If there’s one thing we can all agree on with kids, it’s that they are rough on their clothing. Girls' swimsuits and boys' swim trunks take a beating from the pool and the beach. Of course, you want your kids' swimwear to last, but you also don’t have endless hours to dedicate to careful laundry routines. Here’s how to keep your kids' bathing suits in tip-top shape this summer.
First, never use hot water to clean a bathing suit. The fabrics aren’t meant to be exposed to hot water, which is why you should never wear your favorite bikini in a hot tub. Always use cold water when washing swimwear. This keeps the fabric in tip-top shape. You should also wash your girls' rashguard set and boys' trunks in cold water, even if they don’t go in the water. Sunscreen and oil from your skin can cause the fabric to break down and become brittle.
Avoid using tough stain-removing chemicals like bleach on your child’s bathing suits. In fact, you’ll want to use a swim-specific cleaner if you plan on using detergent at all. This is because bathing suits aren’t made like other items of clothing. The elasticity of the fabric is what keeps swimwear attached to your body, and harsh detergents not only break this material down, but these chemicals can also cause discoloration, streaking, or stretching where you don’t want it.
When you picture handwashing, you may have an antiquated image of your grandma bent over a washbasin, but handwashing a swimsuit doesn’t take a ton of effort or elbow grease. In fact, it’s really simple. Fill up the bathroom sink with cool water, drop in a quarter cup of white vinegar, submerge the swimwear, and wait 30 minutes. You can even wash your boys' rash guards this way too. After you’re done, rinse with cold water, and let them dry. By handwashing, you are increasing the longevity of the spandex in the swimsuit. This means it will keep its shape for seasons to come.
Another big no-no for caring for any swimsuit is putting it in the dryer. This causes the spandex and fibers in the swimwear fabric to stretch and bend. Eventually, this becomes permanent, and the swimwear loses its ability to stay on in the water. But you don’t want to leave kids’ swimwear in the sun either. This causes the plastic-like fibers in the fabric to become brittle and break, which also hinders its elasticity. Placing swimwear on metal rods to dry can also cause unwanted staining of the fabric. If you are going to hang it over metal, make sure the rod is stainless steel, or use a passive clothes drying rack that’s indoors and doesn’t have any exposed metal. If you're drying outdoors, air-drying in the shade works best.
It’s so tempting to wring out a bathing suit, especially if it’s getting stuffed in one of your beach bags to be dealt with later. Avoid doing this. Again, you’ll stretch the fabric and create a misshapen bathing suit that might not fit well anymore. Instead, you can roll your kid’s bathing suit in a dry towel. Simply place the bathing suit at the end of the towel, then roll the towel into a log shape. As you roll, firmly press on the bathing suit to get the water in the suit to leak out. The towel will absorb most of the moisture as you go. Afterward, you can simply place the towel log in your tote bag.
This is an excellent option if you’ll be home quickly, but you don’t want to leave a swimsuit scrunched up in a towel, as it might start to produce mildew. If you’re out for an entire day, you will want to unroll the swimsuit then fold the towel, putting the damp bathing suit loosely inside the towel so air can continue to dry it.
It's not easy, we get that, but when you can, pay attention to where your kiddo sits. Of course, you won’t always be able to control this, but abrasive surfaces like concrete swim decks and sandy beaches cause swimwear fabric to break down and ball up. Obviously, you want to encourage your child to play, but perhaps for their lunch break, they can sit on a poolside chair or on their favorite beach towel while they eat. Even just a little bit of oversight will go a long way in preserving your kid’s swimwear.
Protecting your child’s swimwear will enable your whole family to have fun in the sun all summer long. You’ll be able to purchase just one or two bathing suits for your kiddo and have them last all season long. With these handy swimwear care hacks, you’re well on your way for a summery season your family will cherish together.