I grew up in South Florida and when I was around 5 or 6 years old, my mom taught me how to take care of my swimsuits. Mostly to help her because we were always at the beach or pool. But also to teach me how to make them last longer, especially because we practically lived in them.
Now as a swimwear designer and lover of swimwear, I've never forgotten the lesson my mumsy gave me about how to clean my swimwear. In fact, it's something that I still like to share from time to time in blog posts and when speaking with customers; after all, when spending your hard earned money on something you want to have it last for as long as possible.
The Classic Bikini Top, Surya Bottom and Mini Mesh Sarong.
Why Swimwear Needs Special Care
Before we get into how to clean our swimwear, let's get into the why of it all. Swimwear, well most swimwear anyway, is made with fabric and trims that have elastic or spandex in it. The nature of this fabric and trim is that it has fibers in it that stretch, allow it it have the close fit we know and need for our swimwear (it's what keeps your swimsuit on your body when it gets wet, rather than falling off from the weight of the water). The elastic trim used commercially is literally rubber and behaves more like a rubber band than anything else I could describe to you.
This rubber elastic and spandex dry out over time naturally. Because of this, the way we clean and store our swimwear (and activewear I'd like to add), have a big effect on how long it lasts and the condition of it during the time we own it.
How to store your Swimwear (And Activewear)
Now that we know the why we need to care for our swimwear and activewear a particular way, let's get into how we should be storing it. Typically, it's best to keep it out of direct sunlight when not wearing it. So we don't want to keep it a window, or in a place where the sun shines on it consistently; even for just a few minutes like while we're on vacation.
We also don't want to hang them up once we get them home. I always fold my swimwear and store them in a drawer in my dresser when I'm not wearing them, making sure to put them away only after they've completely dried.
Activewear should be stored the same way. Because of that stretch in the elastic and the fabric, hanging them up can cause them to stretch out, and you may not want that because it effects the way it will fit.
The Makenzie 1pc hanging in store during a pop up we did at Macy's.
*Once you purchase your swimwear, you should never hang it anymore. Leave that for the shop.
How To Clean Swimwear
Remember that story I shared with you about my mom teaching me how to clean my swimwear? Well what she said was to soak in in the bathroom sink while I was in the shower. Once I get out of the shower, I can scrub it, let the water out of the sink, rinse it a few times with clean water, wring the water out and lay it flat to dry. Be careful NOT to hang your wet swimsuit. Remember what we just learned, hanging it wet will most definitely stretch it out.
Once it's dried completely, you can fold it and store it in a drawer, or bin. It's worth pointing out that the type of detergent that is used is also important. We want to use mild detergents that don't suds up too much and are gentle on fabric. While swimwear fabric is durable, it needs to be treated gently to help it last longer. Never wash your swimwear in the washing machine and never ever put it in the dryer. Both are a sure fire way to speed up the degradation of the fabric.
I recommend a cleanser made specifically to clean swimwear like Sand & Surf Cleaning Solutionor a cleanser made for delicate fabrics like Woolite.
How To Clean Activewear
While activewear is very similar to swimwear in terms of fabric, I share my tips on cleaning it separately because as someone who works out, I know that hand washing activewear in the bathroom sink multiple times per week just isn't realistic.
So instead, what I do for my activewear is wash it on the delicate cycle in the washing machine. I NEVER put it in the dryer. If you have an older model washing machine or live in a NYC apartment like I do with a shared laundry room and perhaps the machines have no delicate cycle option, then use one of those little net lingerie bags to put your activewear in that help to protect it while it's being laundered.
Use a mild detergent like Dreft or Woolite.
Fashion Hack: How To Make Your Wardrobe Last Longer
Check out my YouTube video giving you amazing tips on how to extend the life for the rest of your wardrobe!
Comment below what you're doing to ensure the longevity of your wardrobe.