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Everything you need to know about washing swimsuits…and then some

by Paige Gruszka

Sweet, SWEET summer time! It feels like hot concrete and toasty sand beneath our toes. It smells like chlorine, salt water and coconut oil. We could not love those things more, but, your swimsuit would beg to differ. All of those magical things that we crave during summer time can actually cause our spendy swimsuits to fade, stain, pill and stretch out sooner rather than later. What the HECK! Luckily, we’ve got insider tips and tricks on how to wash swimsuits the best way in order to protect them and lengthen their lifetimes.

Here are the Sparknotes / TLDRs:

  • You should always rinse your swimsuit after wearing it (and maybe even before wearing it if you’re feeling really protective).
  • Handwashing is the best way to keep your bathing suit in tip top condition. If you need to machine wash it, toss it into a mesh bag for delicates and use the cold water cycle.
  • Lay your suit flat to dry. DO NOT put your swimsuit in the dryer. Please. But if you must, use the “no heat” or “air fluff” setting.
  • Avoid pilling by sitting on a towel or chair rather than sitting directly in sand or on concrete.
  • Try to keep sunscreen and oils on your skin, not your swimsuit! If you notice oil stains on your itsy bitsy bikini or swim briefs, treat them right away.

How do I protect my swimsuit?

A great way to protect your swim trunks or swimsuit from the harsh chemicals in chlorine pools or the salt water of the ocean is to rinse it. Rinsing your swimsuit before getting into the water will coat the sensitive fibers of your swimsuit in freshwater. That way, your suit has another layer of protection from the salt and chlorine. You should also always rinse your swimsuit as soon as possible after wearing it in the pool, jacuzzi, lake or ocean. This will quickly cleanse your suit from chemicals and irritants. The easiest way to do this is hop in the shower with your suit still on, give it a rinse, remove it, squeeze excess water without ringing, then lay it flat to dry while you finish your shower. Easy peasy.

How do I wash my swimsuit? And how often should you wash a swimsuit, anyways?

Follow the care instructions on the tag of your garment to get the exact specifications of how to wash your swimsuit. The golden rule is: hand wash your swimsuit. Most swimsuits are made from spandex and other synthetic materials. These materials wear out easier than natural fibers which is why they need a lil extra TLC. A washing machine can be rough on your swimsuit and cause it to snag, pull, and wear out quicker. Plus, high heat from washing machine water and a dryer will also deteriorate your swimsuit quicker. You should rinse your suit after every wear and hand wash it at your discretion, but at least after every 2-3 wears.

How To Hand Wash Your Swimsuit:

  1. Rinse your swimsuit in the sink with cool water.
  2. If you have time, fill the sink up with cool water and let your swimsuit soak for 30 minutes. This will help remove even more dirt/chemicals.
  3. Empty the sink and refill again with cool water and add a splash of laundry detergent.
  4. If you have any stains, treat the spot with stain remover.
  5. Swish your swimsuit around in the warm soapy water.
  6. Let your swimsuit soak for 10 minutes.
  7. Drain the sink, turn the faucet back on and rinse your suit with the cool clean water until all the bubbles are gone.
  8. Gently squeeze excess water from your suit but DO NOT ring the suit out. This could damage your swimsuit.
  9. Lay your swimsuit on a towel. Roll up the towel and gently push down to further dry your swimsuit.
  10. Lay your swimsuit on a flat surface to dry. Flip it in a few hours to let both sides dry well.

If you simply can’t be bothered to hand wash your swimsuit with all of those steps, try this lazy hack.

  1. After a day on the water, get into the shower with your swimsuit still on.
  2. Let the water wash over you.
  3. Remove your swimsuit and hold it under the running water for a few seconds.
  4. Then, put a dab of shampoo on your suit. Swish it around and let it get all sudsy.
  5. Rinse your swimsuit until the water runs clear with no bubbles
  6. Gently squeeze the suit and set it outside of the shower
  7. Finish your cleansing then lay your swimsuit flat to dry

While this isn’t the best method for removing all of the chemicals and irritants from your swimsuit, it’s a great way to save some time while cleaning yourself and your swimsuit. Double whammy.

My swimsuit is a little too big, how can I shrink my swimsuit?

Full disclosure: all of these methods to shrink a swimsuit will deteriorate your swimsuit faster than normal. If you can, I’d recommend spending the money to get the correct size. It will last longer and look better on. Try selling the larger size swimsuit on Facebook Marketplace or Offer Up or to a friend who wants to match. Shop for some fresh men’s swimsuits and women’s swimsuits right here.

Different methods to shrink a swimsuit:

  1. Hit your swimsuit with a hot hair dryer. Try on the swimsuit every couple of minutes to make sure you aren’t shrinking it too much.
  2. Put your swimsuit on the HOT cycle in the washing machine and the HOT cycle of the dryer. Let it cool fully before trying it on.
  3. Leave your swimsuit in the direct sunlight for a few minutes to an hour. Check and try it on every so often to make sure you don’t shrink it too much.
  4. Dunk your swimsuit in boiling water and let it sit until the water cools off. Air dry if you think the suit has gotten to the size you’d like, or pop it in the dryer on the HOT cycle to shrink it even further.
  5. Repeat any of these methods again until you get your suit to your preferred size.

Now you know how to wash your swimsuit. Interested in learning even MORE about washing things? Check out this blog post about how to wash your underwear.

Stay Weird & Get Wet

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