Tips for Swimwear Care

Tips for Swimwear Care

Finding the right swimsuit & fit is important, but don't forget to care for your suits after!

REAL SIMPLE offers these care tips for general care, but always follow the exact instructions from your suit's label. If the label becomes detached, reference the brand's website for recommended care. 


Make sure to wash your suit AFTER EVERY SINGLE wear, even if you don't get in the water. Sunscreen can be detrimental to the fabric-- and some formulas will affect suits more than others. 

The best thing you can do for your swimsuit is to rinse it out in cool water as soon as you take it off. Even better, fill a sink with cool water and let the suit soak for about 30 minutes to remove most chemicals and body soil that can damage the fabric.

Special Tip: Get a head start by filling a leak-proof plastic bag or small container with clean water and add your swimsuit to soak on the trip home from the pool or beach.


  1. Create some soapy water.

    Fill a sink with lukewarm water and add a gentle detergent formulated for activewear like Hex Performance Laundry Detergent. One teaspoon of any detergent is enough to clean a single swimsuit.

    Special Tip: In a pinch, add a splash of white vinegar, known for its deodorizing and antibacterial properties, in lieu of detergent.

  2. Turn the swimsuit inside out.

    Scrubbing from the inside helps keep the exterior fabric looking newer longer, and addresses the areas most likely to have come in contact with sweat and sunscreen.

  3. Use a soft brush to scrub away stains.

    A dab of the laundry detergent on a soft-bristled nylon brush (an old toothbrush works great) can be used to gently scrub necklines and areas that may have sunscreen stains.

  4. Swish and squeeze your suit.

    Swish the suit through the sudsy water while you gently squeeze the fabric for several minutes, then empty out the sink.

  5. Give your swimsuit a good rinse.

    Refill the sink with cool, clean water to rinse the swimsuit. Gently squeeze out the water—no wringing!

  6. Dry your suit.

    Roll the swimsuit in a terrycloth towel to absorb excess water or simply hang it to air-dry in a spot with good air circulation, away from direct sunlight, which can cause colors to fade. Add a circulating fan to speed drying. Skip the dryer because high temperatures can permanently damage the fabric.


Handwash is always best, but we're all busy. If you choose to machine wash, here are ideas.

  1. Wash it with similar materials.

    Don't toss it in with your beach towel—that's a recipe for swimsuit damage. Wash the swimsuit with similar types of synthetic fabrics.

  2. Protect your swimsuit.

    Turn the swimsuit inside out, and place it in a mesh laundry bag to help prevent snags and stretching.

  3. Pretreat stains.

    Apply gentle detergent to areas prone to sunscreen stains.

  4. Be gentle with your suit.

    Set your washing machine to the gentle cycle and use cold water and gentle detergent on it.

  5. Hang it dry.

    The dryer will damage your suit's fibers, so take it out of the wash and hang it to dry.

 Tips for Caring for Your Swimsuit (and Keeping it in Great Shape)

  • Don't soak a swimsuit overnight. This can loosen fibers.

  • Don't let a swimsuit dry directly in the sun. This may cause fading.

  • Don't put a swimsuit in the dryer. The heat weakens the elasticity of the spandex. This is the same reason why you shouldn't wear your favorite bikini in a hot tub.

  • Don't hang a swimsuit on a metal rod to dry. Hanging can alter the shape of the garment, while the metal rod could leave a rust mark that's impossible to get out.

  • Don't sit on rough surfaces while wearing a swimsuit. The concrete beside the pool or wood from the lounge chairs may snag the swimsuit material. Always lay down a towel before you sit.

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