Can You Tumble Dry Swimming Costumes? (read this first)

All the leading experts agree, Swimming costumes should never be dried in a tumble dryer. This is the general consensus of opinion industry wide and for good reason. Swimming costumes and in particular swimsuits, are expensive when you take into account just how much (or how little) material they’re made from.

Plus you can spend an extraordinary amount of time finding the perfect look and fit. Which means you’re going to expect it to last at least one Summer and this means you need to care for your swimwear correctly.

Why Should You Never Dry Swimming Costumes In A Tumble Dryer?

If you’re swimming every day through the warm Summer months you’re going to need to dry your swimming costume at the end of each day’s swimming session. It can be tempting to throw it in the tumble dryer and give it a 10 minute blast of heat to get the moisture out after you’ve spent the time washing the chlorine or salt out of it.

However, swimming costumes are often made from materials that can easily be damaged by heat. Materials like;

  • Polyester
  • Polyamides
  • Nylon

These man-made fibres can easily be affected by temperature which is why they should be washed in cold or warm water – never hot water. 

That carries on into the drying process as well. This is because heat can damage the fibres which can make them lose their shape, lose their elasticity,  wrinkle or shrink. 

Just exposing swimsuits to excessive heat for an extremely short time could ruin them.

We have been told by several avid swimmers that they occasionally treat their swimwear to a short blast on the cool setting in their tumble dryer with no ill effect. That’s their choice and of course we have no idea what material their swimming costumes are made from. 

Our advice would be to never dry your swimwear in a tumble dryer – Unless you intend to replace it in the very near future.

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On Swimming Costumes

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

99% of all swimwear will have a care label that tells you DO NOT Tumble Dry. 

But for those of you who are interested in what all those symbols on clothes care labels mean, we’ve compiled the following list.

Square With White Circle

This symbol indicates that the garment can be dried in a tumble dryer. This is not likely to be found on any swimwear.

Square With White Circle, One Black Dot In Circle

This symbol advises that the item can be dried in a tumble dryer on normal or low heat and is unlikely to be found on any swimsuits.

Square With White Circle, Two Black Dots In Circle

This symbol indicates that the garment can be dried in a tumble dryer on normal or medium heat and is very unlikely to be found on swimming costumes.

Square With White Circle, Three Black Dots In Circle

It’s highly unlikely to find this symbol on any swimwear as it indicates the garment can be dried in a tumble dryer using normal or high heat.

Square With Black Circle

Depending on the material used to manufacture the swimming costume. You could possibly find this symbol as it indicates that the item can be tumble dried with no heat.

Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top

This is the symbol most commonly found on swimwear as it indicates do not tumble dry.

How To Dry Swimming Costumes Without A Tumble Dryer

Now we’ve established how not to dry swimming costumes, let’s look at safe ways we can dry our swimwear after a swimming session. It is recommended that swimwear should be washed in cold or warm water using a mild detergent as soon as possible.

This is to remove any traces of salt or chlorine that could damage the material and also to remove any bacteria.

All manufacturers agree that when drying your swimming costume, it should not – under any circumstances be subjected to any heat at all.

So let’s look at safe alternatives to the tumble dryer for getting swimsuits dry after washing. 

Firstly, you should never wring out any swimwear as this could damage it. 

After spinning the swimwear on a spin cycle in the washing machine you should finish drying it in one of the following ways;

Air Drying Your Swimwear

Air drying can range from laying your swimming costume on the back of a garden chair to hanging on a washing line. Whichever outdoor technique you decide to use to dry your swimsuit, always ensure it’s in the shade. 

This is vitally important to prevent colour fade and also direct sunlight can be extremely hot which can damage your swimming costume’s material.

Drying Swimwear On A Clothesline

If you hang your swimwear on a clothesline, it needs to be supported in such a way that the material doesn’t become stretched. If your swimming costume becomes stretched, there’s no guarantee it will return to its original shape when it’s dry.

Don’t forget to ensure your swimsuit is out of direct sunlight too.

Drying Your Swimming Costume On An Airer

This is the recommended way of drying your swimwear to avoid any damage. It involves the use of a rack airer which allows you to lay the swimsuit out flat on the rack which allows air to circulate all round the costume. 

Air Drying Your Swimsuit Indoors

If the weather changes as soon as you’ve washed your swimming costume, you can still dry it indoors using that same airer in exactly the same way but indoors not out in the open.

Flat Drying Your Swimsuit

If you don’t own an airer, you can simply lay a towel flat on the floor in a shady area and then place the swimwear on the towel. 

Arrange the swimming costume so that it is flat and remember to turn in over after around 30 minutes.

Flat Drying Your Swimsuit Indoors

Simply lay a towel on a flat surface indoors (like a table or the floor) then place the swimwear on top of the towel. Lay the swimming costume flat and remember to turn it after a while. 

Using A Dehumidifier To Dry Your Swimwear Indoors

If you do decide to dry your swimming costume indoors, you can speed up the process by placing a dehumidifier close by to remove excess moisture from the room. This can cut drying times by a considerable amount and is very useful during Winter and wet Summer months alike.

If you don’t have a dehumidifier, an electric fan can be used to simulate a breeze around your swimwear as it’s drying. Just ensure there’s a window open to help remove excess moisture.

SEE ALSO: The Best Dehumidifiers For Drying Swimming Costumes

Retractable Clotheslines For Indoor Swimsuit Drying

If you don’t have a garden and space is limited indoors, a retractable clothesline could just be what you need. Retractable clotheslines consist of a box which is mounted on a wall. 

A nylon braided line is extended from this box to a point on an opposite wall where it is secured. You then hang your swimwear on this line as you would an outdoor line ensuring that the swimming costume is secured in such a way as to prevent stretching.

SEE ALSO: Our Top Recommended Retractable Washing Lines

What Happens If You Tumble Dry Swimming Costumes?

Always check the wash care labels

If you decide to not take our advice or the advice of all the leading swimwear manufacturers and decide to tumble dry your swimsuits, be prepared for any of the following;

Shrinking Swimsuits

Some fabrics are more susceptible to shrinking than others, and drying them in a tumble dryer can cause them to shrink down a few sizes. And due to their composition it can be impossible to return them to their original size.

Fading Colours

Certain fabrics, especially those with vibrant colours, can fade when exposed to certain temperatures. This is more commonly an issue with washing than drying, but it can still be a factor. Especially in an over full, hot tumble dryer.

Stretching Out Of Shape

Drying delicate items like swimwear can cause them to lose their shape and stretch out of shape, leaving you with a swimming costume that no longer fits in the right places.

Loss Of Material Integrity

Once some materials get damaged by the drying process it can lead to them tearing, ripping or just generally disintegrating the next time they are worn. 

This could become very embarrassing especially in a crowded pool or busy beach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to put Swimming Costumes in a tumble dryer?

It is not safe to put swimming costumes in a tumble dryer. Subjecting swimwear to any form of high heat can seriously damage the material and cause it to shrink, tear or even in some cases disintegrate.

How can I dry Swimming Costumes without a tumble dryer?

The best way to dry swimming costumes is to air dry them. This involves laying the swimwear flat on a towel which is spread out flat in a shady position. Or carefully hung on a clothesline in a shady area. Or indoors either on an airer, on a towel spread on a flat surface, or on a retractable clothesline.

Will swimsuits shrink in the tumble dryer?

Swimsuits can shrink in a tumble dryer, plus the dryer can damage the fabric and make the swimsuit unwearable.

Should you air dry swimsuits?

You should always air dry swimsuits, in fact all manufacturers recommend air drying of their swimwear. They should be laid flat on a towel and left to dry naturally in the shade. You should never use a tumble dryer to dry your swimsuits as it can seriously damage the material. Plus you should avoid direct sunlight or any heat at all.

How do you dry a swimsuit fast in a hotel room?

To dry a swimsuit fast in a hotel room, roll the swimsuit up in a dry towel. This will remove excess moisture and should be left for around 30 minutes. Then lay the swimsuit flat on another dry towel and allow it to dry at room temperature. You should never wring out a swimsuit or place it directly over a heated towel rail as this could seriously damage it.

Should you wash your swimsuit after every use?

You should always wash your swimsuit after every use to remove any chlorine or salt and any bacteria. If you can’t wash your swimwear, at least rinse it in cold water this will increase the life of your swimming costume.

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