Summer is the season for fun and sun. The warmer temperatures during the summer months prompt people to spend far more time outdoors, especially at the beach or pool. And this means most individuals spend much more time in a bathing suit during the summer than in other seasons.
But most people only have a couple of bathing suits, leading many wearers to wonder how often they should wash their swimsuits.
The Effects of Not Washing a Suit After Each Use
The short answer is that you should wash your suit after every use to extend its life. But, of course, it’s tempting to think that since you are in the water for much of the time you wear a suit, you won’t have to wash it every time.
But the reality is that even though you may be in the water, your suit has contaminants that can ruin it if they aren’t cleaned. So even if you can’t do a full wash after every wear, it’s vital that you at least rinse the suit out to remove the contaminants.
A worn suit often has lotion and sunscreen on it, which can damage swimsuits. Sometimes, these creams and ointments have minerals that can discolor the fabric. And while you have been in the water when wearing your suit, chances are that you were in salt water or chlorinated water, which also damages bathing suits.
Saltwater can degrade the structure of the fabric, while chlorine weakens the fabric. Hot tubs are especially damaging to suits because of their high temperatures and chlorine levels.
Therefore, bathing suits should absolutely be rinsed thoroughly or washed after being in a hot tub. It is also recommended that you rinse a bathing suit before getting into a hot tub since that will minimize the amount of chlorine absorbed by your suit.
The Best Way to Clean a Bathing Suit
Before you throw your suit in the washing machine, it’s worth noting that there are better ways to wash a bathing suit. Washing machines can be used to clean a bathing suit, but this method should only be used if the suit indicates that it is safe for machine wash.
You will follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a washing machine. These instructions advise using the gentle setting to limit agitation. Too agitation can stretch the spandex or lycra material in a suit, altering how it fits. A mild detergent limits the amount of additional wear.
While some suits can go in the washing machine, most will hold up better if they are hand washed. In addition, hand washing can help your suit retain its color and shape longer, ensuring you get the most out of your bathing suit.
To hand wash your swimsuit, fill a sink with warm or cold water and add a teaspoon of gentle laundry detergent. You will want to select mild detergents designed for bathing suits as they are better at removing harmful materials and chemicals from delicate fibers.
Alternatively, you can use white vinegar or baking soda, but not together. Select one or the other. Both of these are gentle cleansers that will clean your suit with minimal damage.
You can gently swirl the suit in the water to ensure the cleaning agent reaches all parts of the suit. While it’s a good idea to soak the suit, do not leave it in the sink for longer than 30 minutes. At that point, the suit isn’t getting any cleaner, and prolonged soaking can loosen the fibers of your suit.
Once the suit is cleansed, you can rinse it and let it air dry after removing excess water. Rather than wringing the water out, you can press it on a flat surface.
Drying bathing suits in a dryer is not recommended as the high heat can weaken the elasticity of the spandex or lycra fibers. Instead, leave the suit on a flat surface until it is dry. Hanging it up can cause the fibers to stretch.
Caring for Your Suit
Finding the perfect bathing suit - or even one you love - can be a huge challenge. But once you have it, it’s tempting to wear it all summer. Unfortunately, frequent use can make washing your suit daily a chore. But even if you don’t wash it after every use, it’s critical to rinse it thoroughly after every wear.
A rinse with cold, clean water can remove much of the chemicals, chlorine, salt, and body residue left on your suit. Rinsing will also prevent your suit from developing a funky smell, which frequently happens if you just take off your suit and throw it in a hamper for a later wash.
The quicker you wash it, the less likely it is to develop a weird stink. So many people take a quick shower with their suit on to rinse.
In addition to prolonging the life of your bathing suit, a wash or rinse after each use is hygienic and reduces the risk of yeast infection, skin irritation, and discomfort.
Summer is a time for fun and relaxation. And if you have the perfect bathing suit, you are likely ready for whatever the day may bring. Since bathing suits are worn in water, it’s tempting to hold off washing it or skip washing for multiple days in a row. Unfortunately, this would be a mistake since the chemicals, body liquids, and other contaminants found on worn bathing suits can break down the materials or cause the suit to smell bad.
So, the recommendation is to wash your swimsuit by hand after each wear. And if you can’t do that, at least rinse it with clean water after each wear. Taking a few minutes to do this can extend the life of your suit and keep you looking great all summer long!