How to Wash a Swimsuit

Summertime isn’t the only season to break out the swimsuit. Any sunny vacation calls for spending time at the pool or trips to the beach. There’s nothing more relaxing than tropical temperatures and cool waters to make you feel like you’ve found paradise. It’s normal to want to soak up as much of the sun as possible and pack several sexy designer bikinis for a poolside vacation. 

However, with all the time spent in and out of the water, it can start to affect the appearance of your swimsuit. Chlorine, salt water, and even too much sun can all damage the fabric or cause the colors to fade. Choosing a swimsuit made with high-quality materials helps to prevent this problem from happening as quickly, but it’s better to help preserve the vibrancy and feel of your swimsuit as much as possible. 

That’s why it’s important to make a habit of washing swimsuits immediately after wearing them. This ensures that you rinse away any lingering pool chemicals and lotions and leave your swimsuit looking and smelling fresh even when not in use. Learning how to wash bathing suits and keep their color vibrant will ensure that your favorites stay summer-ready season after season. There are a few, simple steps that can be done at home or when you’re on the road on your latest exotic vacation to keep your swimwear in tip-top shape.

Step-By-Step Guide to Washing Swimsuits

There are a few different ways to wash a bathing suit, all of which work to remove chlorine and salt water from the fabric. If you decide to use a washing machine, make sure you run it on the gentle cycle so you don’t damage it. The other methods consist of hand washing your swimsuit - either in soap or detergent, or in a homemade vinegar and water solution. Each method helps to remove stains and smells while getting rid of any dirt or grime that has collected in your swimsuit throughout the day. 

We've included a quick and easy-to-follow guide to make sure you're efficiently washing your swimsuits to preserve their quality. If you decide to machine wash your swimsuit, skip steps two and three and place the swimsuits in a mesh bag and use the delicate setting. By using a special bag, it will keep the straps from getting tangled and will prevent any embellishments on the swimsuit from being damaged.

Step 1: Rinse your swimsuit. Use the community outdoor showers or water stations commonly found near the pool or beach to rinse your swimsuit with cool water. This will prep it better for washing when you get home. Also, when still wearing it, pat your swimsuit dry with a towel rather than rubbing harshly back and forth. This is easier on the fibers and will help to prevent any minor fraying or small tears in the fabric.

Step 2: At home, fill up a clean basin of water with an equal amount of vinegar or a few drops of hand soap or laundry detergent. In some cases, you can use both if your bathing suit requires spot treatment or extra care. If this is the case, use the vinegar first and move to the soap and water treatment later. 

Step 3: Allow the swimsuit to sit in the mixture for at least half an hour or longer to release any chlorine, sunscreen, pool chemicals, or salt water. You can wash multiple swimsuits at once to save time. Make sure they are submerged in the solution before moving on to the rinsing part of the process.

Step 4: Rinse the swimsuits with clean, cool water. This may take a few times using fresh water to get rid of any lingering suds. Lay the swimsuits out on a dry towel and roll them up to gently squeeze any extra water without wringing them and damaging the fabric. 

Step 5: Hang the damp swimsuits from a clothing rack or shower rod to dry completely. If leaving outside to dry, keep out of direct sunlight. They’ll be clean and ready for whenever you need them next.

Follow these steps after every wear like you would any other piece of clothing. Washing swimsuits is also a smart idea before you store them away for the season. The goal is to keep them as fresh and residue-free as possible.

Common Culprits That Damage Swimsuits

You may be surprised how much everyday items and summer essentials can cause damage to your bathing suit. There’s no way to avoid them all, but knowing how the littlest thing can cause the biggest problems, you’ll better understand how valuable proper swimsuit care is. Here is a list of the common culprits:

Constant sun exposure
Sunscreen and tanning oil
Salt water
Environmental elements (dirt, pollution, mold)
Food or beverage spills
Makeup (including body lotion)

    The norm of the average summer day can wreak havoc on the lifetime of your swimsuit. Any mix of these items can lead to yellowing or discoloration, loss in shape or elasticity, stains, and damage to the fibers, which could ultimately result in fraying or unraveling. Caring for swimsuits doesn’t require a lot of maintenance; a little attention goes a long way. Keep them out of the direct sun when not wearing them and immediately rinse after every use. 

    Tips for Keeping Your Swimsuit Looking Brand New

    Washing swimsuits is just one way to preserve the life of your designer bikini. There are other small habits you can follow to ensure that it looks vibrant and new for as long as possible. These include: 

    • Air dry rather than using a machine dryer. Even on a gentle cycle, the machine could break down the fabric caused by the heat. Any changes to the elastic can affect the shape and fit of the swimsuit by stretching or shrinking it accidentally. 
    • Rinse with fresh water before getting into the pool. By doing this, there will be less absorption of chlorinated water. This is also a common hair care tip as well to prevent damage. 
    • Lay a damp, clean swimsuit flat or use a non-metal surface to hang it. If you use a hanger when your swimsuit is still wet, it can leave rust residue and also cause indents in the suit’s fabric. Hang from a stainless steel or plastic shower rod, clothing rack, or outside laying flat out of direct sunlight.
    • Gently squeeze, don’t wring. Twisting your swimsuit to eliminate every last drop of water can pull on the fabric. Either pat down the swimsuit with a lint-free towel or roll it up in the towel and push the extra water out. 
    • Hang up wet swimsuits right away. Although you may not be able to clean your swimsuit immediately after use, don’t leave it rolled up in a bag or dropped in a bathtub to be attended to later. The moisture can lead to mold or a musty smell which is never ideal.
    • Prep a brand new swimsuit before heading to the beach or pool. Soak it in a mixture of vinegar and water for 30 minutes (a couple of tablespoons for one quart of water) to prevent dye from bleeding.
    • Avoid sitting directly on rough surfaces. Keep a plush towel between you and any wood, cement, or area that can accidentally snag your swimsuit or tear the material. 

    These are all simple tips to keep in mind whenever you put on a swimsuit. Swimsuits made with high-quality materials and construction help to preserve the condition, but that doesn’t exclude the need for swimwear care.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Swimwear Care

    Caring for your swimsuit should be easy and convenient. Washing swimsuits is as fast to do at home as it is on vacation. There are common questions about what products to use, what to do about mold, and how to store swimsuits the right away. It doesn’t change how to wash them but offers up additional answers. 

    Do I need to use a special soap to wash my swimsuits?

    No. Fortunately, all you need is a mild detergent or vinegar with water. The key is to use a gentle detergent or soap that won’t ruin your bikini. You only need a few drops of soap per a full bin of cool water. Since these products are easily found at any local corner store, you can wash your swimsuits whenever you’re traveling as well without worrying about packing liquids.

    What should I do if I find mold on my swimsuit?

    Swimsuits that have been left damp for a long period of time may grow mold. If you see mold spores, use an old toothbrush to brush them off and directly treat the area with vinegar. Then, follow all of the steps of the regular cleaning routine. The best thing to do, though, is to prevent mold from growing in the first place by allowing swimsuits to dry completely before storing.

    What is the right way to store swimsuits?

    In addition to allowing swimsuits to be completely clean and dry before storing, lay them flat whenever possible. It will help the straps from tangling and any embellishments from snagging fabrics. During the summer season or anytime you wear a swimsuit frequently, wash them after every use. Otherwise, wash them one last time before storing away for the season to ensure freshness. 

    Can I wash my swimsuit with my beach towels?

    It may feel convenient to throw in your swimsuits along with your towels, cover ups, and other clothing from the beach, but they have to be handled more carefully due to their delicate fabric. Towels are much thicker than a swimsuit and can withstand a spin cycle and heat from the dryer better than a swimsuit would. If you don’t hand wash your swimsuits, machine wash separately on the gentlest cycle.

    Finding the Perfect Swimsuit

    Knowing how to wash a swimsuit the right way will ensure your favorite ones last longer. But how do you narrow down the choices to find your perfect swimsuit in the first place? There are a few factors to consider. First, decide which style you prefer: bikini or one-piece. There are several different bikini cuts as well as designer one-piece swimsuit options. One misconception about one-piece suits is that they’re all standard tank styles. This is a popular cut but by no means the only one. 

    When it comes to one-piece swimsuit styles, you have the choice of a strapless version, thin straps, thick straps, and intricate cuts. The Divino Rachel Tied One-Piece Swimsuit, for example, isn’t your average one-piece. It has a unique cut at the torso, higher waist, and halter-style top to create a sexy silhouette. Another modern take on the one-piece is the Black Laura style that has cutouts on the side and a cheeky bottom cut. There is also beaded detailing on the top and hip straps for an extra detail to differentiate this style from other black one-piece swimsuits.

    If bikinis are more your style preference, there is a range of options such as the sophisticated Lucy triangle bikini, the stylish ripple bikini, and the tan-worthy bandeau bikini - all classic staples to add to the collection. Once you’ve determined whether you want a one-piece or bikini, another factor to consider is color. Neutral colors are perfect for go-to summer staples, but a rich hue like coral or teal makes a look stand out in the best way. Then, there are a variety of prints and patterns that include geometric designs or subtle florals that offer a trendsetting appeal. The beauty of colors is that they often help to reflect a certain mood. That can mean a relaxing, zen-type day at the spa or an outdoor adventure in a new city. It’s nice to have a swimsuit that works for both situations.

    After style and color, there’s all the details to think about as well. These include strap size, coverage level, and fleeting trends versus timeless classics. Although a swimsuit collection can be made with the same luxurious fabric and cut in a way that is flattering to all figures, the details are what make the difference. It allows you to choose the one that catches your eye the most and makes you feel the most carefree and confident.

    Making the Most of Swimsuit Season

    Once you’ve found your ideal swimsuits, you’ll want to hang on to them for as long as possible. Knowing how to wash them correctly, identify the common culprits, and remember ways to keep it looking its best all help to preserve the life of your swimwear. Chlorine and salt water top the list of things that can cause swimsuit damage. Although they’re not easily avoidable, you can keep them out of your bathing suit as much as possible post-wear. 

    Prevent swimsuit fading and damage by taking a few extra steps to care for your swimsuits. It’s quick, simple, and makes a difference. Small changes help in the long run and leave swimsuits looking brand new. There’s nothing better than spending lazy days by the water or jet setting off to your next beach vacation. Make sure your swimsuits are kept in their best possible shape and ready to go when you are.