How to Wash Swimsuits & Other Tips

Have you ever bought a new swimsuit, took it to the beach once, and a week later it’s stretched out, faded or sagging?

Whether you paid less or more for your swimsuit, you took the time to select one that you feel great in, and that meets your selection criteria: it might be comfortable, the right color, that perfect detail. And now…. It’s ruined.

Sounds familiar? We’ve all been there.

Of course, quality plays a big role, and we will talk about that in another post very soon.

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

How to Wash Swimsuits

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.

Pretreat Your Bathing Suit

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

To prevent that, pretreat your suit before wearing a new suit for the first time.

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 the soaking.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  I must say here that quality is very important. Not because I am writing this for Sauipe, but our suits don’t fade and the colors don’t run. We test every single fabric before cutting any suit. Color fastness is extremely important for Sauipe and I will dedicate another post exclusively to talk about the technology and high standards behind every Sauipe suits.

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 products every time. But please do make sure you rinse everything: sand, salt water, sweat, etc. It is very important to keep your suits very clean!

Sunbathe, Swim, Rinse, Repeat

The combination of salt water, chlorine, body perspiration, suntan lotion, and the burning sun can 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 of time.

If an outdoor shower is available by the pool or beach, enjoy a quick shower a few times 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.

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

Avoid Hot Tubs

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

Of course, we all love to soak in a hot tub once in a while. 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 not break my heart (or the bank!).

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, 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 cover-ups. You’ll have a complete outfit and keep your swimsuit in top shape.

Rotate Your Swimsuits

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.”

Rinse Rinse Rinse

We said that before, but it’s really never too much. 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.

Can You Wash a Swimsuit in the Washing Machine?

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. 

But Really, How to Wash a Bathing Suit?

Be gentle.

First, untie all the straps of your suit before washing it. By washing a suit in its original shape, it will revert back 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 detergent.   Some of our customers have shared with us that they use a teaspoon of baby shampoo or gentle hand soap.   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, it will degrade over time.

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

Let Your Suit Drip Dry or Lay Flat

Resist the urge to wring out every last 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 the excess water.

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. Then 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 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.

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