how to hand wash your bathing suit_

How To Properly Hand Wash Your Bathing Suits

Although washing swimsuits might sound like a simple task, there are a lot of concerns, dos and don’ts, stuff to take care of, and whatnot.

But at the end of the day, if you manage to do it correctly, you realize – all the toil was worth it! After all, a good, deep rinse does more than just clean your bathing suit. It breathes new life into your swimwear.

Should I hand wash my swimsuits?

Yes, because your swimsuits can endure tidal waves. But not those reckless washer spins. 

When it comes to delicate pieces of clothing like swimwear, the main reason why hand washing is advised over machine washing is because it’s way gentler. 

It does not tear apart the fabric, ruin the fit, or harm the color. Rather, if you hand wash your swimwear the right way, you’ll be able to do away with all that oil, dirt, and chlorine much more quickly and efficiently. 

Environmentally too, hand washing is a more favorable alternative than machine washing. As most swimwear is made of non-biodegradable textiles like spandex and polyester, your best bet to be eco-friendly is to expand its shelf life as much as possible. 

By choosing to hand wash your swimsuits, you can do exactly that, as it keeps the suits looking brand new for a long, long time.

So, do we suggest you wash your swimsuits with your hands? HELL YES!

Read also: 9 Things to Know about washing swimsuits >

Benefits of hand washing swimsuits

Hand-washing a swimsuit has multiple benefits and should always be chosen over machine washing it (or not washing it at all!). Here are a few plain reasons why;

  • It keeps the fit of the swimsuit intact and doesn’t make it extra snug or loose.
  • It protects the color of the swimsuit from fading away or turning yellow.
  • It does not damage the fabric or cause any linting, creasing, or snagging.
  • It cleanses deeply and hygienically, preventing chlorine and bacteria from piling up.
  • It is eco-friendly as it consumes less water and keeps the garment in good shape.

Getting things ready: what will you need?

Washing a swimsuit with hands is pretty straightforward. Unlike in the case of machine washing, you don’t need any special equipment to get the job done.

What you need

  1. A bucket or a tub
  2. A mild cleanser – for removing dirt and sweat. Preferably, use a shampoo. Alternatively, you can also use a gentle fabric softener or baking soda.
  3. Two towels – for drying the wet garment.

Washing time

  • Cold water soak: 30 minutes
  • Soapy water soak: 15-20 minutes (depending on how soiled the garment is)
  • Rinsing: 10 minutes 
  • Drying: 30 minutes

Total time: 90 minutes (1.5 hours)

How to correctly hand wash your bathing suit (step by step)

Do not tuck your used swimwear inside the closet. With these easy steps, wash it with your bare hands and get rid of every bit of filth and germs – the expert way;

how to wash your swimsuits without ruining them

Things to check before the wash

Hand-washing swimwear is much safer than washing it in the washer. However, to get the most out of the wash, make sure you check off this list before kickstarting;

  • Make sure the water you’re using is cold to lukewarm.
  • Do not use laundry detergents, soaps, bleach, or stain removers.
  • Check and closely follow the care label on the swimwear.
  • Do not stretch or squeeze the swimwear to get the excess water out.
  • Avoid washing the swimwear with your hands if the label says otherwise.

Step 1: Prep your swimsuit

If you’re washing a swimsuit that’s been worn a couple of times, it’s always a good idea to inspect it closely before dousing it in water. 

If you spot any stain or oil blotch on the garment, coat it with a layer of cleansing agent and keep it put for 10 minutes.

But, if your swimsuit fabric is too delicate, swap the cleansing agent with baking soda and lime solution and spread it over the stain.

This little prep work goes a long way in deeply cleaning your swimwear without any extra strain.

Step 2: Soak it in cold water

After 10 minutes, soak the swimsuit in a tub/sink filled with cold water and let it sit there for at least 30 minutes. 

Although many expert guides on hand-washing swimwear tend to skip this step, it’s actually extremely helpful. It loosens the dirt particles and protects the garment against damage.

Two hot tips – firstly, do not rinse off the baking soda solution before soaking the swimsuit. Secondly (and most importantly), make sure the water is chilled.

However, if your swimsuit is extremely smelly and “chlorine-y,” you can use mildly lukewarm water instead. But then again, it also depends on the fabric your swimsuit is made of. 

Do not use anything except cold water if it’s polyester or spandex. If it’s nylon, go for lukewarm water for better cleansing.  

Step 3: Let it sit in soapy water

After 30 minutes – now that the swimsuit is perfectly soaked up – gently squeeze out the excess water and dip it in a soapy water mix. Keep it soaked in the solution for 20 minutes, maximum.

Ideally, a tablespoon of shampoo is the best for this purpose. Or you can also use a cup of any mild fabric softener like Gain or Snuggle to create a sudsy, soapy solution. To make it extra efficient, add a spoonful of vitamin C. 

Likewise, there are many other cleansing agents you can use as cleansers for your swimsuit. So, note what you shouldn’t use, i.e., harsh cleansers like detergents, soaps, or bleach.

These can cause extreme fabric abrasion. So, keeping your swimsuit soaked in their solution is a bad idea.

Tip: Stinky swimsuit? Add one teaspoon of vitamin C to your soap mix and say goodbye to that musty smell!

Step 4: Rinse with cold running water

Finally, after 20 minutes of soaking, take your swimsuit to the sink and rinse off the suds with cold, running water.

Do not squeeze or scrub the garment. Just stroke it gently with your palms until all the soap has washed out.

Once done, squeeze it lightly to get rid of the extra water.

Step 5: Dry it out with towels 

Lastly, it’s time to dry the swimsuit.

Take two cotton towels, sandwich the garment between them, and lay it flat for 5 minutes. After that, remove the towel from the top and let the swimsuit air dry. 

Tip: use white cotton towels, as colored ones may bleed upon coming in contact with the wet swimsuit. 

Here a quick video of the above steps:


How to quickly dry your bathing suits

Here are three simple yet effective ways how you can do that;

Lay the garment flat on a towel

Towels make the whole task of drying swimwear super quick and easy. So, once the washing is done, take a towel and lay your swimsuit flat on it. 

This is the simplest, least damaging, yet the most effective way to dry your swimsuit. Since the towel keeps soaking all that extra moisture, your swimsuit will dry even before you know it.

Use the sandwich technique

Take two cotton towels, place the swimsuit in between, and remove the top one after a few minutes. Alternatively, you can also roll your swimwear in one to remove excess water before letting it air dry on its own.

Take help from a stand fan

After all the extra water has evaporated, place the swimsuit near a stand fan and let it dry. This is a similar yet far less damaging resort than drying the swimsuit in a hot dryer machine.

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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