How to Care for Your Swimsuit After the Beach

Caring for Your Swimwear

Finding the right swimsuit is no simple task. Everyone wants to find the perfect swimsuit with just the right fit. You want your beach swimwear to look good, feel good, and stay put during your summer activities.

With this in mind, once you have found that perfect piece at the intersection between form, function, and fashion, you want to make sure it lasts. Invest some extra time after your beach trips this summer to care for your favorite beachwear with proper washing and drying techniques to ensure that your fabulous fit can be worn again and again.

Almost every swimsuit and rash guard contains at least some spandex. This is what gives swimsuits their stretchy, form-fitting style. However, this fabric can break down and become overstretched. If left exposed to perspiration, oils (both from your skin and any sunscreen products), salt water, and chlorine, your swimwear could end up fitting loose and saggy. To avoid this, washing these oils and salts away as soon as possible after every use will keep things in top shape.

Here are our tips to help you properly clean and dry your swimsuits for maximum wear.

Rinsing Your Swimsuit

As soon as you are out of the salt water, change into your beach cover-up and rinse your swimsuit in cool fresh tap water. Ideally, you will want to soak your swimwear in cool water for about 30 minutes. Soaking your suit is a great way to start the process of removing most of the sunscreen, chemicals, salt, sand, and body oil that can ultimately cause damage to the fabric. Adding a cup of distilled white vinegar to your soak can deodorize and reduce any bacteria your suit may be harboring.

If you are in a time crunch and do not have 30 minutes to pre-soak your suit, you can always rinse it off during your post-beach shower.

Washing Your Swimsuit

Many people will simply rinse their suits after use and hang them to dry. This is not enough to ensure the longest life possible for your swimwear. Washing your swimsuit is quite easy and, ideally, should always be done by hand/in a sink or tub. If you are pressed for time and feel that you need to throw your suit in the washing machine, be sure to put the swimwear in a mesh garment bag to protect the delicate fabric. Use a very mild detergent—or baby detergent—and select the delicate cycle.

If you do find yourself with time to wash swimwear by hand, combine about one teaspoon of a very mild and gentle liquid laundry detergent with cool water in your sink or tub. We do not recommend using a powdered detergent because it may not dissolve completely. It is also worth mentioning that you should never use chlorine bleach to whiten or remove stains on suits.


Between beachside barbeque foods, tanning oils, and zinc-based sunscreens, stains are bound to happen. For sunscreen and tanning oil stains, dish soap is your best option. Just dab some grease-fighting dish soap on your sunscreen stain, rub and rinse.

For food and beverage stains, first grab a clean, dry washcloth and lightly dab the stain to soak up as much excess as possible. Then, sprinkle some baking soda on the stained area and let it sit for about an hour before washing your swimwear, following the steps above.

Drying Your Swimwear

To properly dry your swimwear, spread it out flat in a cool, well-ventilated area. Make sure not to leave your swimwear out to dry in the sun, as the UV rays from the sun will quickly fade and break down the fibers in your suit. If your go-to swimwear includes board shorts, pull out the pockets and unzip any zippers for maximum airflow while drying.

Also, resist hanging your swimwear up to dry or for storing. This can cause the fibers to stretch and weaken. Once your swimwear is dry, lay it out flat in a drawer or, even better, in a breathable and chic storage basket. It is important not to store your swimwear in plastic, as any moisture left at all can result in the growth of bacteria or mildew.

Keep It Fresh by Switching Up Your Look

Another tried-and-true method for ensuring the long life of your favorite swimwear is to rotate multiple suits throughout the season. For example, you could invest in a chlorine-resistant swimsuit to keep exclusively for pool swims. By switching up your swimwear look, you ensure that each piece will last longer, and also, who doesn’t want to experiment with their seasonal summer aesthetic?

Taking good care of your swimwear doesn’t have to be complex or time-consuming. With these simple steps, you are sure to keep your favorite pieces in peak condition for many summers to come.


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