We know South Beach gals know what's up – but did you know your swimwear needs special care? Whether you've been sunbathing, swimming in the pool or the sea, these can take a toll on your swimwear. How should you wash, dry, store and care for your swimwear?

Here are our top tips for caring for and washing your bikinis and swimsuits:

What to do


The rinse

Shower with your swimwear on – but don't use shower gels on it.

After you've taken off your swimwear, turn it inside out and immediately rinse it in lukewarm water under the tap or shower.

This washes away bacteria as soon as possible, while avoiding any harsh soaps contained in shower gels. It also helps to get rid of pool chlorine, which can damage both the colour and the Lycra content of your swimwear.

Rinsing inside out helps to protect the delicate outer layer.

Use cold or lukewarm or cold water as hot water could degrade the elastic.

The wash

Fill up the sink with more cool or lukewarm water. Add a small amount of specialist handwashing detergent (or delicates washing liquid – they're often the same thing) and swirl it around in the water to disperse it. Add your swimwear and let it soak for 10 minutes. Next, massage your swimwear gently to loosen all the dirt, oils and chemicals.

Finally, drain the soapy water and give your swimwear a final rinse under a cool or lukewarm tap, until all the soap has gone and no bubbles remain.

Water alone won't remove the chemicals you find in swimming pools, or the effects of salt water and sand.

Using a specialist detergent for delicates helps to preserve the colour, shape and fabric of your swimwear. Regular washing detergent can be too harsh for your swimwear, damaging it and shortening its lifespan. We want your bikini to last!

Always hand wash if you can - washing machines can be too rough for the fabric, causing pilling and bobbling. If you must use the machine, try to do so only every fourth or fifth wash. Use a cool, delicate cycle and wash your swimwear in a mesh lingerie bag or pillowcase to minimise stretching, friction and wear.

Never use bleach on your swimwear – it could ruin it!

The dry

Gently squeeze the excess water from your swimwear. You can roll it up in a clean towel or tea towel and squeeze this gently, to absorb some of the excess water.

Lay it flat in the shade or inside for it to dry out naturally.

Let your swimwear dry for at least 24 hours before putting it away or wearing it again, so it can regain its shape, and minimise any bacteria growth.

Never wring your swimsuit – it could warp its shape and damage the fibres of the fabric. This may lead to the elastic failing, or sagging in weird places.

Avoid drying in direct sunlight. While we may worship the sun here, it may fade your colours and compromise the Lycra and elastic fibres.

Try not to hang your swimwear by the straps – it could stretch them permanently. No wardrobe malfunctions here please!

Never tumble dry your bikinis or swimsuits – it's too rough and too hot. The fabric and elasticity will be damaged.

Don't leave your swimsuit to dry in a rolled up towel. This can breed bacteria, and also prolong exposure to chlorine and other chemicals that are soaked up by the towel. Gross.

Our useful top tips for getting the best from your South Beach swimwear:

Rotate swimwear

The fabric in your bikini or one-piece needs to dry and recover from being worn wet. This is so it can snap back to its intended shape – Lycra and elastic are memory fibres, so they need time to remember, and stop the sagging and bagging! For this reason, it's best to wear a different bikini or swimsuit every day, and let your others dry out fully. What better excuse for a spree to stock up on South Beach goodies?!

Sit on a towel

So, this is a less obvious one. But hidden roughness is everywhere – from pool edges to snags on a lounger. It may look smooth to you, but you could be putting undue stress on the fabric when it touches less-than-silky surfaces. Just sitting on a stone surface could result in abrasion that starts a process of pilling and even tiny tears – not good! Plus, sitting on a towel is warmer and more comfortable than not – so it can only be a good thing!

Shower before

Body oils, dirt and perspiration: they're just part of stayin' alive. The cleaner your skin is before wearing your swimwear, the less nonsense you have to wash out afterwards. Simples.

Step away from the hot tub (and spa)

We're not trying to harsh your buzz here… but really hot temperatures and tub/spa chemicals (hey there, bromine) aren't best buddies for your bikini. That's part of the reason we advise not using the washing machine either – it's all a bit too hot! If you absolutely have to wear yours in the hot tub, wash it immediately after to limit the damage. Or hey, sometimes no swimwear is more fun!

Bake before the lake

Or 'sun before you swim'. Lotion before ocean. Fry whilst dry. Lamp before damp. We could come up with a million memorable warnings here – but the moral of the story is that it's better to sun yourself while your swimwear is dry, not wet. Think of it like microwaving food with more water in it – it cooks and breaks down much faster than something dry. Your colours will fade much quicker. Avoid boiling your wet swimwear in the sun - gently roast while dry instead.

Suncream's not reem

Well, we are paraphrasing Joey Essex there - we all love safe sun, but sun cream is not the one. While we're on the subject of sun bathing, it's best to avoid oils and creams coming into contact with your bikinis and swimsuits. Why? Two reasons: one, they can discolour your pretty fabrics; and two, the chemicals can also start to break down the elastic fibres in the fabric. Sagging = potential wardrobe malfunction! What to do? Make sure your sun screen is fully absorbed before you put on your swimwear. Same deal if you're using fake tan: make sure it is totally dry before any contact with your swimwear. You'll know if/when you've been tangoed.