Making a suit last all summer and beyond is all in the washing, says John Mahdessian, owner of Madame Paulette, where New Yorkers send their finest clothes to be dry-cleaned (you also might recognize his name if you watch The Real Housewives of New York. He’s Dorinda Medley’s beau!) Mahdessian told us that women tend to do all the wrong things when it comes to laundering their swimsuits, ruining them by (or even before) summer’s end. Here are his tips and tricks for extending the life of your suit:
1. Before you jump in: Rinse off any body oils or body makeup, which will ruin your swimsuit over time.
2. Hand-washing is your best bet: “I prefer the hand-washing and soaking technique with a neutral detergent, like Palmolive or Ivory soap,” said Mahdessian. First, rinse the suit with water to flush out any chlorine or debris, then add soap and rub gently. Be sure to rinse out all of the soap and lay flat to dry.
3. If you can’t hand-wash: “Buy a mesh laundry bag and put the suit in there before throwing it into the machine on a gentle cycle,” said Mahdessian. “Otherwise, the mechanical action will stretch the fabric and it can get bungled, twisted, and tied up.”
4. Don’t leave it to dry in the sun: Lay your suit flat on a towel to dry so it doesn’t stretch out—and do so in the shade. If you leave your suit out to bake in the sun for more than a couple of hours, it will begin to fade. And whatever you do, don’t put it in the dryer.
5. If you’ve got a stain: If the stain is wet, lightly dab it, then start the hand-washing process when you get home. If the stain is dry, do not scratch it off. If you do, you can scratch out some of the dye, which can never be repaired. If you can’t get the stain out, head to your local dry cleaner.
6. Can’t get those little particles sand out of the fibers of your swimsuit? First, try hand-washing and soaking it for a bit in water. If that doesn’t work, wait until the swimsuit dries completely and grab your hair-dryer. Blow out the sand particles on a light and cool setting.