The Right Way to Clean Your Bathing Suit

Bathing suits can take a beating.
Bathing suits can take a beating. / YinYang/iStock via Getty Images

Not everyone spends time locating and following the care instructions on garments, which might be one reason why your nice new shirt shrinks to a doll-sized accessory. And while jeans and other clothes might be able to stand up to your cleaning negligence, you don’t want to mistreat your bathing suits, which often need to endure harsh conditions like pool chemicals or saltwater that can wear on delicate material.

One-piece, long-sleeved, or bikini, here's how to keep swimsuits looking good.

How to Clean Your Bathing Suit

According to The Spruce, the two best tips for keeping a swimsuit in optimal condition are to wash it promptly after use and to wash it by hand. When a swimsuit is exposed to sunscreen, perspiration, and chemicals, it harms the elasticity of the spandex: Chlorine can actually yellow material.

Sticking it in a washing machine, however, is a poor choice, as the material may not survive many trips around the wringer. Instead, soak it in cool water for 30 minutes to remove sweat and chemicals, then do a second soak with a small amount of laundry detergent—about a teaspoon. White vinegar can also work. Be sure to turn the suit inside-out.

After rinsing, squeeze excess water out and let the suit air-dry. Don’t hang it up, as it may stretch out the fibers. Just lay it flat in an open area.

Should You Wash Your Bathing Suit After Each Use?

If you haven’t used sunscreen—though you absolutely should—and haven’t exposed the swimsuit to chlorine, you might be able to get away with washing it after every few uses, but it’s really best to wash it as soon as you can.

Can You Use a Washing Machine for Your Bathing Suit?

While most bathing suits are best washed by hand, some companies make suits that are washing machine-friendly. Check the care tags for confirmation.

In a pinch, you can toss any swimsuit into the washing machine, but be sure to keep it on a gentle cycle and use a garment bag.

[h/t The Spruce]