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How to Wash Swimsuits & Other Swimwear Care Tips

How to Wash Bathing Suits for Long-Lasting Luxury and Style  

Have you ever wondered whether washing bathing suits was necessary? If so, can you wash bathing suits with regular clothes? Finally, what is the best way to wash bathing suits and how can it benefit me in the long run? The answers are simple.

Do you ever find yourself buying a new swimsuit, wearing it to the beach once, and a week later it’s stretched out, faded, or sagging? This familiar situation is why learning how to wash swimsuits properly is the best defense against any of these and any other threats to the integrity of your bathing suits. 

Whether you opt to pay less or more for your swimsuit, that is irrelevant. In the end, you took the time to select a swimsuit that you feel great in, that also meets your selection criteria. Whether it be a matter of comfort, design, or simply that one perfect detail it might possess, no one wants their bathing suit ruined—let alone in such a short period. You really want a long lasting swimsuit.

While learning how to clean a bathing suit properly will help uphold the integrity of your bathing suit for longer, the quality of your bathing suit plays a big role, and we will talk about that in another post very soon.

Ultimately, taking good care of your swimsuit is equally important to the quality of the suit itself. Follow these simple steps to properly wash a swimsuit and you will ensure that your suit stays looking newer, longer.

How to Wash Swimsuits Effectively

Following best practices when washing your swimsuit is very important, and we will get to that soon. But there are other maintenance tips that, combined with proper washing, will help your suit last season after season.

Whether you are wondering how to hand wash swimsuits or rather they can simply be tossed in the washer, we have you covered with the facts you need to preserve your bathing suits for years to come.

Should I was my new swimsuit before wearing it?

Yes. I highly recommend you pretreat your bathing suit as described in the next section. 

Washing a new swimsuit before wearing it is not only good for the longevity of the garment, but also for your health. The same goes for any personal item.

Washing your new swimsuit will ensure that any residue from the protector is removed, as well as any dust that naturally gets to the fabric during production.

Pretreat Your Bathing Suit: How to Wash a New Swimsuit

Chlorine and sunlight are known to cause colors to fade and lose their brilliance.

To prevent that, we recommend you pretreat your suit before wearing it for the first time.

To get started, mix two tablespoons of white vinegar with one quart of cold water and soak your swimsuit in this solution for 20 to 30 minutes. 

The cold water will help the vinegar penetrate the fabric, sealing the color in the fibers. The vinegar smell will fade, but you can also rinse in clean, cold water after soaking. When you wash a swimsuit in vinegar, you avoid the tiring task of scrubbing out endless suds, while sealing in the suit’s colors.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As I mentioned before, quality is very important. And not because I am writing this for Sauipe, but it is important to keep in mind our suits don’t fade, and the colors don’t run. 

We test every single fabric before cutting any suit. Colorfastness is extremely important for us as well and I will dedicate another post exclusively to talk about the technology and high standards behind every Sauipe swimsuit.

Should you Wash your Swimsuit After Every Use?

The short answer is yes, you should wash your swimsuit after every use. However, you don't need to use intense products every time. Please always be certain to rinse everything off, including sand, saltwater, sweat, and more. It is very important to keep your suits very clean and just water occasionally is all you need. 

Sunbathe, Swim, Rinse, Repeat

The combination of saltwater, chlorine, body perspiration, suntan lotion, and the burning sun can all take a toll on your swimsuit. Even the highest quality swimwear (like Sauipe) is delicate by nature and will get damaged if exposed to harsh elements too often and for long periods. 

Therefore, you need to learn how to hand wash a bathing suit – especially if you are wondering how to get lake water stains out of swimsuits. 

If you are lucky enough to locate an outdoor shower by the pool or beach, take advantage and enjoy a quick shower a few minutes between sunbathing and swimming. That will give you and your suit a great chance to freshen up, and remove excess chlorine, salt, perspiration, and lotions. 

It is a great habit to rinse the chlorine and salt off your skin and hair too! It’s a win-win.

If you are swimming in a lake-type setting as we mentioned before and do not have access to a shower, it is suggested you avoid staying out in the sunlight for extended periods, immediately rinsing your bathing suit once you get back home. 

Swimsuit detergent is an excellent product to consider when learning how to clean a bathing suit, and it works on all suits no matter the type of water in which you choose to swim.

Avoid Hot Tubs

Hot tubs are not an ideal place to wear your nicer swimsuits. Hot water and chlorine can make colors run, degrade fibers, and cause your suit to sag.

It is important when learning how to hand wash swimsuits that you avoid washing in hot water and keep your hot tub encounters brief.

Of course, we all love to soak in a hot tub occasionally. So, I have a couple of basic suits that didn’t cost that much, and I reserve them for the hot tubs. They will not last too long, but that will break neither my heart nor the bank!

Sit on a Towel or Chair if Possible

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

Second, harsh surfaces or sudden contact with some less than smooth surfaces can tear or snag your swimsuit.

If you are not a fan of the towel, bring a wrap, shorts, or swimsuit cover-up. Not only will you have a complete outfit, but you will also keep your swimsuit in top shape.

Rotate Your Swimsuits

Rotating your swimsuits will preserve their quality. Why? Because lycra and spandex are “memory” fabrics which means they need a full day to snap back to their usual position following 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.”

If you are visiting a location that is particularly muddy or sandy, you might want to also consider the color of the swimsuit you are choosing. That way, you do not find yourself attempting to clean bad stains out of a white bathing suit. 

Rinse, Rinse, Rinse

We said this before, but it’s really never excessive. Between sunblock, body oil, moisturizer, sweat, chlorine, sand, and saltwater—many natural and unnatural substances can do serious damage to your swimsuit.

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

Can You Put Bathing Suits in the Washer?

No. No. No. 

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.

The same goes for dryers or dry cleaning. No. Never. When it comes time to wash swimwear, you should always choose to hand wash.

What is the Best Way to Wash Swimsuits?

In terms of how to wash swimwear, the best first words we could give you are as follows, be gentle. When learning how to hand wash a bathing suit, remember to treat them delicately as you would any lingerie.

First, untie all the straps of your suit before washing it. By washing a suit in its original shape, it will revert to its proper size and shape.

Wash your swimsuit immediately when you get home or to your hotel room. Fill a sink basin with cold water and add half a teaspoon of mild, color-safe, or swimsuit detergent. Some of our customers have shared with us that they use a teaspoon of baby shampoo or gentle hand soap as a substitute. Remember, you will not need much, keep it simple.

Gently rub the fabric in the water and be careful not to stretch the fabric.

Thoroughly Rinse Your Swimsuit

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, they will degrade over time.

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

Let Your Suit Drip Dry or Lay Flat

Once you have successfully cleaned your swimsuit, you must resist the urge to wring out every drop of water from your swimsuit, no matter how satisfying that might feel. Physically wringing out your swimsuit will distort its shape. If your bathing suit has molded bra cups or pads that absorb a lot of water, gently squeeze out the excess water.

After washing swimwear, hang your suit gently on a smooth line and do not use clothes’ pins. Do not hang your suit by its ties or hardware, as that would make the suit stretch.

If possible, an even better alternative is to lay your swimsuit on a towel and gently roll it, squeezing the towel simultaneously. Finally, lay it out on top of a new towel to dry.

How to Store Your Bathing Suit

Never leave damp swimwear in bags, rolled inside towels or other garments, and especially never leave a wet suit on the floor. Yes, you had to take that quick shower and run out to dinner and forgot the suit in the shower. Go back and spend 30 seconds to wash and rinse the suit. You will thank yourself later. If not, not only will your suit smell, but you also risk your suit developing mold.

If you cannot wash your suit right away and need to carry it, put your suit in a lightweight mesh bag that will allow it to breathe before it can be properly washed.

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


Now that you know how to clean a bathing suit, you can feel confident in every bathing suit purchase with Sauipe.

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