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How to Safely Wash Bathing Suits & Swimwear

February 2, 2019

Swimming is probably one of the best aerobic exercises out there. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned swimmer, there are a number of benefits to be had. For instance, it helps to build muscle strength and endurance; it also improves your cardiovascular health. By reducing blood pressure, it can also delay the effects of aging.

Like most sports, swimming requires its own unique attire—swimsuits. Often made out of nylon or spandex, they tend to hug the body tightly, which helps to retain heat. As you probably know, they come in a variety of styles. For instance, women often wear one-pieces, bikinis (two-piece), tankinis, and bandeaus. For men, there are swim briefs, board shorts, trunks, and jammers. Lastly, there are special swimsuits that are used by competitive swimmers; these garments are unique in that they are designed to reduce drag and friction in the water.

how to wash bikinis

Depending on the style, swimsuits can be loose-fitting or skin-tight. More often than not, they are lined with another layer of material, which prevents it from being see-through when wet.

Like most clothing, swimsuits should be washed on a regular basis. After all, chlorine is rather harsh on swimwear fabrics over time. This is particularly true for an expensive suit—I mean, you wouldn’t want it to get ruined after one or two wears, right?

Should I Wash My New Swimsuit/Bikini Before Wearing It?

As with all new clothing, you should always wash a swimsuit before wearing it. After all, you have no idea who tried it on or touched it before you brought it home. For one thing, it has probably touched the floor multiple times during its transit to the store. In some cases, there might even be some finishing products leftover on the material that can irritate your skin.

should you wash new swimsuit bikini

Considering all this, it should go without saying that you should always wash your new swimsuit. It might take a while for it to dry, but it’s worth it in the end.

How to Hand Wash Swimwear

Swimwear can be quite delicate. For this reason, you might want to hand wash them instead of putting them into the washing machine. Don’t worry—it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

If it’s a new swimsuit, you’ll want to get rid of the dirt that it might have picked up before and at the store. If you’ve already worn it, your goal will be to remove chlorine and sweat from the material. Given that you’ve swam in a natural body of water such as a lake, you’ll want to get rid of the salt that has gotten into the fabric.

how to hand wash bathing suits

Note: It’s important to wash your swimsuit after every single use. Not only will this keep it in tip-top shape, but it will extend its lifespan as well. Even if you don’t have time to wash it after coming back from the pool or beach, you should give it a rinse under clean water. 

Handwashing Instructions

Pour one to two tablespoons of ACTIVE detergent into a tub or small container. Gently swirl the water with your hand to mix and dissolve the cleaner. Place your one-piece into the tub and allow it to “marinate” in the solution for up to an hour. From there, lightly scrub the swimsuit with both hands. Once you’re done, remove the dirty water and rinse the garment with clean, running water. This will remove any chlorine, sweat, dirt, salt, or sunscreen that is embedded in the material. Continue doing so until the water is clear with no obvious dirt. Generally speaking, this should take you around a minute or two.

Afterward, squeeze out the excess water from the one-piece. Avoid wringing it like a dishcloth as that can stretch and damage the material. The temptation might be strong, but try your best to resist it! Allow it to air dry.

Safe Washing Machine Instructions for Bathing Suits

Inevitably, it’s not always possible to handwash your swimsuit. Sometimes, you will have to rely on the good ol’ washing machine. Don’t worry—as long as you follow our instructions, it’ll be just as effective as handwashing (if not better)!

Note: While it’s okay to wash your swimsuit in a washer, it’s best if you don’t do it routinely (if you want it to last, anyway).

Machine Washing Instructions

First things first, you should only wash your swimsuit on a delicate cycle with cold water—any other setting can damage the fabric. To get started, place your swimsuit in a mesh laundry bag (if you don’t have one, a clean pillowcase will do). This will prevent it from getting damaged in the cycle.

how to wash swimwear washing machine

Pro-tip: Never use hot water if you’re washing it in the machine. This will damage the elastic lining. Warm water is okay, but not recommended.

While it’s okay to wash your swimwear with other clothing (as long as they’re similar colors), you want to make sure that you don’t wash it with something that can pick at the fabric (items with velcro or zippers).

Once the wash cycle is complete, hang the swimsuit and allow it to air dry. Never put it in the dryer—this will not only ruin the elastic but will make the entire thing lose its shape. Trust me, it will not fit the same if you put it in the dryer.

Pro-tip: If you decide to drip dry the swimsuit, you might want to place a towel or something similar on the floor as it will drip a lot of water. Of course, you can skip this step altogether if you dry it over your bathtub.

Best Laundry Detergent for Swimsuits

Now you’re probably wondering—”What kind of detergent should I use for my swimsuit?” There are many options for detergent, but only some of them are safe for swimwear. ACTIVE detergent, in particular, is great for swimwear. After all, it’s specially formulated for active wear! With just a little bit, you’ll be able to remove most if not all of the “ick” that might be on the fabric.

active detergent

For more information on how the ACTIVE detergent works, click here.

If you prefer, you can also make your own cleaner. It’s easy—all you have to do is add a teaspoon of mild hand soap to a gallon of water. Alternatively, you can add 1/4 a cup of baking soda to a sink of cold water. Both of these recipes are delicate enough for most if not all swimwear. However, the former is especially effective at getting rid of that funky beach or pool smell. 

How to Get Rid of Stains on Bathing Suits

No matter how careful we are with our swimsuits, stains can happen. For one thing, both sunscreen and chlorine are capable of discoloring fabric. Of course, there’s also food and beverages, both of which tend to find its way onto our suits one way or another.

how to remove swimsuit stains

If you have a stain on your swimsuit, your best bet is to dab a bit of ACTIVE detergent onto the stain using a damp washcloth. Remember to be gentle as you do not want to stretch out the fabric. Once you’re done, rinse it under running water and allow it to drip or air dry.

In some cases, you might have to draw a bath for your swimsuit. Add a bit of ACTIVE detergent to the tub and mix the solution by swirling your hand around the water. By presoaking it, it might be easier for you to wash the stain off.

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Comment (1)

  • Megan David Reply

    Such an informative blog,

    Always rinse your swimwear immediately after wear. We usually just wash it the same time we take a shower – because it’s still considered a rinse and we are lazy like that!

    September 24, 2020 at 2:24 am

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