It might not seem like it, but when you are relaxing in the pool or enjoying a nice summer day out in the sun, your swimwear is actually working overtime. You may not see it, but swimwear goes through more wear and tear than people realize during the summer. Heat, chlorine, and saltwater cause the colors in your favorite swimsuits to fade and wear down over time.

Not only that, sunscreen and other oils can also leave unwanted stains on your favorite swimwear. Unlike different types of garments and clothing, swimsuits are subject to more unwanted odors, abrasions, pilling, and other damage. It may be hard to relax on your next vacation knowing that you might ruin your go-to bathing suit, but don’t worry because ZIPS is here to help you properly care for your swimwear to get the most life out of your favorite pieces!

How to Wash Your Swimsuit (Steps)

Rinse After (and Before) You Swim

It’s important to remember to rinse off before and after a swim. Cleaning a swimsuit before you swim is crucial because bathing suits contain polymers that can break down after prolonged exposure to grainy minerals, salt water, and chlorinated pools. Rinsing your swimsuit before you go for a swim allows the filaments in your bathing suit’s material to absorb fresh water instead of saltwater or chlorine that breaks the material down further.

After a swim, rinsing helps remove chemicals, salt, and other elements your bathing suit has been exposed to before you can give it a proper wash.

Hand Wash With Gentle Detergents After Each Swim

After returning from the beach or the pool, you should wash your bathing suit as soon as possible. Always make sure to follow the instructions on your swimwear, if possible. If your swimsuit no longer has the instructions, then handwashing it is your safest best. For the best results, make sure you don’t leave wet swimsuits balled up in your bag. Balling up your wet swimwear stresses the fabric and can result in mildew and other unwanted odors.

Generally, you can safely wash swimsuits using cool water and gentle detergents. Hand washing them inside out is the best way to clean them since it’s the most gentle method; however, you can wash many suits in the machine on a delicate cycle.

For bikini tops, use a laundry bag or pillowcase to prevent the straps from tangling and the cup shape from deforming. If you are cleaning swim trunks, make sure to tie and secure the hook and loop closures before washing. You can protect the drawstrings and linings by washing swim trunks in a mesh laundry bag.

Lay Flat to Let It Dry

If your dryer has a no-heat or “air fluff” option, then you can use it to safely dry your swimwear. Otherwise, excess heat from a typical drying cycle can damage the synthetic materials featured in most swimsuits and cause the colors to fade. You should avoid drying swimsuits out in the sun for the same reasons.

To dry your swimsuit, remove excess water by rolling it into a towel then laying it flat in a well-ventilated area away from sunlight. You can set the swimsuit on a dry towel or use a drying rack to allow more airflow on each side. Avoid places that are too hot and ensure that your bathing suit is fully dry before storing it to avoid odors like mildew.

Removing Stains From Swimwear

You can address most swimwear stains by using the same gentle detergent you typically use to wash your bathing suit after a swim. If you notice any stains from sunscreen or other oily substances, re-treat the areas with liquid detergent and wash on the warmest setting that the garment can tolerate. Using a dryer setting that’s too hot can solidify the stains and make them even harder to clean, so be careful.

If you live in an area with hard tap water, try to avoid using sunscreens with avobenzone. Avobenzone-based sunscreens react to the iron in hard tap water and can create rust on your swimwear.

Pretreat and Eliminate Odors

Washing your swimsuit immediately after a swim should keep the worst odors at bay; however, persistent smells like chlorine might require some extra TLC. If you are having trouble removing chlorine and other smells, try using a lightly fragranced detergent. People with sensitive skin trying to avoid scented detergents and fabric softeners can use popular home remedies such as diluted vinegar and baking soda. Additionally, anything citrus or acidic can help eliminate stubborn odors. Be sure to test any home remedies on a small area first to ensure it doesn’t stain or discolor your swimwear.

How to Properly Store Your Swimsuit

Before storing your swimsuit, ensure that it is completely dry, or else the lingering moisture will cause odors from mildew. Once the suit is completely dry, fold the garment and store it somewhere lying flat. Avoid hanging them like other garments because they can stretch the fibers and wear them down over time. If you are putting it away for the winter, find a garment bag made out of fabric to keep it safe. Plastic bags can lead to more mildew and bacteria on the swimsuit over a prolonged period.

Let the Professionals Take Care of It

While washing swimwear on your own can be done, it can be daunting trying to get rid of excess moisture and pesky odors. There are a lot of risks involved when it comes to taking care of delicate swimwear on your own. Swimwear can easily be damaged on even the gentlest of dryer cycles with minimum heat.

If you are short on time and need your swimwear cleaned and handled professionally, try using a cleaning service like ZIPS. At ZIPS, we treat your swimwear and other clothing correctly to maximize their longevity and keep you looking your best on beach day. Find a location near you, and let us take care of it today!