How to Hand Wash Your Swimsuit & Other Tips

Clara Terracotta Bikini

Picture this: you bought a new swimsuit, took it to the beach once, and a week later it’s stretched out, faded and sagging.

Sound familiar? We’ve all been there.

That’s why we put together this list of maintenance tips to make sure your next suit stays looking newer, longer.


#1 Avoid hot tubs

Despite what the producers of the Bachelor might have you believe, swimsuits and hot tubs are a terrible combo.

Hot water and chlorine can make colors run, degrade fibers, and cause your suit to sage. Never wash your swimsuit in hot water and keep your hot tub encounters brief.

Especially if there are men named Juan Pablo or Arie in that hot tub.


#2 Sunbathe first, then swim

The combination of salt water, chlorine, body perspiration, suntan lotion, and the burning sun can be deadly for your swimsuit.

If you can, try to sunbathe before going for a dip. If you can’t, bring a second suit with you to the beach.


#3 Sit on a towel

First, you should sit on a towel because it’s way more comfortable than sitting on the sand or a hard bench.

Second, you should sit on a towel because impromptu seating surfaces can tear or snag your swimsuit.

Quick note: if carrying a towel around 24/7 feels too high maintenance, bring a wrap or some shorts. You’ll have a complete outfit and keep your swimsuit in top shape.


#4 Rotate your swimsuits

You already know this, but rotating your swimsuits will preserve their quality.

Why? Because lycra and spandex are “memory” fabrics. That means they need a full day to snap back to their usual position after wear.

If you’re vacationing or live somewhere where you wear swimsuits often, it’s super important to have more than one so that each suit has at least 24 hours to “bounce back.”


Donatella White One Piece Swimsuit

#5 Prep your suit

If you’ve worn a brand new, bright red swimsuit and come home with lollipop colored stains on your stomach, you know that the colors in new suits can run.

What you might not have known is that this was a completely preventable problem.

Mix one tablespoon white vinegar with one quart of water and soak your swimsuit in it. After it dries, your swimsuit should be safe from running.


#6 Rinse rinse rinse

Sunblock, body oil, moisturizer, sweat, chlorine, sand, and saltwater can all do serious damage to your swimsuit.

Give your suit a quick rinse as soon as you’re done wearing it. This will make sure all of the harsh chemicals are out of your suit and don’t stick around, damaging the fibers.


#7 Whistle while you hand wash

Just like with intimates, swimsuits need to be hand washed.

Washing machines agitate all the delicate parts of your swimsuit - the inner lining, ties, hardware, and padding - leaving things bunched, stretched, or sagging in all the wrong places.

Be sure to untie all the straps of your suit while you’re washing it, too. By washing a suit in its original shape, it will revert back to its proper size and shape.


#8 Soap up, gently

Regular detergent is too harsh for swimsuits and will cause your suit to fade or wear out. Find a detergent designed for swimsuits and intimates, or use gentle hand soap.

After you’ve washed your swimsuit, make sure you rinse it out extremely well. Swimsuits are made to soak things up, and if you leave those chemicals in your suit, it will degrade over time.

Run your suit under cold water until there are absolutely no more suds coming down.


#9 Towel off

Resist the urge to wring out every last drop of water from your swimsuit, no matter how satisfying that might feel (S/O to our bubble wrap popping friends). Physically wringing out your swimsuit will distort its shape.

Hanging your suit (especially by its ties or hardware) isn’t a good idea either, as it can stretch it out.

Instead, lay your swimsuit on a towel and gently roll it, squeezing the towel. Then lay it out on top of a new towel to dry.


#10 Storage

Damp swimwear should never be tossed in the bottom of a thick bag.

Repeat that ten times fast, then keep reading.

Put your suit in a lightweight mesh bag that will allow it to breathe before it can be hung out to dry.

Follow these rules, and you’ll maintain the quality of all your favorite swimsuits.

Need to start the swimwear maintenance process fresh with a new suit? Check out our new collection.

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