Can Swimsuits Shrink In The Dryer?

If you find yourself tempted to throw your swimsuit in the dryer for whatever reason, be prepared for the consequences. Your suit will definitely be dry when it comes out. Still, you may have inflicted some unintentional and undesirable damage to your beloved bathing suit.

The synthetic material that the majority of swimsuits are made of does not react favorably to heat. A typical heat will cause it to shrink, which will lead to eventual stretching and degradation. A cool setting may not do any harm, but the tumbling motion can be damaging.

Whatever your reason for wanting to place your suit in the dryer, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration. Otherwise, you might just end up ruining a perfect swimsuit.

Reasons For Putting Your Suit In The Dryer

Placing a swimsuit in the dryer is done for one of two reasons: 1.) To dry it and 2.) To intentionally shrink it. Whatever the motivation behind your actions, it is crucial to consider the fabric of the swimsuit. This will help you to understand why certain conditions are not suitable for your swimsuit in the long run.

The Effects Of Heat On Swimsuit Fabric

The majority of swimwear these days is primarily made from polyester. Sometimes this is blended with Lycra®, nylon, or Spandex. Some swimsuits are integrated with other natural fibers. Still, the majority of a good suit will almost always be comprised of one of the synthetic materials mentioned above.

Strictly speaking, polyester, nylon, Lycra®, and Spandex can go in the dryer and be unharmed ONLY if the dryer is set to a cool setting. If these materials are met with a high temperature, shrinking is inevitable.

Drying Your Swimsuit With Heat

If your swimsuit is dried with heat, shrinking will only be the initial part of your problems. The heat coupled with the tumbling of the dryer will weaken and damage the elasticity of your swimsuit. Eventually, you will be left with a stretched-out mess of something vaguely resembling swimming attire.

Using Heat To Deliberately Shrink Your Swimsuit

Sometimes when a swimsuit is a bit too baggy, people have fallen for the common misconception that a quick hot tumble in the dryer or a spin on a hot cycle in the washing machine is the solution. It is not. The heat will, without a doubt, cause the fabric to stretch out, causing irreversible damage.

The suit may initially shrink to your liking, but this is only a temporary fix.

Swimsuits are tricky in that they cannot be shrunk or even altered for a better fit. The material just does not lend itself to these options. Your safest bet is to ensure that you find a swimsuit that fits you correctly.

Getting The Best Wear Out Of Your Swimwear

Some of your summer swimming attire may be ready for retirement after only one sun-filled season. As you now know, the fabric of a swimsuit can prove to be fickle, and it, therefore, cannot receive the same treatment as your everyday clothes.

 There are ways to ensure that you are taking the best care of your wear.

The most significant factors that increase damage and stretching in a swimsuit are sun, heat, chlorine, chemicals, and time.

These things are not exactly easy to avoid. In fact, they are unavoidable. But the aftercare of your swimsuit could make a world of difference to its lifespan.

How To Wash And Dry Your Swimsuit

After a day in the sun, your swimwear will require some TLC. It’s had a long day of literally soaking up the sun, salt water, chlorine, and sunscreen (hopefully.)

You can refer to the suggestions listed below when it comes to washing and drying your swimsuit:

  1. Soak your suit or run it under some cold water and squeeze (do not wring) it out.
  2. If using a washing machine, ensure that it is on a cold and delicate cycle and that the machine is not overloaded. Place your suit in a mesh laundry bag and pop it into the machine.
  3. Do not use harsh detergents. Whether washing by hand or machine, use a bar of delicate laundry soap or a mild handwash liquid. Avoid bleach and fabric softener.
  4. If handwashing, do not scrub or wring your suit vigorously. Be gentle. Handwashing is preferable to machine washing.
  5. Rinse your swimsuit thoroughly.
  6. Lay your swimsuit flat on a dry towel in an area out of direct sunlight and allow it to air dry. If you are in a hurry, the suit can be placed in the dryer but must be set to a cool setting, but this should be a last resort.
  7. It would be good practice to have more than one swimsuit. This will allow you to wear them on rotation and lengthen the lifespan of each of them. Having a spare also means you’re less likely to resort to desperate measures to get it dry in time for the beach.

Do not:

  • Hang your swimsuit up to dry
  • Use the dryer on a heat setting for your swimsuit
  • Lay it out in the sun to dry
  • Wear your freshly washed bathing suit when it hasn’t had a chance to dry completely.

All of these things will stretch, damage, and fade your swimsuit. It is also worth mentioning that Jacuzzis and hot tubs are not the best environments for a swimsuit if you intend on wearing them for more than one season.

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Finding suitable swimwear can be an arduous task, so be sure to take care of it the best way you can. Placing your swimwear in a dryer is not the best option, even if you are in a pinch and trying desperately to shrink it in a hurry. This isn’t to say that you are forbidden from doing so.

Just know that you will likely need to replace the swimsuit sooner than expected. Swimsuits already take quite the beating in the summer months. Both wet and dry heat will cause damage to even the best quality swimsuits.