There are 4 Ways to Dry a Swimsuit—But 3 of Them You’ll Regret

published Jul 25, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: CHUYKO SERGEY/Shutterstock

Finding the right swimsuit can often seem like an indomitable undertaking—it’s not always easy to find something you feel great in. That’s why so many of us are willing to pay a premium price for something just right. And even if you don’t spend much, a swimsuit’s relatively high cost per wear will have you wanting your suit to look good and last for as long as possible.

The thing that will make the biggest difference in your swimwear’s longevity is how you clean and care for your suit—and especially how it’s dried. Heat, sun and gravity can all have negative effects. The way you’ve been drying your swimsuit all these years (maybe since you were a kid!) could do damage to your gear in the long term.

Here is a summary of some popular but potentially harmful ways to dry your swimwear, as well as one safe way to do it:

DON’T Dry Your Suit in the Dryer

Drying your suit in the dryer is probably the worst way you can dry it, and drastically accelerates its deterioration, even if you do it just one time. This is especially true if the dryer is on a high temperature—heat can permanently alter the elasticity (and therefore, the size and shape) of your perfect-fit piece. If you absolutely must give it a machine spin, choose a tumble dry setting with zero heat.

DON’T Dry Your Suit in the Sun

Drying your suit in the sun seems preferable to the dryer, but the sun can ruin your suit in even more noticeable ways than a loss in elasticity: Sun-drying your suit can cause it to fade—or worse, cause it to fade unevenly. It’s happened to me. I put a light-colored suit out to dry in the sun and when I went to bring it inside, all the parts that had been directly exposed to the sun were bleached out. Ultraviolet rays had irreversibly changed the compounds in the fabric dye. Even if you’ve had no issues drying swimsuits in the sun in the past, that brand new suit you just got could be the one to fade. Don’t risk it.

DON’T Hang Your Suit to Dry

Hanging your suit to dry, whether it’s on a hanger in the laundry room, or from the faucet in the shower, is also a bad idea. The swimsuit fabric can easily stretch out of place, either stretching the fabric it’s hung from, or throughout the suit thanks to the effects of gravity on a heavy water-soaked suit. This is how you end up with straps that are suddenly too long or a torso length that all of a sudden has extra material bunching up in unflattering places.

DO Dry Your Suit Flat

If you want it to have a long, happy life, the safest way to dry your swimsuit is to lay it flat, in a location away from heat and direct sunlight. You can spread a towel on a waterproof flat surface, or try a lay-flat clothes drying rack. This $8 pop-up option is great for one suit, or if you need to dry a few at a time, try this portable, foldable $10 option that you can stash in your beach bag, then hang from an umbrella or tree branch. If you need your suit to dry as fast as possible, roll it gently in a towel before laying it flat to air dry.