We all have that one favourite piece of swimwear that comes along with us on all our summer holidays! However, keeping it stain-free can be a challenge especially with our constant use of tanning oils, sunscreens and the occasional strawberry daiquiris spills. Did you know that it’s even harder to remove sunscreen out of swimsuits than regular clothes? This is because they’re made of synthetic materials that absorbs a lot of these chemicals. Even gentle baby friendly sunscreens have certain chemicals that may stain your swimwear.  So, what do we do? Instead of giving up all hope and wearing only black swimsuits, thankfully there are a number of ways on how to remove stains from swimwear and make them last longer!

READ ALSO: Finding The Right Swimwear For Your Body Type

First things first, you need to take into account several factors such as the texture and fabric of the swimwear and always, always! read the care instructions or you may end up doing more harm than good while trying to get rid of stains from your swimsuit.

Let’s begin with the basics on how to remove stains from swimwear:

remove stains on swimwear- green bikini in wash basin with soap suds
Always rinse your swimwear
  • Always rinse your swimwear immediately after wear. We usually just wash it the same time we take a shower – because it’s still considered a rinse and we are lazy like that! Allow the soap bubbles to cover the swimwear and rinse off thereafter.
  • Hand washing is best but machine washing on cold is also fine.  If you choose to machine wash the swimwear, invest in a mesh laundry washing bag to protect your swimwear during the wash.
  • Use a gentle liquid detergent, which will help to keep the swimwear’s form and elasticity in its original shape.
  • Do NOT use bleach on swimwear, unless you want to break down the fabric and cause colours to fade. However, you can try colour safe bleach to further whiten an already white swimsuit.
  • Do not wring or twist your swimwear to dry. Press down on it, press it between your hands or roll it in a dry towel to get the excess water out.
  • Always air dry your swimwear (Afterall, swimwear has been designed to be fast dry).
  • Always dry swimwear on a flat surface. Placing swimwear on a towel or a drying rack will help to keep them from stretching out.
remove stains on swimwear - red swimsuit drying on towel
Leave your swimwear to dry on a towel

What about stubborn stains on swimwear?

Pre-Treat Stains 

Use a spot-treat solution and work it into places that require more attention:  straps, ties, underarms area, the edges along a bikini top, and the waistband. Stain removers are great to remove stains from swimwear. However, it is best to first test stain removers on the swimsuit to make sure that the colour doesn’t bleed.

Soak & Wash

Mix warm water with a capful of enzyme enriched detergent and soak your swimsuit for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and leave to dry. For tougher stains, go over them with a soft bristle toothbrush and repeat the process until the stains come off.

  Tips for specific stains:

remove stain on swimwear- yellow stain on bikini strap
Yellow stains on bikini straps

Yellow stains – Usually caused by sunscreens and chlorine, these unsightly yellow stains are the most common stains on swimwear. White vinegar is a natural whitener and stain remover. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into a bucket. Add 1.5 litres of warm water to the bucket and soak the swimwear for an hour in the mixture. Rinse off with cold water. Selecting the right sunscreen with no chemicals can also help in reducing stains on swimwear.

Tanning Oil stains – We understand that tanning oils are much needed to achieve that deep bronze colour. However, your swimwear doesn’t need a tan. Dish washing detergent does the trick to remove tanning oil stains. Squirt a generous amount on the oil stain, rub it in gently with your fingers to work the soap in and let it sit overnight. Wash with cold water and repeat the process if the stain is still visible. This also works for removing self-tanner stains.

Chocolate stains – Chocolate ice cream melting under the scorching summer sun is probably the main culprit for this! The safest way to remove chocolate stains from your swimwear is to spot-treat with a stain remover. Follow on with your regular hand washing process.

Alcohol stains – No, your swimwear is not thirsty so stop forcing it to drink! The best way to deal with alcohol stains would be to wash your swimwear with detergent in the hottest water that its fabric can handle (check labels). Soaking the swimwear in 1 teaspoonful of pre-soak product will make everything simpler. This also works for tea and coffee stains.

There are other home remedies out there to remove stains from swimwear. From baking soda, crushed up aspirin to lemon and salt, what is your best tip? Share it with us in the comments below!

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  • Even baking soda doesn’t work

  • I really appreciate you for publishing this blog here about how to remove stains from swimwear; it’s really a helpful and very useful for us. This is really appreciated that you have presented this data over here, I love all the information shared. Great article!

  • Such an informative blog, I must try these tips to protect my swimwear.

  • Great tips! Sunscreen is always a problem for me, especially on black swinwear!


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