Tanner Skin

How to Wash and Clean a Tanning Mitt

How to Wash and Clean a Tanning Mitt in 2 Minutes


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A tanning mitt is a must for achieving an even, streak-free tan. They will not only protect your palms against tanning dark-stained hands but also ensure smooth and even tanner skin

However, following each use they must be cleaned to avoid bacteria and germs from spreading. Aside from not giving bacteria and germs a breeding space, an improperly-cleaned mitt can cause unpleasant streaks while using it for tan. Since cleaning a mitt can be a simple process when done correctly, the tanning mitt should be cleaned after each use so the tanning product does not remain in different areas of the glove.


Should You Clean Your Tanning Mitt or Buy a New One?

You can reuse your tanning mitt by cleaning them, and you can always buy a new one if you don’t want to wash them, it totally depends on you. 

For best results though, it is recommended to buy 2-3 reusable tanning mitts and rotate usage between them. That way you make sure your tanning mitt is always clean and ready for use. 

If you don’t know that before, now you know!


If after several reusing, your tanning mitt becomes worn out, then you should buy a new one to replace it. 

It is also important not to share your personal mitt with anyone else. Using another person’s mitt can quickly give you a rash or other skin irritation.

How to Wash and Clean a Tanning Mitt

How to Wash a Tanning Mitt
How to Wash a Tanning Mitt

To wash and clean your tanning mitt, follow these easy steps:


Things You’ll Need:

  • Warm water
  • Cleaning agents, such as detergent, liquid soap, or tanning lotion cleaner
  • Soft cloths

Steps To Clean Your Mitt:

Washing and Cleaning a Tanning Mitt

After each use, your tanning mitt should be rinsed and washed with water, then allowed to dry. Do not leave it in a moist environment like the shower or tub, because it will get moldy. Instead, store in a dry place until the next use. 

Total Time: 2 minutes


Mix soap with warm water

Mix soap with warm water

Mix your preferred soap with warm water in a bowl large enough to completely submerge the mitt.

Soak the mitt for 30 Minutes

Soak the mitt for 30 Minutes

Soak the tanning mitt in the soapy warm water for 30 minutes. Make sure that water penetrates into all areas of the glove.

Scrub the surface of the mitt

Scrub the surface of the mitt

Use a soft cloth or your hand to scrub the surface of the mitt, removing the tanning product stains without damaging or breaking down the microfibers. 


Squeeze and rinse gently

Squeeze and rinse gently

Take the tanning mitt out of the soapy water, squeeze gently, and rinse again with fresh warm water to remove suds from the mitt.

Hang the tanning mitt to dry

Hang the tanning mitt to dry

Once clean, pour out any excess water and hang flat to dry in an open space. Avoid hanging it to dry inside a confined space to prevent musty smells and the breeding of bacteria.

You can also clean other tanning equipment in the same fashion, including your flannel mitt, gloves, and body applicator mitts used with tanning lotions. Don’t forget to always store your tanning gloves and other tanning equipment in a dry plastic bag or container when not in use.

Also Checkout:  How To Apply Self Tanner Without a Mitt: 5 Tanning Mitt Alternatives

How Long Does a Tanning Mitt Take to Dry?

A tanning mitt can take 5 hours or more to dry depending on the weather. On a very sunny day, your tanning mitt can take less than 3 hours to dry but when it’s cloudy; it could take up to 5 hours or more. If you are impatient and cannot wait for it to hang dry, consider using a hairdryer to speed up the process.

How to Dry Your Tanning Mitt Faster?

As recommended earlier, it’s always safe and smart to have 3 tanning mitts to rotate usage. However, if you don’t have mitts to rotate through, and are on a time crunch that can’t wait for your glove to hang dry then check out the below six straight-to-the-point strategic methods on how to dry your tanning mitt faster.

  1. Use a dryer.
  2. Place the wet tanning mitt in front of a fan and rotate it occasionally.
  3. Place the tanning mitt in front of a heater on the lowest-medium setting to help dry it.
  4. Roll your tanning glove into a dry towel and squeeze to dry
  5. Place your glove on a dry towel and iron it till it dries
  6. Don’t have a dryer? Use an oven but be careful.

Are Self Tanning Mitts Worth It? 

Totally, self-tanning mitts are worth every single penny because of the comfort they bring. Although, for many, the answer is no. While it is not necessary to invest in a self-tanning mitt because some tanning lotions can be applied to the skin with bare hands, it is always recommended to make the switch because of the end result and comfort. 


A tanning mitt will keep your palms clean of excess tanner and lotion. This is also one of the major reasons most tanning salons provide a mitt with each purchase of a tanning membership, even though you can always bring your own.

Amongst the other benefits of a tanning mitt is that it will help you economize your tanning product by soaking up the excess lotion and spreading it thinner across the body, ensuring the tanner is rubbed evenly. You will be surprised you only need a small amount because of how much tanner you get to save.

What Are Tanning Mitts Made From?

Most tanning mitt is typically made of 100% cotton, while some have a velvet-like feel on the hand. 


Tanning mitts are used to protect hands so it doesn’t get stained during the application of self-tanners. In some cases, the entire glove is made from cotton while others have just a satin-like liner on the inside.

While today, mitts are now made of “pumice” rubber, latex, or vinyl, these materials are very flexible and can easily be washed, dried, and reused many times. They’re also inexpensive enough that you can purchase replacement rubber mitts if you don’t want to wash or reuse them for your tanning session.

It’s important to know that the material a mitt is made from changes the way you should clean and maintain it. If cotton is used, then it is absorbent and the tanning mitt can be cleaned in a washing machine with most soap, but it is recommended to wash them with warm water. 


However, if a synthetic material is used, then it is best to spot clean with soapy water.

​When shopping around, you will find that there are some tanning mitts made from microfiber, nylon, and several other synthetic materials. Depending on the manufacturer, this may be because of several reasons like allergies or personal preference for a different material.

​With such varieties of options available (and with some manufacturers trying to pass microfiber or nylon as “cotton”), it’s important that you do your research before making a purchase.


So, Are All Tanning Mitts The Same?

No, tanning mitts are not all the same. Using just any mitt that pops on your radar, might get you streaks, and that means an uneven-looking tan. 

There are some things to look out for when choosing a tanning mitt, and amongst the most important ones is the material of the mitt, and then the color. Right before purchasing your mitt, you should try to touch and feel the material it’s made from and ask yourself; does this feels good? I’m I comfortable using this?

So, Are All Tanning Mitts The Same

Then ask yourself about the color, is this mitt too light for me to maintain? Will I be able to wash this mitt? Brown, dark, or black mitts are recommended for people that cannot use and maintain a lighter color mitt. And who says it has to be just white? There are mitts in all shades of light and dark. 


If you are not sure what color is best for your skin tone, ask your saloon attendants for advice when purchasing your mitt.

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Tanning salon operators usually provide each client with a new mitt when they purchase their first tanning session, but there is usually an extra one available and you should ask for it. This way, when one mitt gets dirty, you have an extra clean one to use instead of just using your hands.


Another money-saving tip is to ensure you wash your tanning mitt with warm water and hang them to dry after each use. 


How Long Can a Tanning Mitt Be Used?

Depending on the usage, a tanning mitt can be used for up to a year if you maintain it properly and don’t tan often. However, if you tan a lot, hereby using your mitt often, then your tanning glove might need to be replaced about once every four months.

It’s important not to keep using a tanning glove for too long because they need to be in good condition to deliver a soothing, good looking, and streak-free tan

As mentioned above, after every tanning session, wash, dry, and store your glove in a dry plastic bag or container to prevent musty smells and breeding bacteria.


How Often Should You Wash Your Tanning Mitt?

It’s recommended you wash your tanning mitt after every use. When washing your mitt, make sure to not only focus on cleaning the side of the mitt that touches your skin, you should wash every part of the mitt. This will help preserve its life, so you do not need to buy new ones every time you need to tan.

It’s important to note that If you don’t have mitts you rotate, your only mitt that frequently gets washed after every use, might not last as long as it should. It is best to have 3 tanning mitts, so you can rotate and prolong their life.

Can You Use a Damp or Wet Tanning Mitt?

No, you should not use a damp or wet tanning mitt for your tanning sessions. To ensure even and streak-free tanning, always be sure to use a clean and dry mitt. A damp mitt will often lead to streaking, uneven tanning, and product build-up. It’s even worse when it’s wet because the water can drip down and irritate the eyes or nose, and cause the product to streak.


What Happens if You Use a Wet Tanning Mitt?

Using a wet mitt will lead to streaking, uneven tanning, and product build-up. Always use a dry tanning mitt. If you use a wet mitt, the water from the wet mitt can cause the tanning product to drip into your eyes and cause stinging or burning sensations.

How Do You Deep Clean a Tanning Mitt?

Deep cleaning a tanning mitt is not always necessary since it’s recommended to clean them after every use. But what happens if your schedule became tight or you are just lazy to wash your mitt immediately? Since most tanning mitts are made from a breathable material like cotton, leaving your mitt with the self tanning lotion in it for more than a day can cause the mitt to become dried in and the mitt stiff.

If that is your situation, how then do you restore your tanning mitt back to its glory? You guess it right, you need to deep clean it.


To deep clean your tanning mitt, follow the steps below:

  • Use the dull side of a kitchen knife, to scrape away the dried in tanning lotion, if needed.
  • After scrubbing, rub on some liquid laundry soap directly into the mitt and let it sit and soak for about 15 minutes to make sure that water penetrates properly into the mitt. In case you don’t have liquid soap, you can also use a detergent to make a soap solution with very little water.
  • After 15 mins of soaking, grab one of those old toothbrushes you no longer use and wet it with a few drops of water, then lightly scrub both sides of the mitt.
  • After scrubbing, now rinse the tanning mitt with freshwater, or rinse under running water to get out all the brushed dirt.
  • Then transfer into your washing machine or hand wash your mitt as you normally would till all tan stain is gone, but wash separately from any other cloth.
  • Take out and squeeze but not too hard.
  • Hang and air dry your tanning mitt outside to make sure it gets fresh air and direct sunlight.

Don’t Want to Clean Your Mitt? Here’s What You Can Use Instead of a Tanning Mitt?

There are some other products on the market that people tend to use in place of a mitt. These are products you can quickly purchase instead of a tanning mitt, but they might not get you the same desired results.

1. Bearback Lotion Applicator

The Bearback Lotion Applicator is not just a typical lotion applicator, you can rest assured that it is designed with your satisfaction in mind as the applicator features a non-slip rubber grip that feels great in your hand and gives you perfect control as you blissfully apply your tanning lotion with it.


It also has a luxurious soft-touch matte finish you’ll love. The handles are as long as 17″ (inch) and ergonomically curved, which allows you to reach wherever you need and apply as much or little pressure as you like.

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2. Lambswool Mitt

Mary Moppins Pure 100% Lambswool Wash Mitt is another product that can be used in place of a tanning mitt. The Lambswool Mitt is fluffy and identical to a typical tanning mitt but just softer and fluffier.

3. Use Socks

What a tanning mitt can do, a sock can as well. With the right material, your socks can help you out as an alternative to a tanning glove.


Make sure your socks are clean and turned inside out, now apply the self-tan lotion on your skin, then spread and rub it on with the sock.

The thicker the material of the sock, the better for your palms because the thick fabric of the socks will prevent the tanner from soaking into your hands and getting your hands colored.

4. Ocelo Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges

You can also make use of soft sponges in place of tanning mitts like the Ocelo Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges. Just as the name implies, it is a patterned non-scratch sponge that can serve as a perfect alternative for a tanning mitt.


5. Microfiber cloths

Microfiber cloths are typically soft towels used to clean your car or other house items. However, they are highly reusable and can also be used to replace a tanning mitt.

Microfibre towels are made with over 110,000 fibers per square inch, allowing for a smooth and even tan. The only downside is that it can absorb eight times its weight in water which means it will soak in a lot of your tanning lotion and you may need to use more lotion than usual

6. Cosmetic Sponges

The beauty sponge applicator is originally designed for applying makeup around the eyes and areas that need ultra-precise blending, but it can also double down as a perfect tan applicator because of its shape and material.


Made of carefully selected non-latex vegan material with fine pores and full elasticity combined with a unique shape, the beauty sponge can help blend tanning contour and precise concealing of stretch marks and spots.

This product swells quickly after full absorption and absorbs minimal tanning lotion!

7. Paper towels

Don’t want to have to reuse a tanning mitt or have to wash them? Then this HYGIENIC motion-activated touchless tissue dispenser is your perfect bet.


Pacific Blue Ultra Paper Towel Roll is compact and hands-free designed to fit in tight spaces. Helps you reduce the stress and get rid of the headache that comes with having to clean a tanning mitt.

How Often Should You Replace a Tanning Mitt?

it’s recommended to replace your tanning mitt after 16-20 use if you are tanning twice a week which can span up to about four months. This will help ensure you are not breeding bacteria and the mitt material still holds up to give you an even and streak-free tanning.


How Do You Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Tanning Mitt?

No tanning mitt will last forever, and although, knowing when it’s time to replace a tanning mitt can be a matter of personal preference and standard. Even with proper care, the best tanning mitt will still eventually wear down and need to be replaced. Every single person has their standards, but, generally speaking, the lifespan of a tanning mitt is majorly tied to three things:

  • How it’s cared for
  • How often it’s used
  • The quality of the mitt

It’s understandable that your tanning mitt does not usually make the priority list, but when they become too old, they will no longer be effective, and you will generally know it’s time for a mitt replacement when; 

  • They no longer tan you evenly and now cause streaks
  • They now stink. This happens because they’ve likely become home to unseen germs and bacteria
  • You have to run the mitt over your body several times to get an even tan
  • There are either tears, holes, or even frays on it
  • When the original color has become faded due to multiple washes.

Final Thoughts

So, you probably won’t experience any major health effects from not immediately cleaning your tanning mitt for multiple days or even weeks. But, it’s hygienic to clean and wash your tanning mitt after every use. If you cannot wash every use, try to get extra mitts for regular rotation.

Damp mitts and gloves are prone to becoming home to dead skin cells and harmful bacteria. So, after every use; washing your tanning mitt is sufficient for getting rid of dead skin cells that lurk in its fabric and also kill germs which in turn refreshes your mitt. 


To ensure your mitt are fresh and last long, always hang them and let them fully dry between uses.

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