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How to Wash Swimsuits: 5 Simple Steps

The Sauce Boss
May 20, 2024
Laundry Tips

Here’s how to wash swimsuits in the washing machine:

  1. 1. Separate your swimwear to wash it with your delicates
  2. 2. Place your swimsuit in a mesh laundry bag for protection
  3. 3. Use the coldest water possible
  4. 4. Use a gentle or delicate wash cycle
  5. 5. Lay your swimsuit flat to dry (never put it in the dryer)

Some clothing items don’t need to be washed after every wear, but swimsuits definitely don’t fall into that category. The chlorine in pools can damage or fade the fibers of your swimsuit—the same goes for saltwater in oceans. And don’t even get us started on the stuff floating inside hot tubs…

Even if you don’t get wet, close-fitting swimwear on a hot day soaks up sweat and body oils that need to be washed out. Not to mention, the ingredients in sunscreen can leave unsightly stains on swimwear, especially on lighter-colored fabrics.

We recommend washing swimsuits after every wear, but here’s the catch: Swimsuits are delicate since they’re made from synthetic materials like nylon, polyester, spandex, elastane, or Lycra. Using the wrong water temperature or wash cycle can damage the swimsuit's elasticity.

In this article, we’ll show you how to properly wash bathing suits in the washing machine in five simple steps. Whether you’re washing a bikini after a dip in the ocean or a pair of trunks after lounging poolside, we’ve got you covered.

1. Separate Your Swimsuit from the Rest of Your Clothes

Swimsuits can’t handle heavy wash cycles or hot water—accordingly, they need to be separated from the rest of your laundry so you can wash them with other delicate items.

Swimsuit fabric is usually made from some combination of nylon, polyester, and spandex. These materials are ideal for a pool day, but not for an intense spin cycle. Too much agitation can damage the swimsuit’s fibers or reduce its elasticity.

Pro tip: Check out our ultimate guide to separating your laundry.

2. Place the Swimsuit in a Mesh Bag

When you machine wash a swimsuit, we recommend placing it in a mesh laundry bag before starting the cycle. This provides a protective barrier, helping to prevent it from snagging or stretching during the washing process.

A mesh bag will also help prevent the swimsuit from getting tangled with other garments, which could distort its shape.

3. Use Cold Water

Cold water is your best friend when machine-washing swimsuits. Cold cycles will preserve the fabric's elasticity over time and prevent the colors from fading or bleeding. You’ll also avoid shrinkage.

You might be tempted to use warm water to scorch away the sweat, sunscreen, and chlorine. But this can do more harm than good. Rest assured, high-performance laundry pods like Laundry Sauce are built to clean clothes in cold water.

4. Use a Delicate Wash Cycle

Always choose the delicate cycle on your washing machine for swimsuits. (It also might be labeled “gentle” depending on the type of machine you have).

The delicate cycle uses low agitation to minimize friction, which is essential to prevent your swimsuit from stretching or snagging.

5. Lay Flat to Dry

Once the wash cycle is complete, remove your swimsuit from the washer and spread it out flat to air dry. Try to avoid hang-drying swimwear, since that can stretch out the fabric.

Never put your swimsuit in the dryer. The heat can break down the delicate fibers, leading to loss of elasticity and sagging. Even if you use a low-heat setting, the tumbling action of the dryer can cause pilling or snagging.

Pro tip: Don’t dry your swimsuit in direct sunlight. UV rays can degrade the fibers and fade the colors.

Common Questions About Washing Swimsuits

We get lots of questions about best practices for washing swimsuits—here’s what you need to know.

Can You Put Your Swimsuit in the Washing Machine?

Yes, you can wash your swimsuit in the washing machine as long as you use a delicate cycle, cold water, and place it in a mesh bag for protection.

You can always hand-wash your swimsuit if you don’t want to run a full wash cycle. Just swish it around in a little bit of laundry detergent and cold water before rinsing it out.

Can You Put Swimsuits in the Dryer?

No—you should never put a swimsuit in a dryer. The combination of heat and tumbling action can damage, shrink, and fade the delicate fibers of your bathing suit.

Should You Wash Your Swimsuit After Every Wear?

Yes—we recommend washing your swimsuit every time you wear it to get rid of any sweat, chlorine, or sunscreen that got soaked up.

How to Get Rid of Stains on a Swimsuit

These steps should remove most stains from a swimsuit:

  1. Rinse the stained area with cool water
  2. Apply a small amount of laundry detergent or dish soap
  3. Gently rub the fabric together and let it sit for 30 minutes
  4. Gently scrub the stain with a soft cloth in a circular motion
  5. Machine wash like you normally would

    Can You Use Fabric Softener on Swimsuits?

    No—you shouldn’t use fabric softener on swimsuits, since the conditioning ingredients leave a residue that can affect the fabric’s ability to dry quickly.

    Grab the Sauce After You Swim

    We love warm weather as much as you do—just make sure your next pool day or beach day is followed by a laundry day. Laundry Sauce laundry pods have a proprietary blend of bio-enzymes and polymers to ensure sweat, sunscreen, and chlorine don’t get in the way of your summer vibes.

    Not to mention our premium fragrances will transport you to the Amalfi Coast or the French Riveria—even if you’re just lounging in your backyard. Dive into Laundry Sauce this summer and see for yourself why everyone’s ditching generic detergent.

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