There are many articles written on how to best wash your swimwear, but there are scarcely any about how to take care of the swim bag you keep your swimming gear in. Just like with your other gear, a swim bag can suffer the same problems like mold growth, foul odors, and deterioration if it is not taken care of.
Swim bags are the unsung hero for swimmers with a lot of equipment. Many treat their swim bags more like punching bags; they drag it around on rough poolside decks, put damp swimwear in it, never bother to clean it, and shove it into a closet or cabinet when they are done with it.
As sturdy and water resistant as Speedo swim bags are, even they need some occasional maintenance. You need to learn how to properly wash your swim bag, dry it, and to do some preventative care so you don’t get mold growth or foul smells between cleanings.
You can hand wash your swim bag with soap and water, or you can throw it into the washing machine. Avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals. As for drying, the safest way is to let it air dry. Dryers can potentially damage some swim bags made with natural fibers, causing them to shrink. Lastly, it’s a great idea to do some daily and weekly maintenance. Let your bag air dry if it is damp, wipe it with disinfecting wipes to prevent mold growth, and repair any holes before they get bigger.
These steps are easier said than done, so the rest of this article will focus on the step by step process on how you can thoroughly clean a Speedo swim bag so that it can last a long time.
The main problem
Have you ever left sweaty shirts, damp towels, and drenched swimwear in your swim bag overnight or even for a couple of days? After unzipping your bag and having some of that pungent smell waft out, your eyes will tear up and you will fall to the floor, gasping for fresh air. It’s a smell that will never be forgotten.
That smell is caused by leaving moisture in the bag which resulted in mold and mildew growth. If you noticed a white, powdery substance in your bag, that is mildew, which is a type of mold. Mold, on the other hand, has a black or green and fuzzy appearance, and it can even infiltrate deep into the material. This means mildew is easier to remove, as it is surface level, and mold is a bigger issue.
In addition to the awful smell, mold and mildew can enter your lungs and cause respiratory problems. Even just leaving your damp swimwear in the swim bag overnight is enough to cause mold and mildew growth, which negatively impacts your health.
How to clean your swim bag
There are two ways to thoroughly clean your Speedo swim bag; you can do it the old fashioned way by hand, or you can toss it into a washing machine.
Hand washing is the safer, gentler option to clean it. Rinse the bag with cold water and use a mild soap to remove the dirt, stains, or other buildup. The benefit of hand washing is that it’s not as rough as a washing machine and you have the option to focus on specific areas if you notice any stains.
Using a washing machine is a viable option to clean your Speedo swim bag. Make sure that you are using cold water and selecting a gentle cycle. Also wash it with like colors so that the colors don’t bleed or fade. Do not use bleach as it is a harsh chemical that can discolor and wear down the swim bag material.
How to dry your swim bag
For the same reason that we do not wash our swim bag with hot water, you should also avoid the dryer. All you need to do is hang dry it, or drape it over a chair or rack in a well-ventilated room out of direct sunlight.
Heat from hot water or the dryer can damage the synthetic materials like rubber or plastics often used in swim bags. Even with natural fibers, you run the risk of the bag shrinking.
How to maintain your swim bag
Since we know that moisture is the main culprit of a smelly, moldy swim bag, we must deal with it as quickly as possible.
- Be cognizant of any sources of moisture left in your bag. This could be a damp towel, bathing suit, T-shirt, swim cap, goggles, snorkel, swim fin; literally anything that touched the water and transferred it to your bag. Obviously the purpose of a swim bag is to transport these items, but the intention here is to not leave them in the bag any longer than necessary.
- Toss any paper products, such as newsletters, handouts, homework, or food wrappers, since they will retain moisture and could lead to mold growth.
- Dry clothes that have come into contact with your wet swimming gear or sweat should not be left in your bag for long. They are not as dry as you think they are.
- We recommend having plastic bags so that you can separate dry swimming gear or clothing from wet ones.
- Occasionally disinfect your swim bag with disinfectant wipes if you aren’t planning on doing a thorough cleaning yet.
- Air dry your swim bag after removing the wet items inside; don’t zip it up or store it until it’s completely dry.
- Store your swim bag in a well-ventilated area with preferably 50% or less humidity.
No one wants to throw away a perfectly good swim bag. Speedo is a company well known for their quality swimming gear, and if you own a Speedo swim bag, you probably paid a pretty penny, so let’s make it last as long as possible.
Washing and drying your swim bag is not very difficult; it’s something you can do at the same time as when you’re thoroughly cleaning your swimwear. There are many similarities between them, so if you already know how to take care of your bathing suit, you already have a good idea of how easy and straightforward it is to keep your swim bag clean.
If your old swim bag is unsalvageable, then at the very least, you can still use these tips to ensure your next swim bag doesn’t meet the same moldy fate. With proper care, swim bags should last for years, but that requires a little bit of effort on your part.
You just need to clean your Speedo swim bag occasionally; we aren’t telling you to hand wash it every day, which is excessive. Your efforts will go a long way in the form of never having a moldy or smelly swim bag ever again.