Lake swimming is a fun activity to do with family and friends, but it can sometimes come at the cost of staining your favorite swimwear. One of the risks of swimming outdoors, whether it’s at the ocean or lake, is that you don’t have as much control over the cleanliness of the water. You don’t know what kind of pollutants or bacteria are in the water that can cause your swimsuit to get stained.
Most of the time when you’re swimming at the lake, you’re swimming in murky water. There will be lots of dirt, sediment, and all manner of particulates inside. All of these will end up on your swimsuit and may stain your swimwear if left unwashed, so you must make sure to at least rinse it after swimming in lake water. Preferably, you should hand wash it with soap to ensure that you are not accidentally transferring the freshwater bacteria into a pool.
When it comes to treating and preventing lake water stains, time is of the essence. The longer you wait before washing your swimsuit, the more likely it will stain. Even after it is stained, there are a few things you can try to remove the stain, such as soaking it in a white vinegar or baking soda solution, but it is not always effective. Thus, prevention should be your top priority.
In this article, we will go over the exact steps you should take to get the lake water stains out of your swimsuit. We also discuss the important role that colors play in masking swimsuit stains as well as increasing visibility in murky lake water.
How to properly wash your swimsuit after lake swimming
Get any sediment and dirt off your swimsuit before you launder it. This involves shaking, patting, or brushing (with a soft-bristled brush) any dirt or mud from your garment. Doing so will make the subsequent steps easier and more effective since there will be less risk of contamination.
In addition to de-grunging, you should also rinse the lake water (and any remaining dirt) off your swimsuit as soon as possible using freshwater before these contaminants soak into the fabric, causing staining.
There should be shower facilities near the lake. You don’t need to change out of your swimsuit; just rinse your body simultaneously without changing out of your swimsuit; two birds with one stone. If you want, you can do a more thorough rinse after you change out of it.
If there are no showers, then do the best you can with bottled water. Rinsing your swimsuit is merely a temporary solution so that your swimsuit doesn’t stain or develop a foul odor in the meantime. Once you are at home, you should thoroughly hand wash your swimsuit to ensure that all of the bacteria and debris are cleaned off.
Depending on who you ask, some may recommend tossing your swimsuit in the washing machine to clean it. Others, myself included, believe that hand washing your swimsuit is the safest option.
Washing machines are not always gentle, and swimsuits are delicate. So many things can wear down your swimsuit, whether it’s the actuator or other clothes in the mix with zippers and buttons. If your swimsuit starts to deteriorate, then I suppose that’s one way to stop worrying about any stains it might have (this is sarcasm, by the way).
There is also the risk that a regular washing machine detergent could contain chemicals that are too harsh for a swimsuit. The primary ingredient for many detergents is bleach, which is definitely something you want to keep away from swimwear. This can cause them to become discolored and brittle, ironically resulting in the very problem you want to avoid.
It’s better to use a mild detergent, such as one designed for delicates or swimsuit detergent, to ensure the detergent itself is not the cause of any issues. You can also substitute it with white vinegar or baking soda as cleaning detergents if you prefer natural products.
You should also use cold water and use a gentle wash cycle (be gentle when scrubbing if you’re hand washing it). Put the swimsuit in a mesh bag to protect it if you will be using the washing machine.
If this is not enough to get rid of any lake water stains, I recommend you fill a sink or basin with cold water. Then add a mild detergent, such as swimsuit detergent, and mix it into the water. Next, soak your swimsuit in this cleaning solution for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the detergent to enter deep into the fabric and hopefully get rid of the stains.
After soaking, repeat the washing process over again (i.e. scrub it if you’re hand washing, or put it in the washing machine). You can keep repeating the soaking and washing process until the lake water stains are gone.
When drying your swimsuit, there are many mistakes beginners make. One such mistake is twisting or wringing their swimsuit when it’s dripping wet to squeeze out all of the excess water. Unfortunately, this twisting motion will wear down your swimsuit and maybe even cause it to get stretched out.
If you want to squeeze out the water, you should be pressing down on it or rolling it, not twisting it. Here are two ways you can safely squeeze water out.
- Lay your swimsuit flat on a dry towel. Then, roll the towel up (with swimsuit still in it) to squeeze the water out.
- Sandwich the swimsuit between two dry towels. Lay the towels on the floor and step on your swimsuit over the towels, or press the swimsuit together between your hands.
After the water has been squeezed out, you will need to let the swimsuit air dry. Do not use a dryer, because the extreme heat can damage the fabric. Also do not hang it up in direct sunlight because the UV radiation can damage the fabric (did I mention that swimsuits are very delicate?)
The best thing to do is simply lay your swimsuit flat on a dry towel. Hanging it anywhere, or even draping it over a chair, can potentially cause it to get stretched out when the water begins to pool along the bottom, placing stress on the sections that are holding the swimsuit up.
To speed up the process, make sure the room you are drying your swimsuit in is well ventilated. You can also blow a fan directly at your swimsuit. Lots of airflow equates to faster drying times.
Should you wear a darker swimsuit to hide stains?
You might be tempted to buy a darker swimsuit since it masks stains better than brighter colors. Darker colored swimwear is good for all kinds of stains, ranging from sunscreen stains to period stains (and, of course, lake water stains). Unfortunately, darker swimwear also comes with an inherent risk, which is that it’s much harder to spot you in the water.
When you’re swimming outdoors, safety becomes even more crucial. There may not be lifeguards nearby, and the few people that are close by might struggle to spot you if something goes wrong.
Don’t make their job even harder by wearing a dark color that camouflages you in the water. The increased risk is not worth it just to avoid some stains on your swimsuit when swimming in the lake.
The most visible colors in lake water seem to be neon yellow, green, and orange. Not the most attractive colors, but they are very effective. White is also effective, but white swimsuits stain like nobody’s business, especially in lake water, so proper care is essential. All other colors will disappear quickly in murky water.
Swimming in lake water can cause your swimsuit to stain easily, but you can reduce the chances of this happening by immediately rinsing after swimming. You will also need to do a more thorough wash at home. Use a mild detergent that uses natural ingredients so that there are no harsh chemicals that can stain your swimsuit.
Ultimately, if you’re so worried about ruining your swimsuit in lake water, the best thing you can do is to dedicate a set of swimwear solely for swimming in lake water with. That way, you don’t have to worry about cross contamination if you also wear the swimsuit into your own pool.
You also will not have to worry so much if your swimsuit gets stained, because it’s not the nice one that you’ll be wearing at the beach and getting photographed in. That said, you should still learn how to properly clean your swimwear so that all of your swimsuits remain unstained and can last a long time, whether you’re swimming in freshwater or saltwater.