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How to wash swimwear

Long day at the beach? Let's wash that swimwear!

Belle-Lingerie03 August 2023

How To Wash Swimwear

It might be the last thing on your mind after a sun-soaked day at the beach, but washing your swimming costume is one of the best ways to keep it in good condition ready for your next holiday. But how often should you do this?


Ideally, you should wash your swimwear thoroughly after every wear, making sure to get rid of salt, seawater, sunscreen, and sweat before you wear it again. In real life, though, we realise this isn’t always achievable, especially if you’re away from home on a holiday. Make sure to rinse your swimwear out in cold water after each wear instead - or soak for 30 minutes - and then save the big wash for after every three to five wears. If you need to wear it more than that, consider bringing two sets of swimwear on holiday to last the duration of your trip.


How to hand wash swimwear


So, you’ve returned home from your holidays, and now you’re faced with a mountain of laundry. Washing bras and other everyday clothing items is one thing, but what about those items you only wear on the odd sunny day? What’s the right way to wash your swimwear?


The absolute best way to wash swimsuits is to do so by hand. This is because swimwear is delicate and can sometimes be damaged by harsh machine washing cycles. Hand washing also allows you to be certain that all the detergent has been washed off the swimwear.


To hand wash your swimwear, you’ll need a basin of cold water and a very small amount of liquid detergent. Opt for a mild detergent or, better still, choose a swimwear-specific detergent to keep your swimming costume in good condition. You’ll only need about a teaspoon’s worth, so a little bottle can go a long way.


Soak your swimwear in your detergent for at least half an hour. Then, give it a swish around the basin to make sure it’s all clean, and remove it from the water. This is where you should check the label on your detergent. Some require rinsing and others don’t, so be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle. Once that’s done, you can wring out the excess water and move on to the drying step.


How to wash swimwear in the washing machine


Of course, washing swimwear by hand takes time and space, and it can be especially difficult to fit it into your schedule when you’ve got lots to do to get back to normal after your holiday. Sometimes, machine washing is easier.


Fortunately, you can wash your swimsuit in a washing machine. To protect it, switch your machine onto its ‘delicates’ setting and turn the temperature of the water all the way down. It’s also a good idea to wash your swimwear in a mesh bag to prevent snagging. As with hand washing, use a gentle detergent or one made specifically for washing delicates.


Can you tumble-dry swimwear?


Whether you’ve hand-washed your swimming costume or popped it on the ‘delicates’ cycle, the inevitable next step is to dry it. While it might be tempting to put it in the tumble dryer with the rest of your laundry and let the machine do its magic, this is not a good idea. Heat can damage the fabric of your swimwear - which is why you should wash it in cold water.


In fact, there are three things that can be damaging to your swimwear during the drying process and these are heat, sunlight, and gravity. UV light from the sun can cause your swimsuit to bleach and lose its colour - and it will probably do so unevenly, making unflattering patterns in the fabric. And if you hang your swimwear up to dry, the weight of all that water can actually stretch the fabric, meaning it won’t fit so well the next time you wear it.


So how should you dry your swimsuit? The best way is to lie it flat on a towel away from heat and sunshine. Some drying racks have flat sections, but if you don’t have one of those, any flat surface you don’t mind getting a bit damp will do. If you want to speed up the process, roll your swimsuit up in a towel before laying it flat on a new, dry towel. This will help to absorb as much of the water as possible quickly. 

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