CEO and founder of WashClub, a New York-based on-demand laundry service, for his expert tips on how to keep your mitt sparkling every time.


How to Clean Your Tanning Mitt (for Glowing Tan Application)

Image – Anastasia/adobe


The tools you’ll need

To get started, you’ll want to gather a few cleaning tools, but don’t worry, you very probably already have these at home.

They include a bowl or sink filled with lukewarm water and a mild detergent.

Harsh cleaning solutions can damage your mitt but a gentle detergent will help to remove stains and get any tanning lotion residue out. A gentle laundry detergent or baby soap will work.

You might also want to have a soft sponge to hand to scrub any stains on your tanning mitt.


How to clean your tanning mitt

“Items like a tanning mitt should be washed after each use,” Rick explains. “Instead of tossing the mitt in the washing machine, you should rinse off the excess product under warm water and hand wash it in a bowl or sink filled with warm water and mild detergent,” the expert adds.

Ok but what about those self-tan stains?

“Use your hands to gently wash the mitt focusing on areas heavily soiled with tanning product. After handwashing, you can rinse the mitt again until the water runs clear and bubble-free,” Rick says.

Be patient for this step. It can take some effort to really get your mitt completely clean. And don’t ever be tempted to wash your tanning mitt in the same bowl as any other towels or clothes. Washing your tanning mitt with other fabric items could cause those items to become stained. 

Once you’ve got your mitt clean though, you’ll want to preserve the shape of it by drying it carefully.  “Avoid squeezing or ringing out the mitt. Instead, gently fold the mitt together to remove any excess water and let it drip dry,” Rick says.


How to Clean Your Tanning Mitt (for Glowing Tan Application)

Image – Floraldeco/Adobe


Mistakes to avoid when you clean your tanning mitt

It’s important to avoid a few big mistakes that people sometimes make when cleaning their mitt.

Being too harsh with your tanning mitt cleanings can easily cause damage. While it’s *really* tempting to try machine washing your mitt, it really isn’t a good idea (expect to at least destroy the shape, if not anything else you wash your mitt with if you do).

You also need to avoid ringing out your tanning mitt or squeezing it to get the water out, as you can easily change it’s shape, making it harder to use.


The takeaway

Your tanning mitt makes it super easy to maintain a great-looking, flawless tan all throughout the year.  If you’ve invested in a good mitt, you’re going to want to get the best out of it by keeping it clean. 

Give your mitt a thorough cleaning after each and every self-tanning session so that it stays in great shape and lasts a long time (or at least through wedding guest season)!


Meet the expert

Rick Rome is the CEO and Founder of WashClub, an on-demand laundry and dry-cleaning service based in New York.




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Sally Underwood is a journalist, *serious* beauty fan, and Editor-in-Chief of Live That Glow. Formerly Editorial Director of one of Europe's largest newspaper groups, Sally has been a beauty obsessive since her teen years spent dragging her long-suffering (but immaculately-groomed) friends around every beauty counter in London. She now leads Live That Glow's editorial operations.

Expertise: Skincare, Body care
Education: University College London

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