5 Tips for How to Wash Swimsuits & Make Them Last


Unless you’re lucky enough to have access to a heated or indoor pool year-round, warmer temperatures mean its time to put on your swimsuits and dive in. Whether you’re swimming in the ocean, lake, pool or hot tub, bathing suits take in dirt, sweat, chemicals, and odors from your fun in the sun.


Here are 5 easy tips for how to take care of your swimsuit to help you keep it looking good and fitting great all season.

#1 Skip the Washing Machine: Hand Wash Bathing Suits

A common question when thinking about washing your bathing suit is “can I put it in the washer?” Although some swimsuits might indicate that they can be machine washed on their care labels (especially nylon swim trunks) your best bet for helping protect your swimsuits from fading, stretching, or fabric damage is to hand wash. Don’t worry, this is much easier than you’re thinking and requires only a few minutes and no special skills.


  1. Place your swimsuit in the sink, bathtub or a basin of cool water.
  2. Add one tablespoon of your favorite mild laundry detergent (we like ARM & HAMMER Sensitive Free & Clear) and swish around to create some suds. If you’re washing in the sink, you can use less detergent than you normally use for machine washing, since a lot less water is involved and you want to avoid oversudsing.
  3. To help remove lingering chlorine smell, consider adding ½ cup of ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda or ARM & HAMMER Clean Scentsations Scent Booster with Odor Blasters to the wash water.
  4. Let soak for about 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse thoroughly using cold water until there are no remaining suds. Rinse your hands as well to remove any detergent on them .
  6. Move on to Step #2: drying


#2 Avoid the Dryer: Air Dry Your Bikini or Swim Trunks

airing out washed swimming trunks


When it comes to swimsuit care, leave your tumble dryer out of it. It’s much better to air dry your bathing suit, but here are some tips for how to do it properly:


  1. Lay your swimsuit on top of a clean towel.
  2. Roll up the towel to squeeze and absorb moisture from your suit. Do not wring or twist your swimsuit as you can damage stretchy fibers that help make it fit well.
  3. Using a separate towel or a drying rack, lay your suit flat across the surface to dry.
    • a. Try not to hang your suit from a doorknob, bathtub faucet, curtain rod, or from a clothesline. Hanging your swimsuit can cause it to become misshapen and stretched.
  4. If drying your suit outside, avoid direct sunlight. Although the sun can help your suit dry faster, it can also cause it to fade or damage fibers.
  5. Try placing a household fan near your drying suit or turning on the ceiling fan if you have one. The breeze will help the suit dry faster!
  6. Let it dry overnight, flipping the suit or moving to a different section of the towel if needed.


#3 Take Care Where You Sit Poolside to Protect your Bathing Suit


In addition to washing and drying your swimsuit, one thing that makes it wear out faster is fabric pilling – usually from sitting on rough surfaces such as textured concrete or even sand at the beach.


To avoid those little bumps along the bottom of your bikini, be sure to sit on a towel rather than directly on the concrete or sand. If you do get pills on your swimsuit, you can remove them with a fabric shaver or very carefully with scissors.


Another tip: Try to keep your swimsuit out of the sun when you’re not wearing it to protect it from fading.


#4 Rinse Your Swimsuit in the Shower

woman rinsing her bathing suit in the shower


Here’s a timesaving tip – rinse your swimsuit in cool water while wearing it when you get out of the pool, ocean, lake, or hot tub. To take good care of your swimsuit, give it a thorough rinse every time you wear it – even if you don’t get in the water. To be extra efficient, when you’re rinsing off the sand, salt water, sunscreen, or chlorine from your skin after a day of fun in the sun, rinse your swimsuit, too. Then peel it off and give it another good rinse before laying flat to dry.


Remember: be sure to use cool water. No one wants to limit their trips to the hot tub, but the high chlorine levels and warm water will do a number on your swimsuit so be sure to rinse and use good bathing suit care to help reduce the wear and tear.


#5 Store Your Bathing Suits in a Cool, Dry Area

When you’re not wearing your swimsuit or when you’re putting it away for next year, the best place to store it is in a cool, dry area. Avoid hot attics and damp basements. For optimal care, place your stored swimsuits in a garment bag. Just make sure they are completely dry before you close the bag to reduce any mold or mildew buildup from a damp suit.


Bonus: If You Do Machine Wash: Use a Delicate Cycle & Gentle Detergent

Some swimsuits have fabrics that allow them to be machine washed, and if you choose to put your suit in the machine make sure to take it easy. A washing machine without a central agitator will have less chance of catching strings and causing tangles. Be sure to use the “Gentle” or “Delicates” cycle, cold water, and a mild detergent such as ARM & HAMMER Sensitive Skin Free & Clear.


Even if you decide to machine wash your suit, do not tumble dry unless you use the air fluff only cycle (no heat). The high temperatures of a dryer can damage delicate fabrics so it’s best to leave out the heat!


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