How to Clean a Bathing Suit With Vinegar

Bathing suits are a necessity during summer and beach vacations. It’s normal to wear several on and off throughout the season although you may already have a favorite sexy designer bikini you lean toward first. While they’re easy to hang up and air dry, swimwear can become dirty, stained, and sometimes fade, especially with long-time use. Bathing suits can be damaged by summer staples like sunscreen and chlorine - or if they sit in a damp heap for too long, bacteria and germs can begin to breed. It’s important to wash your bathing suit before and after every time you wear it to keep it looking, smelling, and feeling its best.

But, how do you properly wash a bathing suit? Can you run a bathing suit through the washing machine? Hand wash with dish soap or mild detergent? There are many methods people choose, but an easy, organic way to wash your swimsuits is to use vinegar. Vinegar is an all-purpose liquid used for various household maintenance tasks. It’s helpful to use on bath suits too because it’s gentle on the fabric while ensuring the suit still gets clean. Learning how to clean a bathing suit with vinegar is simple and the list of beneficial reasons will help you understand why you should use this method more regularly. If you’ve not yet tried this trick, it’s worth giving it a try for the sake of your swimsuits.

How to Clean a Bathing Suit with Vinegar

All you need to wash your swimsuits using this method is a clean bin or sink to fill with cool, tap water and a bottle of distilled white vinegar.

  1. Spot treat any mold spots or stains with vinegar directly on the area you want to soak into the fabric.
  2. Fill the bin with equal parts water and vinegar. Keep the water at a cool temperature for best results. It doesn’t take a lot to clean the fabric of a bikini, but make sure enough of the swimsuit is covered. Let it soak for several hours in this solution and replace with fresh water and vinegar a couple of times during the process.
  3. Drain the water and vinegar solution and rinse the bikini with cool water.
  4. Either line dry outside (but out of the direct sun) or hang from your shower rod. To wring out any excess water first, lay the swimsuit out on a towel and roll it up and give it a squeeze. This will wring out the extra water without pulling too much on the fabric.

Soaking your swimsuit in vinegar will help wash out any chlorine and take away any smell that might have developed from mold and mildew. It doesn’t take a lot of work to preserve your swimsuits. Do this after every wear and it will help keep your favorite garment in better shape throughout the year. If you have a big basin and enough vinegar, you can clean and dry several at one time making the process even more productive. Vinegar comes in handy for many reasons which is why we recommend going the DIY route and using the simple, two-ingredient solution.

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Reason #1: It Preserves the Color

Ever bought a brightly-hued bikini only to have it fade after a few seasons? When you buy a swimsuit that is made of quality fabric, there’s less of a chance of running into this problem, but when you do, vinegar can help. All it takes is a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar added to a small bowl of water to get the grime out of your swimsuit. It keeps your bikini from looking dull especially if you wear yours regularly.

Reason #2: It’s Inexpensive

There’s no need to buy special swimsuit cleaner or laundry detergent to wash your swimsuit. A bottle of white vinegar only costs a few dollars and lasts a long time because a little goes a long way. You don’t have to douse your swimsuit in the vinegar on its own. Dilute it with water and spot treat any stains as needed. It’s less expensive compared to what other cleaners cost, making it a smart investment for the summer season.

Reason #3: It’s Organic

Although some people swear by throwing their swimsuit in the washing machine on the delicate cycle, you can go completely chemical-free by using this one simple ingredient. While there are brands that are using more organic measures within their manufacturing process, there’s nothing easier than water from the tap mixed with a few spoonfuls of white vinegar. This is extra helpful for those who have sensitive skin and react easily to additives and chemicals found in soaps and detergents.

Reason #4: It’s Easy

When hand washing suits, it can become time consuming to try to rinse out all the suds thoroughly. However, when washing your bathing suit in vinegar, all you have to do is mix the water and vinegar solution, drop in your suit, and let it sit for a few moments before gently wringing it out and allowing to air dry. You can wash several of your bikinis at one time to speed up the process and have your swimsuits ready faster. Make it a habit to clean your swimsuits immediately after wearing them to ensure they stay clean and vibrant.

Reason #5: It Helps Keep the Shape

Running your swimsuit through the washing machine, even on the delicate cycle, can pull on the delicate threads of a swimsuit. Over time, these can start to fray or literally come apart at the seams, leaving your bikini looking older faster. It can also stretch out fabrics and loosen any details on your swimsuit as it tumbles through the cycle. The gentler you are on your swimsuit, the longer you’ll be able to keep it in your regular rotation. Even the best of fabrics need a little help to stay the shape they’re meant to be.

Reason #6: It’s Convenient

Forget about special soaps or washing on special temperatures for a set amount of time - white vinegar will do the trick. It's been used as a DIY solution for years and can also be utilized for several other household remedies. For example, by mixing equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water, it helps to shine windows, coffee makers, and even microwaves. It can also remove wine or deodorant stains and help keep flowers perked up longer. The odds of you having it in your cabinet are high, which makes it conveniently available whenever you need it.

Alternative Ways to Wash Your Bathing Suit

Cleaning your designer swimsuit with vinegar is optimal because of its convenience and low cost, but there are other ways to take care of your swimsuit as well. The first method is to hand wash it with cold water and liquid detergent or mild hand soap. All it takes is a few drops of either mixed with a tub of water to wash the suit. Gently rub the fabric together, especially where there are stains, and allow the suit to sit in the soap and water for a few minutes.

One option is to add this step after you’ve already used the vinegar and water solution. This can be done at the end of a swimsuit season when you’re not going to be wearing them as often. The trick is to thoroughly rinse out the soap before drying. Any remaining detergent or hand soap accidentally left on the swimsuit can leave the skin feeling itchy. Rinse several times with fresh, cool water for best results.

Another option is to wash your bathing suit in the washing machine. Make sure to wash separately from other clothing items and always use the gentle cycle. It’s helpful if you use a bag designed specifically for delicates to keep the strings and any adornments from getting tangled up with other suits or caught in the washing machine itself. Use a mild detergent without bleach and keep the water temperature on cool. This may seem like the most convenient option, but the time it takes for a gentle cycle to run is often longer than it takes for your swimsuit to soak in a mixture of vinegar and water.

Dos and Don’ts of Swimsuit Care

Now that you know how to wash a bathing suit with vinegar and the reasons to start using this simple process, there are dos and don’ts to keep in mind as well when caring for your bathing suit material properly.

Do rinse off after swimming in the pool or ocean. Since there may be some time between when you get out of the water and when you arrive home to clean your swimsuit, you’re going to want a head start on cleaning. Rinsing off helps to remove residue from your swimsuit including sunscreen, sweat, dirt, chlorine, and salt water (that can be drying to your suit). There are usually community areas at the pool or beach that make it easy to give yourself a quick rinse before drying off and heading home.

Don’t wash your bathing suit in hot water. If you decide to use a machine to wash your swimsuits every now and then, it should always be set to cool. The same goes for mixing the water and vinegar solution. Avoid using warm or hot water to clean.

Do hang up to dry immediately. Rather than leaving a damp swimsuit crumpled up in the bottom of the bag, hang up to dry and clean later. It can grow a mildew smell musty if it’s not dried properly. Always gently press out extra water from your swimsuit in between the folds of a towel rather than wringing out the fabric. Also, refrain from using a dryer if you can. Even on a tumble dry cycle your bathing suit can become damaged if it’s delicate.

Don’t always wear the same swimsuit. It’s always a plus when you have a favorite designer bikini that you can’t live without but it needs a break and time to be washed between wears. This gives you the time needed to properly wash and dry out your swimsuit while also allowing your suit time to “rest” from the harsh beach/pool elements.

How to Find Multiple Swimsuit Favorites

If you’ve only relied on one or two swimsuits in the past and hardly rotate new swimsuits in, it may be time to find a few others to join the mix. That’s easy to do once you find a style that fits your fashion preferences. Do you like swimsuits with straps or without? Do you like neutral colors or bold prints? The variety of colors and shapes means you can have a different one for each occasion. 

Maybe your typical choice is a classic t-back bikini. Switch it up with a unique print from the Bia Tube Collection. Once you’ve picked a favorite, make the swimsuit look your own. Knowing that each cut will give you a sleek silhouette means any swimsuit you pick will keep you looking stylish.

Having more than a couple suits in your rotation allows you to try new styles while providing enough time for washing between trips to the pool or beach. It’s easy to tell when your swimsuit needs a thorough cleaning - the fabric will feel different and there likely will be lingering odors or a film from sunscreen and body lotions. Knowing how to clean a bathing suit with vinegar also means you can take your method on the road when you travel. It’s fairly easy to find vinegar in most grocery stores to keep your swimsuits fresh throughout your entire trip.

Learning DIY hacks like this make caring for your bikinis and beach accessories much more simple and fuss-free. You won’t have to worry as much about the condition of your swimsuits when you get into the habit of regularly washing them. Consider the reasons why you should switch to this cleaning method to keep your swimsuits in tip-top shape. Give your swimsuits a chance to last more than one season by keeping them looking vibrant and brand new.