Surprise! If your go-to swimsuit has gone from the illest on the beach to just plain ill-fitting, chances are you’ve been washing it the wrong way. With all the hard work you put into scouring the top swimwear trends of the season and finally finding your perfect-fitting suit, don’t let poor washing habits come between the two of you. From how to use baking soda to spot-treat stains to laundry hacks for keeping colors fresh, these 10 expert tips will ensure your beach wardrobe lasts for summers to come.

1.Fancy or embellished swimwear should always be hand-washed. We know, we know — hand-wash-only is basically the worst. But considering the cuteness of this Marysia Swim Antibes Bikini Top ($150) and matching Marysia Swim Skirted Bikini Bottom ($169), the convenience of a machine wash definitely isn’t worth losing any beads over.

2. Protect your suit with a cover-up or a towel while lounging poolside. All it takes is a super cute beach towel, like the fringed and fabulous Las Bayadas La Iris ($69), to protect your swimwear from sun damage and stains as you get cozy with your strawberry daiquiri. Sip, sip away!

3. Soak your bathing suit in cold water without detergent for 30 minutes to an hour after every use. It’s easier than ever to hand wash your suit with a portable tub like this Joseph Joseph Wash and Drain Dish Pan ($25). As Lauren Hill of Mama’s Laundry Talk points out, “If you’ve been swimming in a lake or ocean, you want to remove the salt and any other ickies that might be in the fabric” — ASAP.

4. Use one tablespoon of gentle detergent after every few wears. We’re fans of The Laundress Sport Detergent ($19) or The Laundress Sport Kit ($45), which preserves the elasticity in our beach gear as it gently removes the chlorine, salt, and oils that linger on our suits.

5. No detergent? Use white vinegar instead. Take advantage of the household staple’s deodorizing, antibacterial, and stain-removing properties by mixing one part vinegar, such as Spectrum Organic Distilled White Vinegar ($7), for every three parts water. Ta-dah!

6. Stains? Check your SPF. Swimwear line owner Marysia Reeves warns of common sunscreen/swimwear faux pas due to harsh ingredients that break down the material. Check reviews to pick an SPF that won’t stain your swimwear, like Blue Lizard Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30 ($19).

7. Spot-treat stains with baking soda. Sprinkling baking soda directly onto your suit and letting it sit for one to two hours is a budget-friendly way to keep your suit sparkling. Mama’s Laundry Talk also warns against using traditional stain removers, which run the risk of discoloring your suit. So why not grab some Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ($1) from your pantry instead?

8. Rinse in cool water. For uber stubborn stains, try using a product like The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar ($6). But be sure to rinse only with cool water — never hot.

9. Always hand dry your swimwear and never wring it out. Wick away excess moisture with a cushy towel, like the Microfiber Large Drying Towel ($10). Lay your swimsuit out flat to dry indoors, avoiding direct sunlight to reduce the chance of fading.

10.Only use the washing machine at the end of the season. Designer Shoshanna Gruss explained to StyleCaster, “Never put your swimwear in the washing machine, and always hand dry. The only exception: At the end of the summer or vacation, wash your swimwear in lingerie washing bags on the gentle cycle… but only after many wears.” So be sure to nab a Nordstrom Lingerie Large Lingerie Wash Bag ($12) before the season winds down.

Have you been washing your swimwear all wrong? Us too! Tell us about it on Pinterest.

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