How to Wash Swimsuits

Swimsuits take a beating from all the chlorine, salt, sand, sun, sunscreen and other lotions we use while having a great time at the beach or pool. To keep your swimsuit from loosing its shape and fading, it needs special care. Swimsuits are made from materials that allow them to stretch and fit correctly, while enduring constant soaking and drying. These materials can be sensitive to harsh cleaners and high temperatures, so its best to hand-wash most of your swimwear. When in doubt, check the tag!

How to Wash Men’s Swimsuits

To wash by hand, follow the steps for women’s swimsuits. Otherwise, this method works as most men’s swimsuit materials can tolerate the washing machine just fine. Always consult label directions first.

What You Will Need:

  • Bleach-free laundry detergent
  • Washing machine
  • Location for air drying

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Check the label to make sure that the suit is machine washable. If it’s not, do not continue with these steps. Take the steps for washing women’s suits instead.
  2. Fill the washing machine with COLD water.
  3. Add detergent and swimsuits, its fine to wash with other clothing as long as colors are similar.
  4. Allow wash cycle to complete.
  5. Hang or spread out in the shade to air dry. Do NOT put swimsuits in the dryer!

How to Wash Women’s Swimsuits


Women’s suits should be cleaned by hand. Machine washing or drying can stretch or damage the special and sometimes sensitive materials.

What You Will Need:

  • Woolite or mild detergent
  • Clean sink
  • Cool water
  • Location for air drying
  • Towel

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Fill the sink about half full with cool water.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent and agitate the water slightly until suds form.
  3. Submerge swimsuit in water and gently scrub all surfaces with your hands.
  4. Empty the sink.
  5. Rinse the suit with cool water.
  6. Hang or spread out on a towel in the shade to dry. Do NOT put swimsuits in the dryer!

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Wash suits – separately and in cold water – before wearing them for the first time.
  • Rinse swimsuits in cold water as soon as possible after they’ve been exposed to chlorine or salt water.
  • Do not wrap your swimsuit in your towel. The towel has soaked up all of the chemicals and will continue to expose the swimsuit materials to their harsh effects.
  • Never leave suits out to dry in the sun. Overexposure to sunlight can damage the fabric or fade the suit.
  • If you use your swimsuit daily, invest in several. Giving your suit an entire day to dry and reform its shape will increase its lifespan.
  • Do not use bleach products on swimsuits.
  • Do not iron swimsuits.



  1. Rinse immediately after swimming.

  2. I rinse the suit in cold water right after swimming. Then, I wash by hand in Woolite and lay flat to dry. Works great.

  3. What about a way to get sand out of the lining of a swimming suit?

  4. My nice white bikini is ruined! The bottom part is full of sand, which will not come off. It makes the bikini look awful; I can’t wear it like that. Any suggestions, please?

  5. My nice, white bikini has an oil spot. What can I do?

  6. I also would like to know how to get sand out of children’s swim tops and bottoms. Washing them in the machine or soaking them has not helped as of yet.

  7. I washed my swimsuit in a normal washer/drier before being properly informed that you should not do that. I now have blueish dots on my pink bikini bottoms, what could they be from, and how do I get rid of them? My laundry soap is blue (as most is), if that helps. Help!

  8. Brittany R says:

    My swimsuit says to put it in the washer with cold water and run it through the dryer cycle on medium-to-high twice and then immediately iron afterwards to avoid wrinkling. It’s a 2 piece bikini swimsuit and so far from June-August, I have washed/dried/ironed it probably 75 times at least. It’s headed for the dry cleaners tomorrow for a week or so for next summer.

  9. I want to know what is the temperature and time on swimwear.

  10. Can swimsuits be put in a freezer for the hot summer months in Arizona to keep elastic from stretching?

Leave a Comment