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How to Care for Your Swimsuits So They Last All Summer Long

by Ann Ferguson

One of the best parts about summer is the swimming! Whether in your pool, at a nearby lake, the beach, or the city water park, having fun by the water is unlike anything else. And once you have the perfect swimsuit, there's no stopping your joy — unless you don't properly care for your swimwear.

Most swimwear contains spandex to stretch out, but that means it's vulnerable to harm from a build-up of sweat, body oils, sunscreen, deodorant, or even sand. And since most pools and hot tubs contain chlorine, which damages the elasticity of spandex, washing your swimsuits carefully is a must!

How often should I wash my swimsuits?

Woman sitting by the pool with large hat

Before we get into how to clean your swimsuits carefully, you should first know how often you should wash them. You might think that if you never go into the water, your suit is good for another wear. But you'd be wrong — you need to wash your swimsuit after every wear.

If you go into the water, the chlorinated water or salt water will harm the elasticity or cause the fabric of your suit to change colors. But even if you don't go into the water and only soak up the sun, the sunscreen and deodorant you use, plus any sweat or body oils, means you'll need to wash your swimsuit.

And once you take off your suit, don't wait. Rinse it off immediately and wash it carefully.

Can I put my swimsuit in the washer?

Swimsuits washing in washer

The answer depends on the material and if the care tag says it is machine-washable. If you know your suit is made of polyester or nylon, it's more than likely machine-washable. That said, always put your swimsuits in a mesh bag meant for delicate garments and wash it in a load of similar fabrics (large beach towels should always go in another load). Then, follow these instructions for expert care:

  • Turn the garment inside out and treat any sunscreen stains with a dab of gentle detergent.
  • Place the swimsuit in a mesh bag and into the washer. You can add small towels to the load to prevent over-agitation.
  • Use mild detergent and place the washer on the delicate cycle with cold water.
  • When the washer finishes, put your swimsuit on a dry towel and tightly roll the excess water out.
  • Lay the suit flat to dry or hang dry if you don't have the space (avoid hang drying from a metal rod).

Men's swim trunks can usually be washed in the machine since they don't have as many elastic properties. Just be sure to roll the trunks in towels when you take them out of the washer and lay them flat to dry.

When should I hand-wash my swimsuit?

Swimsuits hanging on a line to dry

If your swimwear isn't made from longer-lasting materials, you'll most likely need to hand wash it. With hand-washing, the process is gentler and prevents stretching or loosening the material's fibers.

  • Fill a sink or tub with lukewarm water and add gentle detergent (1 tsp is enough to clean a single swimsuit). You can also add a splash of white vinegar to eliminate odors and bacteria.
  • Turn your swimsuit inside out and place it in the sink or tub.
  • Soak the garment for 15 minutes and gently massage the material to remove dirt and chemicals.
  • For sunscreen stains, gently scrub detergent and then swish in the water for a bit.
  • Drain the soapy water and rinse the swimsuit until the water runs clear. DO NOT wring the swimsuit.
  • Grab a dry terrycloth towel and roll the swimsuit to absorb the extra water.
  • Lay the suit flat to dry. You can add a circulating fan to speed up the process.

How do I remove sunscreen stains from my swimsuit?

Woman with large hat putting on sunscreen by the beach

Swimming or sun-bathing means wearing sunscreen, and sometimes the sunscreen stains what you're wearing. But don't worry; these stains don't have to ruin your favorite bikini. You can use baking soda or vinegar to remove the stains.

With baking soda, you'll need to sprinkle a generous amount of it on the stain, let it sit for up to two hours, and then wash it out. If you want to use vinegar, create a solution that is one part vinegar and three parts water, then soak the stain in the solution. Or you can directly apply white vinegar to the stain and wash like normal.

Pro Tip: To avoid stains, put on sunscreen and let your skin absorb it thoroughly before putting on the suit!

How else can I care for my swimsuit?

Swimwear requires careful washing, which means avoiding certain things that harm the material. For instance, you should never dry your swimsuit in the dryer as the heat will weaken the spandex's elasticity. But other don'ts include:

  • Soaking it overnight; otherwise, the fibers will loosen.
  • Drying it in direct sunlight because the sun causes fading
  • Wearing your favorite bikini in the hot tub since extreme heat damages the elasticity.
  • Hang drying on a metal rod because the swimsuit might take its shape or get rust on it.
  • Sitting on rough surfaces that can snag on the material. Always place a towel down before you sit.

Time for Summer Fun!

Group of people having fun at the pool

With these do's and don'ts in mind, your swimsuits will last you all summer long. And maybe even next summer, too! But if your current laundry appliances keep causing damage to your clothes or look worn out, it's time to upgrade at Deweese Soft Water & Appliance.

And if you have any questions, please give us a call or stop by today!