How To Clean A Tanning Mitt

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Do you use a self-tanner frequently? What are your go-to products when self-tanning? Apart from your tanning creams, mouse, or water, it is also important to equip yourself with the right tools! 

A tanning mitt is one of the most important tools for self-tanner application. However, as you use it, it will eventually get dirty. It’s a mistake to reuse a tanning mitt without cleaning it first. 

Today, I am going to go over how to clean a tanning mitt so that you can reuse it and make it last longer. 


Why Should You Clean Your Tanning Mitt

Tanning Mitt

Tanning mitts  serve a great purpose while tanning.

It helps you better spread the products you use so it doesn’t look streaky or patchy. 

This useful tool deserves some love. And what better way to do that than to clean it? Besides, cleaning it really is a good idea.

Imagine using that velvety or spongy tanning mitt all over your body. If it isn’t clean, you aren’t just spreading that wonderful self-tanner on yourself. You’re also spreading bacteria. 

Yup. Bacteria are everywhere.

Between the left-over oils and dead skin from your previous tan, your mitt provides a home where they can thrive. Once you use a mitt, you’ll be spreading colonies of those bacteria all over your body. 

That could lead to infection, especially if you have even the tiniest cuts on your skin. So the next time you use your tanning mitt, make sure you clean it after use.

Don’t be lazy and let it sit for a few months or weeks soaking in your tanning solution. 

Okay, sometimes it isn’t actually the laziness that is hindering us from cleaning it up. Some people just don’t know how to clean it properly.

It’s actually a pretty simple process. 

How To Clean A Tanning Mitt

Cleaning a tanning mitt is easy. Most people will advise you to hand wash it. However, there are some who just throw it in a washing machine. 

You could use a washing machine to wash it. However, you have to expect some damage to the shape of the mitt or the fiber if you do. 

If you really want to preserve your tanning mitt and be able to use it longer, cleaning it by hand washing is best. 

Handwashing A Tanning Mitt

You can hand wash your tanning mitt by using warm water. This is great at removing the excess tanner that’s found on the surface of your tanning mitt. Doing this immediately after use will prevent it from staining the tanning mitt. 

You can clean your tanning mitt with warm water alone. But you can go a level higher in cleaning by using some soap. Warm, soapy water will help better remove the tanning products so it doesn’t stain your tanning mitt. 

However, don’t go too far. You don’t want to use harsh detergents while cleaning your mitt. Those could potentially damage the fiber of the tanning mitt. 

After washing with soapy water, you can wring the mitt out gently, then rinse it with plain water to remove any soap residue.

Then you’ll have to gently wring it out again to remove the excess water.

When washing your tanning mitt, make sure you wash it alone. Don’t wash it along with other clothes.

There is a potential for it to stain various fibers and fabrics.

Drying A Tanning Mitt

After washing your tanning mitt, you have to dry it properly. Wringing the water out of it doesn’t dry it up completely. It is still damp and in the perfect state to reshape it. 

After reshaping your tanning mitt, just let it air dry so that it can be used once again. Drying it in a dryer isn’t advisable. There is a potential for it to shrink or break due to the heat. 

How Often Should You Clean A Tanning Mitt?

Tanning mitts should be cleaned every after use. There is no exception to that.

Whenever you use a tanning mitt, make sure to clean and dry it so that it is ready for your next use.

If you are worried about removing your tanning products while cleaning the tanning mitts, you can clean them up later after waiting long enough that you can wet your hands. 

You can try wearing gloves so that you don’t remove too much of the tanning products on your hands while cleaning your tanning mitt.

What Happens If You Use A Dirty Tanning Mitt?

After using a tanning mitt, it is tempting to just let leave it and not clean it, particularly if you are going to use it again and it will have the same products on it again.

However, that is not good practice. 

When you use a tanning mitt and don’t clean it up after, there will be products left on the tanning mitt. The tanning mitt has been rubbed against your skin so some of the skin oils, skin cells, and bacteria can be transferred to it. 

If you let those soak, those bacteria can thrive there.

When you use it again, you’ll be introducing the bacteria back to your skin. That can cause irritation. 

Additionally, dirty tanning mitts contain old products in them. If you don’t clean them properly and use them again, you can end up having an uneven tan. 

How To Dry A Tanning Mitt Fast

Cleaning your tanning mitt is important! But you have to dry it before using it again, or you can get streaks. A wet tanning mitt can produce streaks and an uneven tan. 

So how do you dry it fast?

You can be tempted to put it in a dryer, but that isn’t a good idea because the material could be damaged due to it. 

The best way to dry it is to air dry the tanning mitt. You can speed up the process by squeezing out as much liquid as you can. After doing that, you should reshape the tanning mitt and allow it to air-dry completely. 

It would dry faster if you don’t leave it in a damp environment like the tub. Place it in an area that’s well-ventilated. You can also place it outside so that fresh air can dry it out faster. 

Replacing Your Tanning Mitt

Tanning mitts are durable products, but they’re not made to last forever.

Cleaning your tanning mitt is essential to keeping it in good condition. However, there will still come a time it’s best to just pick up a new mitt. 

Most will recommend replacing your tanning mitt every three months if you are a frequent tanner. However, you can stretch that to six months or more if you don’t frequently use the mitt. 

When your tanning mitt is permanently stained, just replace it. The leftover tanner or the stains could interfere with your next tanning application and result in an uneven or patchy tan. 

If the tanning mitt has changed in texture, again, just toss it and get another. At first, tanning mitts are soft and velvety that they glide smoothly over the skin producing an even tan. 

If your mitt has a rough texture or has lost its softness, just let it go. It doesn’t just affect the appearance of your tan, it will also affect your comfort in using it. 

Do I Really Need A Tanning Mitt?

Are you contemplating not using a tanning mitt at all when you apply your self-tanner? Tanning mitts make the self-tanner application easier.

However, some people don’t use them. It is a matter of preference.

You can go ahead and use self-tanners with your bare hands. 

Just remember that you’ll get unnaturally tanned hands and nails because your hands are exposed to the active ingredient in larger quantities and for a longer time. 

If you really don’t want to use a tanning mitt, here are a few alternatives:


Socks are a great alternative to using tanning mitts. They can help apply the product smoothly and give your hands some protection. Just make sure to use the thickest ones you find. 

Additionally, it is still possible that the product seeps in and stains your hand. Afterward, you need to wash the socks if you want to use them again to tan. Otherwise, throw them out and don’t use them as socks anymore because they’ll just stain your feet.

Rubber Gloves

Rubber gloves are another good option. Due to the rubber material, the self-tanner won’t be able to penetrate it so your hands are safe. Well, as long as the rubber glove doesn’t break or have a flat in it.

Cling Wrap

Cling wrap can work reasonably well. It will protect your hands from overexposure to the tanner. And you can throw it out without concern after you’re done. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).