How To Wash & Dry Swimsuits

how to clean a swimsuit

We love all things summer — action-packed surf sessions, sun-soaking, poolside dips. However, these are the same things that can wear out our swimwear. Most swimsuits are made of delicate fabric that needs care to preserve its bright color, stretch, and shape. If you learn how to wash and dry swimsuits the right way, you can keep your bathing suit looking great for a long time.

Washing Swimsuits

Whether it’s a quick rinse in an outdoor shower or a full clean, washing bathing suits is an essential part of swimwear care.

How To Wash Bathings Suits in Washing Machine

One of the most common questions we get is: Can you put a swimsuit in the washer? Simply put, yes. Bathing suits can be washed in a machine as long as they are treated like delicate garments and extra precautions are taken. However, be sure to check the label first to follow any specific care instructions.

While we always recommend hand washing swimwear, here’s how to wash swimsuits in a washing machine:

  1. Place the suit in a mesh laundry bag to prevent snags and stretching.
  2. Select the delicate or hand wash cycle, use cold water and a mild detergent.

how to wash swimsuits

People often ask: can you wash swimsuits with clothes? Our advice – try to avoid it. If you’re doing a larger load of laundry, you can wash your swimsuit with other items made of similar fabrics like activewear, but keep your daily clothes and beach towels separate.

How To Hand Wash Bathing Suits

While machine washing seems like the easy option, swimsuits will maintain their shape and color better if washed by hand. It only takes a few minutes, but it will significantly prolong the life of your bikini.

How to hand wash swimsuits:

  1. Fill the sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of cleaning product. Some people prefer a gentle detergent while others swear by a splash of white vinegar (known for its antibacterial properties), or half a cup of baking soda (which works wonders on stains and odors). Any of these products will work fine and come down to personal preference or what you have available.
  2. Swirl the suit around in the warm, soapy water and let it soak for several minutes.
  3. Drain and refill the sink with cold water.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the suit of any soapy residue and gently squeeze – don’t wring – out excess water. Wringing will stretch out the suit’s fabric.

How To Get Sand Out of Bathing Suit

getting sand out of swimsuit

If you spend time at the beach, sand will inevitably find its way into every corner of your life – including your swimsuit. The best way to get sand out of your bikini is to tackle it asap. Once your beach day is over, shake out your suit. Then, wash it either by hand or on a delicate or hand wash cycle in a machine. Allow it to air dry and give it one more good shake. If sand is still in the lining, use a hair dryer to blow away the remaining sand crystals. But be sure to use the cool setting!

How To Get Sunscreen Out of Bathing Suit

Sunscreen is an essential part of any beach day, but it doesn't mix well with swimsuits. The best way to get sunscreen out of a bathing suit is to spot-treat stains with a gentle cleaning product like baking soda or a mild detergent before washing. You can use a microfiber cloth to gently massage the cleaning product into the fabric for stubborn stains.

Planning to spend your sunny days in the waves? Our guide on “How To Choose A Surf Bikini” offers great suggestions for suits made with extra support for outdoor and water activities.

how to choose surf bikini

How Often Should Swimsuits Be Washed?

Wash your swimsuit right after each use – even if it’s just an outdoor shower after the beach or pool. Salt from seawater and chemicals from pool water cause swim fabric to fade and weaken. Oil-based sunscreens can also stain swimsuits. So, the sooner you can rinse your suit – the better.

Drying Swimsuits

drying swimsuit

Regardless of how you wash your bathing suit, air drying is the best method to dry your swimwear. We recommend laying them flat to dry in order to preserve their shape. Hanging a wet swimsuit may cause it to stretch out.

While it’s tempting to dry your swimsuit outside, direct sunlight can cause colors to fade. It’s best to dry your bathing suit in the shade or inside in a well-ventilated area.

Tips for How To Dry a Bathing Suit

To save on space and time, consider using a drying rack with multiple levels. Racks allow you to air dry a load of suits, towels, and other beach essentials all at once.

Pro tip: Using a towel, lay your swimsuit flat and roll the towel up tightly so that all the water is thoroughly absorbed.

Can You Put Swimsuits in the Dryer?

You should avoid putting your swimwear in the dryer. Although it seems quick and easy, drying machines are usually too rough and will damage the delicate material and elasticity. Keep it au-natural.

how to store bikinis

How To Store Bathing Suits

Having a dedicated place to store your bathing suits during warm seasons and off seasons is a vital piece of swimwear care. It is best to keep your swimsuits in a cool, dry area that gets plenty of airflow and is protected from extreme temperatures.

In Storage Bins

We recommend using a plastic storage bin during the summer months when your suits are getting regular use. Storing your clean and dry suits in an uncovered bin allows for easy access and better air circulation.

In Drawers or a Closet

In the off seasons, we suggest storing your swimwear in a drawer or closet. Small mesh bags, like those used for delicates, are great for keeping suits organized. If you live in a high-moisture area like by the beach, it’s a good idea to place a dryer sheet in the drawer with your suits to prevent mildew or odors from forming until you’re ready to wear them again.

A final tip on swimwear care: be careful about where you sit in your bathing suit. It may sound silly, but rough or uneven surfaces like concrete by the pool or weathered lounge chairs can snag the fabric and cause it to pill. Show your bikini some love and always lay a towel down before you sit.

When it comes to caring for your swimsuit, a little effort goes a long way. Follow these simple swimwear care recommendations and your favorite bikinis will stay in rotation year after year.


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