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How to Care for Your Swimsuits

We've been in the midst of the summer season for a hot minute filled with never-ending sunshine and scorching heat. It's caused us to use every excuse to put on a swimsuit and take full advantage of the sun; we've brought out a swimsuit to go to water parks, when heading to the beach, sitting by the pool, and even to run through sprinklers. It seems like every go-to summer activity involves a swimsuit which is why every year we want to breathe new life into our summer wardrobes. Usually, this means a season-long dash to find the cutest swimsuit styles out for the year (Have you seen this years swimsuits? They're too cute to pass up!). But it also means properly taking care of the swimsuits we do have to make sure they last through every summer activity we can think of for as long as possible. If you're wondering how best to do that, you're not alone, and we're here to help. Below is a comprehensive guide on all the things you need to know to keep your swimsuits in impeccable condition for years to come.

Caring for a Brand-New Swimsuit

Prolonging the life of your swimsuit starts the moment you get it and before you ever even put it on… Well, maybe after you try it on to see how cute you look in it, but definitely before you wear it out. To help prevent the dyes from bleeding—especially if you're headed into some warm water (Tropical vacation? Hot tub? We're jealous!)—the very first thing you should do is soak the new swimsuit in a solution of vinegar and water.

  1. Make sure to add enough water to a container of your choice to fully submerge the swimsuit.

  2. Add the necessary amount of vinegar (approximately one tablespoon of white vinegar for every quart of water).

  3. Swirl solution together and then submerge the new swimsuit.

  4. Once it's fully submerged, let the swimsuit soak for 30 minutes.

How Often Should You Clean Your Swimsuits?

So you finally got to wear your brand new swimsuit, and you looked fabulous. Should you wash it right away? After getting out of the water, it's normal to immediately strip out of the swimsuit you were wearing and hang it up so that you can wear it again once it's dry. We get it—it keeps the laundry load low, and it might mean you don't need to own quite as many swimsuits to keep up with our summertime activities. Besides, you were in water most of the time you wore it, so you don't need to wash it that often, right? Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Determining when to wash a swimsuit is largely dependent upon the environment in which you use it. For instance, if you're wearing a swimsuit in chlorinated water, salt water, or without going into the water at all, you should be washing your swimsuit every time you wear it. Chlorine eats away at the material the swimsuit is made from and salt can also damage the fabric, neither instance is good for the swimsuit itself. If you don't go into the water at all, well, then you're wearing your swimsuit like underwear, and you should wash it as such (after every use). How about if you're swimming in fresh and unchlorinated water such as a lake or a river? Then, in order to best take care of your swimsuit, you should wash it every three to five times after use.

How to Wash a Swimsuit

Okay, so it's time to wash your swimsuit. What's the best to wash a swimsuit while prolonging its life? There are two ways: By hand and by machine. Most of the time, you're going to want to wash a swimsuit by hand so that the washing machine doesn't stretch out the spandex or damage the material. However, in rare situations the swimsuit can be made of special materials that allow for them to be washed in a machine. Because of this, it's always best to check the care label before determining how to wash your bathing suit.

Washing a Swimsuit by Hand

  • STEP 1: Rinse Out Your Bathing Suit

    The water you're swimming in can contain chemicals or substances that are damaging to the fabric of your swimsuit. Because of this, rinse your swimsuit in cold tap water as soon as possible once you are finished wearing it.

    If you have the time, you can do one step better and soak the suit in cool water for 30 minutes. Soaking helps to remove most of the chemicals, sand, salt, and body oils that can cause damage to the fabric

  • STEP 2: Treat Stains

    There are going to be different best practices for how to treat stains depending on what caused the stain. As a general rule, however, if a stain is prominent, you can spot-treat it with a mild swimsuit detergent or vinegar on the stained areas. If a stain is not as prominent you can add a small amount of vinegar to a sink filled with cool water.

    After either a spot treatment or adding vinegar to cool water you're going to want to soak the swimsuit for approximately 30 minutes. For tougher stains you can repeat this process a couple more times until the stain goes away. You can also get a soft-bristled toothbrush and scrub the stains as it is soaking.

  • STEP 3: Fill A Sink with Water & Add Detergent

    Fill a sink or container with enough cool water to fully submerge your swimsuit. Add one teaspoon or less of a gentle liquid laundry detergent to the water (make sure to not use a combination detergent with conditioner). You can also use baking soda as a gentle cleaning solution.

    Pro Tip: If you're washing a white swimsuit, it is best to use 1/2 cup of baking soda in cold water. Then soak the swimsuit for two hours before continuing to the next step.

  • STEP 4: Wash Your Swimsuit

    Turn your swimsuit inside out and submerge in the water solution for several minutes, swishing the swimsuit and the water around every so often.

  • STEP 5: Rinse

    Once the swimsuit is clean it becomes time to rinse out any leftover chemicals or stain treatments. Empty or drain the water and run fresh water over the suit, gently squeezing the water out of the fabric as you do so. Be sure to not wring the suit as it can cause damage.

  • STEP 6: Air Dry

    Once the majority of the water is out of the swimsuit, lay it out flat out of direct sunlight to dry.

Washing a Swimsuit in a Washing Machine

  • STEP 1: Treat Stains

    As stated above, there are going to be different best practices for how to treat stains depending on what caused the stain. As a general rule, however, you can spot-treat it with a mild swimsuit detergent or vinegar on the stained areas.

    If a stain is prominent, you can also get a soft-bristled toothbrush and scrub the stains with a little water.

  • STEP 2: Place in Mesh Laundry Bag

    Once you've treated the stain, place the worn swimsuit in a mesh laundry bag and place it in the washing machine. Add in a few other similar colored delicate items to prevent over-agitation of the swimsuit.

  • STEP 3: Set the Washing Machine

    Use a gentle, bleach-free, conditioner-free detergent such as a swimsuit detergent. Set the washing machine to a cold water delicate cycle and press start.

  • STEP 4: Air Dry

    When the wash has finished, take out the swimsuit from the garment bag and gently squeeze out any excess water. Then place the swimsuit out to air-dry out of direct sunlight to limit UV damage.

How to Store Your Swimsuit

When your swimsuit is fully finished air-drying you now get to put it away. The first rule of storing a swimsuit is to not hang it up. When you hang up a swimsuit, it can cause the fibers to stretch out, causing the life of your swimsuit to decrease. Then, whether it's the end of the season or not will change the best way to store your swimsuit.

If you're planning on bringing out your swimsuit again soon, then it's best to put the swimsuit away flat. Before you put it away, you'll want to make sure the swimsuit and the place you're storing it are completely dry. Any moisture left in the swimsuit or storage location can result in mildew… which is best to avoid if possible.

If you're done with your swimsuit for the season, you'll want to put it in a fabric garment bag before storing it in a dry place. Make sure to avoid any plastic bags as they can create a breeding ground for mildew and bacteria.


At Bare Necessities, we not only want to offer you the highest quality and trendiest selection of swimwear while making your online shopping experience fun and exciting, but we also want to make sure your new favorite swimsuits last as long as possible. Now that you know our best life hacks for washing and taking care of your swimsuits, explore our selection of swimwear – from high-waisted bikinis to crochet cover-ups and everything in between.


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