do you need to wash swimsuits - complete guide

Do You Need To Wash Swimsuits? (9 Things You Should Know)

Yes, you do need to wash your swimsuits

are you supposed to wash swimsuits-

Let’s end the debate here – washing swimsuits is essential for a number of reasons. It helps keep the garment in good condition, slows down the damage, makes it hygienically safe for use, and whatnot.

But washing this piece of clothing is different from washing other clothes.

While you are supposed to – and you must – wash swimsuits, you need to pay extra attention to some specific aspects. A single miss and you might end up ruining your favorite swimwear – once and for all.

So in this blog, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about washing swimsuits, in detail.   

A lot can happen if you don’t wash your bathing suits

Bathing suits require proper upkeep to look and feel as good as new.

If you think you can slip them inside your closet without a good wash, you are dead-ass wrong;

Chlorine damage

If you don’t rinse the suit after a dip, the presence of chlorine can cause its fabric to become dull and damaged. It can also cause the material to lose its elasticity, which, in turn, ruins the fit.

Fading color

The extended sun exposure on the beach takes a toll on a suit’s gentle fabric and causes color-fading. By not washing and conditioning it before the subsequent use, you are simply making it a permanent defect. 

Sunscreen stain

Traces of sunscreen on the swimsuit can also affect its color and make it look bleached. So, it’s important to give it a proper wash after use.

Germ infection

Whether the swimsuit is store-bought or just recently worn to the beach, it hosts innumerable bacteria. Throwing it inside the wardrobe without washing it is a gross idea and can lead to multiple infections. 

It’s best to wash your bathing suits immediately after every use

Washing a swimsuit after using it is a good practice from both hygiene and longevity points of view. But should you wash it after each and every use? Or is it okay to skip the laundering once in a while? Well, it depends on how you use it.

Too much detergent, drying, and stretching can also cause the swimsuit fabric to degrade.

Before you throw it into the pile of unwashed laundry, ask yourself – did you go for a swim in the water, or were you just sunbathing?

Since chlorine water has negative effects on the fabric of the suit, it’s necessary to give it a thorough wash after taking a dive.

But if you did not go into the water, it’s okay to put back your swimsuit without washing it. Just rinse it with clean water before your next use, and you’re good to go. 

You should avoid wearing unwashed bikinis unless…

Repeating unwashed bikinis is a bad idea. Except in some cases where, according to experts, you can wear a used one without washing it. 

Once you’re done swimming, simply take off your bikini and let it air dry. For up to five wears, repeating the same process after a swim is okay! However, after the fifth time, wash your bikini gently with soap or detergent. But of course, this also largely depends on other factors. 

For instance, if your skin is sensitive or you are prone to fungal or yeast infections, then it’s advisable to rinse your bikini after every single use.

Additionally, if the water you’re going into is highly chlorinated, then washing the apparel after use is a better choice. It prevents the fabric from getting damaged and keeps it afresh.

Otherwise, if you’re sunbathing or swimming in a chlorine-free environment, then you can absolutely repeat your used bikini. 

Hand-washing your bikinis is suggested, but don’t overthink it

Yes, hand-washing swimwear is not a mandatory option. But, it’s always preferable over machine washing, mainly because;

  • It is gentler on the fabric and prevents damage.
  • It reduces the chances of color leakage.
  • It cleans the apparel much more deeply and efficiently.
  • It allows you to target specific stains and smears more precisely.
  • It is quicker and requires no extra effort.

Read also: The Complete Guide to Machine-Washing Swimsuits (When You Have To) >

For new bathing suits, you should always wash them before putting them on

If you’ve just bought a new bikini from the store, you might want to wash it before finally flaunting it at the beach. After all, you never know who’s tried it and how sterile it is. So, cleaning it before putting it on can protect you from the risk of germs and infections.

In fact, it’s not even a tardy process;

  • Fill a bucket with cold water and add one tablespoon of liquid detergent.
  • Soak your swimsuit in this mixture for 30 minutes.
  • Once done, fill up your sink with cold water and wash your swimsuit. Make sure all the soapy water is out.
  • Next, place the suit on a dry towel and let it sit until all the excess water drains.
  • Finally, spread the swimsuit on a flat surface and let it air dry.

Washing your bathing suit in the shower has its pros and cons

Swimsuits need delicate care when it comes to washing them. But a lot of times, it’s not feasible. In such a case, you can wash them in the shower too.

It’s a no-brainer solution that’s also quick and less demanding. But not to mention, it also comes with its own set of pros and cons. To enlist a few;


  • It’s much more convenient than machine or hand washing.
  • It’s quicker and requires no special equipment.
  • It’s gentle and doesn’t harm the fit or fabric.


  • You can not completely cleanse the swimsuit.
  • As the water is comparatively warmer, there’s a higher chance of color leaking.

The best ways to wash your swimsuits are…

Here’re some tips on cleaning a swimsuit without damaging it:

Know when to wash

Do not wash your swimsuit just after every use. If it’s been in chlorine water, give it a deep, detergent wash. If not, just lightly rinse it with plain water once off the beach.

Avoid machine washing

All that spinning and tumbling make washing machines extremely harsh for the fabric of a swimsuit. So, it’s best to wash it manually. It reduces damage while ensuring the suit is clean and fit for the next use. 

Choose mild detergents

Typically, swimsuits are made of spandex fabric. Although this textile is pretty durable, it’s best to avoid too harsh detergents as they may lead to fabric discoloring and loosening.

Do not squeeze

Swimsuits are gently stitched. So even though their stretchy fabric may tempt you to squeeze out the excess water for quick drying, doing so weakens the seams and ruins the fit. 

Don’t tumble dry it

Excessive heat is bad for your swimsuit. So rather than throwing it inside your dryer or putting it out in direct sunlight, let it air dry to minimize any chance of damage or discoloration.

Luna Wilde covers the latest swimwear collections, designer collabs, tutorials and industry innovations. She brings over 5 years of digital journalism experience to crafting clever, conversational content about all swimwear-involved things.

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