How to Keep a White Bathing Suit White

A white swimsuit is a classic summertime look that has been around for ages. Whether you think of Elizabeth Taylor in "Suddenly, Last Summer" donning a white one-piece on the beach or the more modern bikini swimsuits, the look of a white swimsuit never goes out of style. Part of working the clean look of a white swimsuit is making sure to keep staining, dulling and yellowing at bay.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunscreen with a water base

  • Large tub

  • Hand wash laundry detergent

  • 2 towels

Step 1

Use sunscreen with a water base as opposed to one with an oil base. Sun can cause oil to yellow which can leave yellow stains on your white swimsuit. Also avoid sunscreen or suntan lotions that have dyes in them. Opt for dye-free lotions instead.

Step 2

Rub sunscreen all over your skin prior to putting on your bathing suit. Let sunscreen soak into skin and dry for five minutes, then put on your suit. Since sunscreen does fade, when go to apply more work around straps and bathing suit fabric slowly.

Step 3

Place your swim suit in your sink and run cold water over it for five minutes after wearing. This will quickly remove any grime or chemical-buildup your bathing suit acquired while using it.

Step 4

Fill a large tub with two teaspoons of a gentle, hand wash laundry detergent and two gallons of distilled water. Place your bathing suit in the tub and let it sit for 20 minutes. Place the bathing suit back under running cold water for five minutes to rinse away soap.

Step 5

Lay your bathing suit in between two towels and gently press down to help soak up moisture, then lay suit flat to air dry. Never dry a suit in the dryer, as this can damage fabric.


If you should get any stains on the suit from things like food, bodily fluids, or drinks take off the suit immediately and soak in cold water. Spray stain with a pre-stain remover and wash normally.

Soak your suit in a quart of distilled water and a quart of white vinegar after four or five uses. White vinegar is gentle and all natural so it won’t damage suit fabric but will help freshen whites.


Adhere to all instructions that are on the label of your white swimsuit. Most swimsuit material is delicate and prohibits the use of certain chemicals, such as bleach or chlorine-based detergents, so ensure you adhere to instructions on the label accordingly.

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