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How to Wash and Care for Your Bikini and Swimsuits

How to Wash and Care for Your Bikini and Swimsuits

This article explains how to wash a swimsuit or bathing suit either by hand or by machine. It focuses on what you need to know about washing swimsuits without causing damage.

Summer is here and -- if you’re anything us -- you’re spending a lot of time by the water. Whether it’s everyday swim trunks, children’s bathing suits, or designer swimsuits, your bathing suit is getting lots of use. Regular washing and good care will keep your suit looking great this season and beyond. The Heritage Park Laundry Essentials clean team is here with some easy-to-follow care instructions for washing your swimwear: 

Smart Strategies to Keep Your Bathing Suit Looking Great 

Following a few general guidelines can help you tackle swimwear care with ease:

  • Rinse your bathing suit thoroughly after each wearing in cool or cold water to remove the chlorine and pool chemicals, salt water, sand, sweat, and sunscreen that can cause discoloration and/or odor. Don’t wring it out to remove excess water; lay it flat to dry on a clean towel.
  • Rotate your bathing suits as much as possible. Switching among several swimsuits will allow each garment to dry and return to its optimal shape.
  • Take care to avoid sitting on/letting your suit come in contact with any rough surface. Be especially mindful of pool edges, wood/wicker furniture, etc. Wear a cover up or use a towel.
  • Plan to wash your swimsuit after every third or fourth wear to clean and prevent bacteria and mold from growing. In between washes, rinse your suit well and allow it to dry thoroughly before storing or re-wearing.
  • Store your swimsuits in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

What Do You Need to Wash Your Swimsuit?

To handwash your swimsuit, you will need a sink or plastic wash tub; a gentle detergent; and a towel on which to lay your suit to dry. For machine washing, you need a mild detergent; a fine mesh laundry bag to protect your suit in the machine; and a washing machine that has a delicate cycle.

A mesh laundry bag will help to protect your swimsuit in the washing machine

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We recommend washing bathing suits in a gentle, pH-neutral detergent like Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent. This concentrated liquid detergent is made with natural, plant-based ingredients and a powerful blend of laundry enzymes to remove stains. At the same time, it is a gentle detergent that contains no dyes, sulfates, phosphates, chlorine, bleach, or brighteners that can damage fabric and irritate skin; learn more about what we put in and leave out of our detergents here. In fact, our Fragrance-Free All-Purpose formula is lab-certified hypoallergenic and pediatrician- and dermatologist-tested. This means it is non-irritating to even sensitive skin. You can read about hypoallergenic detergent here.

How to Handwash Your Bathing Suit

In general, handwashing is the preferred method for laundering swimsuits because there is less risk of stretching, pulling, or other types of damage. 

  1. Read the care label (here’s a guide to understanding care labels) and follow any specific instructions.
  2. Fill a sink or basin with cool water and add a small amount of Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent.
  3. Gently swish the bathing suit in the soapy water, ensuring all areas are covered.
  4. Carefully rub areas that need a little extra attention to clean.
  5. Rinse thoroughly in cool water. Do NOT wring, which can stretch the fabric and/or cause it to lose shape.
  6. Lay your suit flat to dry on a clean towel, away from direct sun or heat sources. 

How to Machine Wash Your Bathing Suit

While it's generally recommended to hand wash bathing suits to preserve their quality, some swimsuits may be labeled as machine washable. You may also choose to wash suits that get very sandy or dirty, particularly children’s swimsuits. If you choose to machine wash your bathing suit, here's how to do it while minimizing the risk of stretching or damage:

  1. Check the care label and follow guidelines.
  2. Wash your swimsuits alone or in a swimsuit-only load. 
  3. Use cool water and the most gentle or delicate cycle on your machine. These machines have gentle cleaning and spin cycles to put less stress on delicate fabric. Learn about washing machine settings and cycles here.
  4. Put your suit in a mesh laundry bag to protect it from damage inside the machine.
  5. Use the appropriate amount of Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent. NEVER use fabric softener or chlorine bleach.
  6. When the load is finished, carefully remove your swimsuit from the mesh bag. If it is still wet, pat it dry. Do NOT wring, which can cause the fabric to stretch.
  7. Lay the suit flat to dry on a clean dry towel, away from direct sun or heat.
  8. NEVER put your bathing suit in the dryer.

NOTE: If your bathing suit is particularly delicate or has intricate details, stick with hand washing to ensure its longevity and quality.

A Word About Removing Stains and Odors from Bathing Suits

Swimsuits are generally made from synthetic fabrics and should release stains and odors with gentle washing. Always follow the care label and call the manufacturer before using any stain removal products. To refresh your suit and remove odor, soak your suit in a mild solution of white vinegar and warm water or a solution of baking soda and warm water for 30 minutes.

Heritage Park Laundry Essentials

At Heritage Park, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels, and cloths, we found many commercially available "gentle detergents" either damaged our fabrics or didn't get the job done, leaving stains. We knew we could do better. So we developed a formula with the perfect balance of powerful -- yet safe -- ingredients designed to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on luxury linens. Please connect with us at (800) 977-1841 or visit our store with any product feedback or cleaning questions.

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