full guide on machine washing bathing suits_

Can I Machine Wash My Swimsuits? (Full Guide)

Most of the time, we remain oblivious when it comes to giving our swimwear the pampering it needs. This little mistake ends up being the reason why we have to toss it into the trash can.

So in this blog, we will discuss the most crucial hows and whys of machine-washing swimwear to help you take better care of your summer beach essentials. 

Can I put my bathing suit in the washing machine?

To answer you briefly – no!

Although washing machines come with a separate “delicate wash” mode, it still doesn’t prove to be gentle enough for swimwear. Machine washing causes havoc on the fabric and shape of swimsuits and bikinis. 

can you just throw your bathing suit into a washing machine_

If you do it repeatedly, then over time, it also makes your swimsuit look dull and faded. So, while you “can” throw your bathing suit in the washer for a quick wash, it’s best to avoid doing that as much as possible.

For clothing pieces like bras, bikinis, swimsuits, and tankinis, it’s always best to stick to hand washing – just as mentioned in their care labels. 

Unlike in the case of a washing machine, here you have full control over how to wash the garment to ensure the least damage. 

No tumbling, rubbing, or stretching – just quick and gentle palm scrubs. 

Read also: 9 Things to Know about washing swimsuits >

What happens if you put your swimsuit in the washer?

Putting a swimsuit in the washer has its own consequences. 

As most of them are made of either nylon or polyester, harsh machine washing can cause fabric thinning and make the garment look baggy. 

Alternatively, if you wash your polyester swimsuit in the washer without properly setting the temperature, it will come out shrunken and faded. 

In fact, just a single spin in the washing machine can damage your expensive swimsuit – in terms of color, quality, and fit – 2x more than usual!

“But I just don’t have time for that”

There might be occasions when you just cannot avoid either – washing your swimsuit and not doing so by hand.

For instance, when you’re running late or feeling tired. Or when you’re traveling to a place with limited resources. Or perhaps, if you are allergic to detergents or washing powders altogether. 

In fact, certain high-end swimsuits carry a care label that only allows gentle machine washing. 

In such pressing scenarios, using a washing machine could possibly be the last resort for cleansing your swimsuit. So although it’s not a widespread practice, it’s totally okay if you choose to do that once in a while. 

How to machine wash your swimsuits without ruining them (step by step)

Washing swimsuits in the machine is tricky and something not suggested by experts.

However, if you must, then here’s how you should; 

Things to check before throwing your bathing suit in the washing machine

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Before you dump your swimwear in the washer, tick off this preparatory checklist to ensure the least damage while washing;

  • Put your bikini tops and swimming bras in a separate mesh bag. 
  • Weed out your colored swimwear from the white ones.
  • Segregate your swimwear based on fabric types.
  • If there are any stains, coat them with a layer of baking soda solution.
  • Make sure to include no other clothes along with the swimwear.

Step 1: Sort your swimsuits

Before you move on to setting up the machine, it’s important to segregate the swimwear as mentioned above. 

This helps minimize the chances of linting or snagging and reduces the risk of color bleeding to zero. 

So only once you’re done with carefully sorting your swimwear, gather your pile and throw it in the washer.

Step 2: Set the right temperature

Swimsuit fabrics like polyester and spandex tend to shrink if washed with hot water. So, set the temperature to as cold as possible.

What temperature you should use

Generally, the lowest temperature setting most washing machines come with is 30 degrees centigrade. But if yours goes below that, don’t think twice – the chillier, the better. 

However, if your machine doesn’t offer a custom temperature adjustment feature, choose the “cold wash” option from the “modes” panel, and you’re good to go.

Step 3: Choose the gentlest washing cycle

Swimsuit brands that claim to be “machine-wash friendly” suggest their users to bathe the garment in the “delicate wash” cycle. 

What settings you should use

The general idea behind this is to choose a mode that involves minimal tumbling, stretching, and rubbing. This way, there is no damage done to the fabric, fit, or size of the swimsuit. 

So, set the washing cycle to “delicate.” Or alternatively, if there’s any washing cycle targeted exclusively for swimwear, choose that.

Step 4: Add a mild cleansing agent

Your cleansing agent makes a hell lot of difference. 

What detergents to use

So, first off, strictly avoid regular laundry detergents. They are harsh and can cause fabric abrasion. In fact, they may also turn your chlorine-infused swimsuit yellowish. 

Go for a mild, swimsuit-friendly detergent that efficiently removes all stains, chlorine, and odor without compromising on the fabric and color.

If your swimsuit isn’t stained and you do not want to invest in a particular detergent, add one spoonful of shampoo to the washer to cleanse your suit.

Tip: mix a teaspoon of vitamin C with detergent to get rid of stubborn chlorine effortlessly. 

Step 5: Let them air dry  

Once off the washer, straighten your damp swimsuit on a flat surface. 

Place a dry towel below the suit. Then, spread another one on top of it and keep it there for 30 minutes. After that, take off the towel and let the swimsuit air dry on its own.

Do not vertically hang your swimsuit, as that causes it to stretch and become loose. 

Additionally, try avoiding the dryer too. It hampers the fabric of the swimsuit and messes up its fit.

Is it a good idea to wash my swimsuits with my other clothes/towels?

Swimsuits are not your regular laundry. Just like their purpose, their care requirements are also special and singular. 

can you put bathing suits with other clothes into the washing machine_

Despite that, if you want to take the risk of throwing them in the washer, do so. But washing them along with other clothes can turn out to be a fatal idea. Here’s why;

It causes color staining

All that spinning and dampening inside the washer might cause some fabric dyes to bleed. So, if you just carelessly thrust your swimsuit into the machine with other clothes, there’s a high chance it might come out of it with ugly color spots and stains.

It attracts lint

Dailywear clothes made of wool and cotton are prone to linting upon washing. So, if you do not want your swimsuit to be covered in fibers, do not wash it with your daily laundry in the washing machine. 

It tears the fabric

Swimsuits have an extremely gentle build and their fabric requires special treatment. When you wash them in a stuffed washer, they get rubbed against other textiles and clothing materials like zips, buttons, buckles, etc. This causes extreme fabric thinning and tearing.

It messes up the fit

If you miss out on setting the right temperature while washing your swimwear with the rest of your laundry, it might very well ruin the fit. In particular, bikinis and swimming bras tend to shrink when washed with other clothes.   

It’s extremely unhygienic

A swimsuit is an apparel that functions synonymously as an undergarment too. Besides being intimate, a used one is also full of sweat, chlorine, chemicals from sunscreen, and whatnot. So, washing it with other clothes isn’t the most hygienic thing to do. 

Can I use the dryer?

Even in the worst-case scenario, using a dryer for drying your swimwear is a big no. There are tons of reasons behind this;

  • Its excessive heat irreparably damages the swimsuit’s fabric, making it look thin and transparent.
  • The rough and harsh spins make the swimsuit loose and baggy. 
  • Polyester swimsuits tend to get shrunken in extreme heat.
  • Too much heat also causes color fading.
  • Repeated use can permanently wear down the swimsuit’s quality

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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