how to wash swimsuits

How to Wash Bathing Suits

Wondering how to wash swimsuits? You're not alone. Discover the best natural ways to remove stains, chlorine, and sunscreen from your bathing suit!

Whether you're going on a beach vacation or heading to the local pool, it's important to clean bathing suits properly to extend their lifespans. Discover how to wash swimsuits with these expert fabric-safe tips and tricks.

How to Wash a Bathing Suit

If you are hand washing a swimsuit, experts always turn the item inside-out and let it soak for up to 30 minutes before scrubbing in detergent. When using a washing machine, use a mild detergent and avoid hot or warm water -- stick to cold-to-room-temperature. 

Washing a Bathing Suit By Hand

If you wear a lycra or spandex suit, hand washing is definitely recommended. Most suits come with a "handwashing" tag to avoid stretching the fibers and destroying the fit but always check the manufacturer’s instructions first to ensure the best washing method.

Pro tip: Materials like nylon and polyester tend to hold up better in a washing machine. See below for instructions on machine washing.

What You’ll Need:

  • Enzyme-Powered Stain Remover
  • Bathtub or large basin
  • Lukewarm water
  • Mild detergent

1.  Rinse

Rinse bathing suits out as soon as you step out of water. One of the simplest ways to do this is by taking a quick shower while still wearing the suit.

2. Treat Stains

On a holiday, any number of smudges and marks can land on your clothes, especially from deodorant and sunscreen. That's why we always bring a TSA-friendly container of Natural Stain Remover wherever we go. Cover the affected area, agitate the area by rubbing the fabric together, and wait for up to one hour (at least 15 minutes).

Pro tip: If your swimsuit is starting to pill from contact with a rough surface, you can use a razor to shave off the pills or a Velcro strip to gently pull off the pills.

3. Soak

Fill a bathtub or large basin with lukewarm water. Turn your swimsuit inside out and let it soak for at least 30 minutes. This helps loosen and remove sand, chlorine, sweat, sunscreen, and stain particles. If you’re dealing with a strong odor, you can also soak the suit in half a cup of baking soda and cool water

4. Drain & Agitate

Drain water and flip your swimsuit "right-side out." Refill your basin with lukewarm water and no more than 1/2 a pump of Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent (though shampoo can work in a pinch). Gently mimic the motions of a washing machine by swirling your suit around.

These coconut-based surfactants and plant-based enzymes will remove chlorine, sunscreen, and odors – and the formula completely washes away.

5. Rinse & Dry

Use clean, cool water to remove soap and gently "squish" as much water out with your hands (twisting can destroy fibers over time). Don't put your bathing suit in the dryer or hang it – sopping wet – to dry. Place it on a flat surface and let it air dry on a clean, waterproof surface. In a pinch, you can hang damp suits on a clothesline.

How to Wash a Swimsuit in a Washing Machine

Remember that unless your suit's care tag states that it's machine washable, avoid throwing your bathing suit in a washing machine. However, there are precautions you can take if you do decide to use a washing machine.

What You’ll Need:

  • Enzyme-Powered Stain Remover
  • Mesh Garment Bag
  • Mild Detergent

1.  Pre-treat Stains

Pre-treat any stains by covering the affected area with a natural stain remover, agitate the area by rubbing the fabric together, and wait for up to one hour (at least 15 minutes).

2. Use a Garment Bag

Place the suit in a mesh garment bag before placing it in the washing machine.

3. Delicate Cycle

Choose a delicate cycle and use gentle laundry detergent.

4. Air Dry

Place it on a flat surface and let it air dry on a clean, waterproof surface. Avoid placing the suit in the dryer, as the high heat generally ruins the fabric’s elasticity and can deteriorate the suit over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I wash my bathing suit?

You don't necessarily need to wash your suit every time it's worn. But it's encouraged after swimming in chlorinated water, lakes, and streams.

Is it better to wash bathing suits by hand instead of with a washing machine?

Cleaning your suits by hand is the best way to prevent fabric damage, fading, and stretching. Hand washing is also the best way to prolong the life of your suits, guaranteeing they last longer and their colors don't dull.

Which bathing suit materials are the most durable?

No one wants to wear a thin, faded swimsuit. If you can, splurge on 1-2 premium swimsuits that will retain their strength, color, and shape for years. Suits made from polyester or a Lycra or spandex blend tend to last the longest after repeated washings. If purchasing new items is cost-prohibitive, check out secondhand sites (like eBay or ThredUp). Always wash a thrifted suit before wearing it!

Should I rinse my suit after each use?

Yes. Sunscreen, self-tanner, sweat, and chlorine can break down fabric fibers, so it's important to rinse bathing suits out as soon as you step out of the pool. The most effective way is taking a shower while still wearing the suit (since it's stretched across your body and not scrunched up).

What kind of soap or detergent should I use to wash my suit?

Use a mild soap or detergent to wash your suits. Mild hand soap also works if you're in a pinch. However a mild laundry detergent is always your expert bet for tackling tough stains and protecting your suit from fading and stretching.

What’s the best way to store your swimsuit?

If you're not planning on wearing your suit for at least a few months, avoid fading by washing and drying it. Next, place it in a garment bag and store it in a cool, dry location.

Puracy Is Safe for All Fabrics & Skin Sensitivities

If you invest in a quality swimsuit, you want it to last. That's why our laundry formulas are loaded with ingredients like coconut cleansers and plant-based enzymes that naturally erase elements like pool water, sweat, and sunscreen – then completely rinse away.