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How To Care For Your Swimwear

by Maria Luisa Mendiola

Here’s 5 easy tips to take better care of your swimsuits, from the best-caretaker I know, my mom. In case you don’t know, my mom is the reason I love swimwear. Back in the early 90s, getting durable and high quality swimwear in Costa Rica was impossible. So when we had the chance to buy clothing abroad, my mom made sure my sisters and I always took great care of all of our garments, but most specifically our swimwear because we would be getting a lot of uses out of it and it had to last more than one season. 

Here are her top tips on how to take care of your swimsuit: 

How to wash a new swimsuit

Kindly rinse quickly with cold water. If there are some stains use a little bit of gentle soap. If you are travelling and you are not sure if the soap in your hotel room is gentle, test it in an inconspicuous part of the suit before you use it to remove the stain. Keep your use of water and soap to a minimum. Once the soap is removed, if you used it, wring out your suit gently.

How to wash a swimsuit after multiple wears 

In a bucket, add cold water with less than a teaspoon of delicate care liquid soap and mix with your hands. Then add the suit, along with any other swimsuits of the same color that need washing. 

Then, gently hand wash the places where dirt may collect the most. My mom recommends that you leave the suits in the soapy-water for 15 minutes maximum. If you leave for longer it gets harder to remove the soap and for some suits (not ours) it can cause the fabric color to fade. Leaving the suits in the soapy-water will guarantee that any sand stuck between the fibres of your suit will drop to the bottom of the bucket or sink, while leaving the suit smelling heavenly. This is a once in a year, at most, kind of wash. For all other washes, wash as though the swimsuit is new. 

How to dry your swimsuit

Leave the suit out to dry in the shade. If you leave it exposed to the sun, the fabric color may fade. If you have time, you can lay the suit on top of a towel and have it dry horizontally in order to allow the suit’s stretch to relax. If you are pressed for time, you can hang your clean swimwear over a hook or rod. If the suit has ties in the chest or on the sides, I usually untie the straps to let the fibres of the suit regain their stretch as it dries. 

Never use a washing machine

We mean it! The washer’s tumbling and abrading forces cause the breakdown of fabrics, which means that more microplastics end up in the ocean. Although water treatments remove the majority of microplastic particles, extended use of your swimsuit can result in the introduction of microplastic fibres directly into the water. Top loading washers have been found to shed more plastic than side loader washers, so if you are in the market for a new washer please keep this in mind.

Swimwear fabric already takes enough of a beating with the sun (ultraviolet rays have been known to break down fibres as well), sand and chlorine. The last thing you want is to add unnecessary mistreatment. If you are pressed for time and cannot hand wash, you can use the hand wash setting in your washer but we recommend avoiding this as much as possible. 

Store your swimsuit in a bag

Most swimsuits, including all of our own, come with a bag. After your suit has been washed and dry, you should always keep your suits in their bag for a range of reasons...

  1. It protects the swimwear fabric from brushing against rough surfaces or other fabrics that might affect the color and softness of your suit.

  2. If you have a two-piece or three-piece, you will want to keep all the parts of the swimsuit together. This will cut down time when you are packing last-minute and help reduce clutter in your closet. 

  3. If your suit comes in a plastic bag, which unfortunately most do, continue to use the bag for the duration of your swimsuit’s life. At MIGA Swimwear, we have chosen canvas bags for our suits as we believe they are not only durable but multi-purpose (I use it to keep small belongings like keys or my wallet from getting lost in big beach bags) - they are the most successful at protecting your swimsuit.

If you follow these steps, we can assure you that your swimsuit will stay with you for a long time. My mom has had swimsuits that have lasted her for years. Swimwear is an investment, let's treat it like one.