Vacations are supposed to be a time when you unwind and relax, but ironically they can be extremely stressful when things start to go wrong. When you’re vacationing in a tropical paradise, you’re going to want to visit their pristine waters, and for that you need a bathing suit. Afterwards is where problems may begin to arise.
Not everyone realizes this, but if you plan on going to the beach everyday, you’re going to either need to: a) quickly clean and dry your worn swimsuit so it’s ready to wear the next day, or b) have multiple sets of swimwear so you don’t need to be in such a rush getting your swimsuit dry. Either way, you still need to wash and dry your swimsuit(s) at some point, and that’s where we get to the crux of the topic.
How do you dry your swimsuit in a hotel room? Your hotel may not have the accommodations you are used to at home, and therefore properly cleaning and drying your swimsuit can be trickier. Your options are to dry it with a towel, hang it on a line, lay it on a drying rack, dry it using a fan, or to dry it on the balcony.
What you should NOT do is put your swimsuit in the dryer, hang it up in direct sunlight, blow at it with a hair dryer, or leave it on a deck railing. Heat will cause the swimsuit to shrink, whereas hanging it can potentially cause the fabric to stretch due to the weight of the water.
In this article, we will go over in more detail how to dry your swimsuits in a hotel, as well as what you should avoid doing that could potentially damage your swimsuit.
Wash your swimsuit by hand first
Before we get into our tips on how to dry your swimsuit, we need to first cover a couple of topics that are crucial for you to know.
This first tip is one we repeatedly give in our articles, and that’s because it’s really important for ensuring the longevity of your swimsuit. You may be tempted to throw your swimsuit in a washing machine after use, but the spinning action can be very tough on the swimsuit.
Another concern is heat, which causes your swimsuit to shrink. I’ve experienced that even when I set my machine to a cold wash cycle, it will still use some hot water, so that’s not completely reliable. Furthermore, even a completely cold wash cycle does not get around the fact that the agitation from the washing machine can wear down the suit.
If you want your swimsuit to retain its elasticity and color for as long as possible, your best bet is to wash it by hand. Be careful not to scrub too hard, otherwise you might as well just use the washing machine in the first place.
Fill a sink or wash basin with cold water and add only a little bit of mild detergent. If you want to get rid of a lingering musty smell, we recommend adding one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to the mix in addition to the detergent.
Yes, you read that right. And no, using vinegar is not going to make your swimsuit smell like vinegar, nor will it have an adverse reaction with the detergent. In fact, we have found that it works like a booster for the detergent, helping it to completely eliminate any musty smells, leaving only the fresh smell of your detergent afterwards (and no sour vinegar smell either).
Let your swimsuit soak in this cleaning solution for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it and drying it.
Always air dry your swimsuit
After washing your swimsuit, you may be tempted to just throw it in the dryer and call it a day. As mentioned, heat will cause the elastic materials in your swimsuit to shrink, which might be what you want if your swimsuit is a little oversized, otherwise it’s just a bad idea.
Another bad idea is letting your swimsuit dry in direct sunlight. The UV rays from sunlight will wear down your swimsuit, causing it to become warped and discolored. For the longevity of your swimsuit, do not dry it in the sun either.
Instead, what you want to do is let your bathing suit air dry in the shade of a well-ventilated area. This could mean line drying it in a room with the window and door open, yet kept out of the sunlight. If your balcony has some cover, you can hang it on the balcony. You could even just lay it flat on a table with a towel underneath and a fan blowing directly at it. Better yet, if there is a drying rack that keeps the swimsuit lifted in the air, then lay it on that.
Best ways to dry your bathing suit in a hotel room
So, now that we have covered the preparation and established some ground rules, it’s time to get to the heart of the matter. Even if your hotel provides a washing machine and dryer, we have already established that those will ruin your swimsuit. Avoid them at all costs. What’s left?
Use a towel first
After washing your swimsuit, there is an in between step that we skipped and that’s squeezing the water out. You might not realize this but wringing your swimsuit or aggressively twisting it is actually quite damaging, just like a washing machine is. So how the heck do you get the water out?
If you only have a single towel, lay the towel on a waterproof surface. Put the drenched swimsuit on the towel. Then, roll the towel up along with the swimsuit, kind of like you’re making a sushi roll or a pastry roll. As the swimsuit is getting encased, it is also getting squeezed gently and having its expunged water absorbed by the towel.
If you have two towels, lay the first one on the bathroom floor. Lay the swimsuit flat on the first towel. Then lay the second towel over the swimsuit and first towel. Now you can repeatedly step on the towel to squeeze the water out of the swimsuit. We feel that this method can squeeze out the most water, plus it’s fun to do, but the downside is it requires two towels.
After gently squeezing the water out of your drenched swimsuit, you are still left with a damp swimsuit. All that’s left is to either hang it somewhere to dry or lay it down somewhere to dry.
Many people discourage hanging it up to dry. They argue that the hanger can be really thin, plus the extra weight of the water on the swimsuit can cause it to be heavier, which in turn causes the wire to really dig into the straps when the swimsuit is left hanging.
In a similar vein, if you are clipping your swimsuit somewhere to hang it, then where the clips pinch the swimsuit can cause damage there, potentially stretching it out or wearing it down.
To that, we say: you can get racks that are much thicker, or you can hang the swimsuit over a thick handrail or something similar. This is much less damaging, and swimsuits are not so heavy that the straps or the shoulder area would get stretched out, unlike wetsuits.
So, we are okay with recommending that you hang your bathing suit on a clothesline or a hanger in the bathroom. Make sure you open the window, or if you are hanging it outdoors, that the sun is not directly shining on it.
Lay flat to dry
If you have the space, you can simply lay the swimsuit flat on a surface to dry. Place a towel underneath to absorb the water. You can leave it on a tabletop or on the floor somewhere. The downside to this is that the side facing the surface is not exposed to the air, and this can significantly slow down the drying process unless you are flipping it.
To avoid this completely, you can get a drying rack that lifts the swimsuit above the surface so that air can get underneath as well, drying more quickly and evenly.
Use a fan
Finally, to really speed up the process, get a fan blowing directly on the swimsuit. If you are hanging your bathing suit outdoors, cross your fingers and hope that there is a constant breeze.
Don’t have a fan? Dry your swimsuit somewhere that is well ventilated, such as next to a window or a vent. Open up the windows to really get the airflow going.
By exposing your swimsuit to the dry air, it will dry significantly faster. You could potentially have the swimsuit be completely dry before the next day, which is good for those who have a limited number of spare swimsuits.
All of these drying tips can be easily done at any hotel room while you’re vacationing. However, just to be safe, you should bring more than one swimsuit just in case you aren’t able to get a swimsuit fully dry in a day.
This will give you peace of mind and ensure that you are comfortable while vacationing instead of being miserable due to being forced to wear your only swimsuit that might be damp and smelly from the day before.