This is How I Keep My Swimsuits Clean So That They Last All Summer

published Jul 13, 2022
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Even if you don’t live in a climate that necessitates switching between summer and winter wardrobes, you most likely still have some garments that only get worn during particular seasons. I bet your warmest winter coat hasn’t seen a bit of action in a couple of months, but it’s safe to guess that your swimsuits have been pulled out and worn more than a few times by now. 

The interesting thing about each season’s exclusive clothing options is that they can be tricky to clean. You can’t just toss down coats with faux-fur trim into the washing machine willy-nilly. And though it’s obviously a drastically different piece of clothing, you can’t — or shouldn’t — do that with your swimsuits either. 

Whether you spend what feels like a small fortune for a designer suit you hope will last a few years or you choose to buy budget-friendly ones, taking care of them well will keep them looking their best for as long as possible. Most suits contain some type of spandex, which can be damaged by hot water, harsh detergent, or cleaning that’s not thorough, so cleaning them properly greatly affects their longevity. 

Here are some best practices for cleaning your swimsuits so that they last you all season long.

Wash by hand whenever possible. 

Hand-washing your suits prevents the wear and tear caused by the washing machine. Washing swimsuits by hand (even if the label says you can machine wash) is by far the gentlest method and will keep your suits at their peak for the longest time. 

Wash every time you wear it. 

Improper washing techniques aren’t the only thing that degrades your suit prematurely. Body oils, sunscreen residue, sweat, chlorine, sand, and salt can all damage your suit’s fibers, so it’s important to get those out as soon as possible after a swimsuit session. If you’ve been swimming in a lake or ocean, your pool could have picked up algae or bacteria too. All this is to say that your suits should be washed each time you wear them. 

Here’s how to wash your swimsuits by hand:

Rinse first. 

Soak your swimsuit in cool water for about half an hour right after you take it off. I like to soak it while I shower (just don’t forget to turn off the sink water like I’ve done too many times!).

Run it under cold water. 

Cold water ensures that colors don’t bleed and it’s also easier on elastic fibers than hot water. 

Use a mild detergent. 

A teaspoon of mild laundry detergent is perfect for handwashing your swimsuit. 

Then after soaking, follow these steps: 

  • Drain the soaking water
  • Refill the sink with fresh water
  • Add a tiny amount of detergent
  • Sud it up with your hands and swish the suit around for a few minutes
  • Rinse thoroughly

Squeeze or roll to remove excess water. 

Wringing your suit — you guessed it — is bad for the spandex and can stretch your suit out. Instead of wringing, gently squeeze as much excess water out as possible. You can also set your suit on a towel and roll it to remove excess water and speed up the drying process. 

Lay flat to dry. 

Drying a swimsuit in the dryer is probably the worst thing you can do when it comes to premature damage to your suit. Do whatever you can to avoid drying it in the dryer, which compromises both the elastic bands and the fabric. Don’t hang your suit to dry either. The weight of the water combined with the elastic nature of the spandex will stretch it out. Instead, lay your suit flat to dry, either on a towel or a drying rack. Keep it out of direct sunlight to prevent fading. 

If you have to wash your swimsuits with a washing machine:

If you have to use the washing machine, make sure to have a mesh bag and choose the delicate cycle. This reduces the stress on your suit that’s caused by being stretched and tossed in your machine. A mesh bag also prevents straps and embellishments from being damage. The delicate cycle cuts down on machine movement, which can cause more wear and tear on your suit.