Can You Shrink a Bathing Suit

Can You Shrink a Bathing Suit? What You Should Know!

Wearing your favorite bathing suit and boom! it’s oversize, sagging on the bottom, or gapping on the legs. It can really ruin your day and mood. Bathing suits are made of fabrics that are hard to shrink. So, can you shrink a bathing suit?

You can shrink a bathing suit in three ways; by using a dryer, ironing a damp bathing suit, or by preventing shrinking. The first two options might require a number of attempts before you get the desired results.

Read on for the best three ways you can shrink your bathing suit for a better fit.

Can You Shrink a Bathing Suit? 3 Methods

The Dryer Method

  1. Turn your bathing suit inside out, this will help in maintaining its original color. If there are any bra inserts, remove them before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Fill a basin with cold water, add mild laundry detergent without bleach or dye. Wash the bathing suit thoroughly and rinse with clean water until no soap suds are present. This process helps in removing sunscreen remains, sand, and oil on the bathing suit which if overheated by the dryer will make it hard and inflexible.
  3. Boil water in a pot, microwave, or an electric kettle. Pour the water in a basin or a sink, wholly submerge the bathing suit. When the water cools down take it out. The boiled water will assist in shrinking the material before additional shrinkage in the dryer.
  4. Place your bathing suit in the dryer and set the highest temperature setting. Wait for the longest time your dryer can take, mostly around 1hr to 1hr 10mins. The bathing suit should not be put in the dryer with a heap of laundry, this will ensure that it gets the maximum heat blast for more shrinkage.
  5. Once the dryer has shut off, take the bathing suit, and set it aside for cooling. Taking it out and wearing immediately can burn your skin. This can take up to ten minutes.
  6. When cool, wear your bathing suit to confirm if it is to the desired size. If it is not, you have to repeat the steps without the washing process as it is already clean. If it does not shrink after the third time, you should try another method like altering it or buying a new one.
  7. This method should not be used regularly as it can reduce the durability and dull the color of the bathing suit.

How can I make my swimming suit fit better?

Ironing Method

  1. Wash your bathing suit with cold clean water and rinse thoroughly. Wring the bathing suit until it is damp instead drenched. You should not iron a dirty bathing suit, by doing so you will be baking the dirt, sand, oil, sweat, sunscreen, lotion, or residual salt that you might have come into contact with.
  2. Place the bathing suit on an ironing board and cover it with a cotton cloth. If you lack a cotton cloth, you can use a clean piece of cloth or a handkerchief, only if it is made of cotton.
  3. Using a medium heat setting, iron the bathing suit. Ironing using high heat will destroy the fabric. Because the suit is already wet, you do not have to fill the steamer basket.
  4. Iron the cloth for ten minutes pressing down with force to allow the heat to enter to the swimsuit through the cotton cloth.
  5. Iron the suit evenly by turning over the bottom and top. If you concentrate on one side a lot, you will have uneven shrinking.
  6. When the suit is almost dry, you can leave it on the ironing board to dry or air dry it. You should not dry it under the sun, this will weaken the fabric and interfere with the original color.
  7. If the bathing suit has not shrunken to your desired size, repeat the process. After the 2nd and 3rd attempt without any result, buy a new one.

Also: How snug should a swimsuit be?

By Preventing Stretching

  1. Wash your bathing suit regardless if you took a swim. This is because anytime you wear it, the sweat, lotion, sunscreen or sand will still be trapped on it. The dirt will react with the fabric destroying it within a short period.
  2. Always hand wash your bathing suit, using a washing machine will accelerate stretching. Avoid using bleach as it will discolor your suit and destroy the material.
  3. After rinsing and squeezing it, hang it on a cloth line to dry rather than using a dryer. Though a dryer can shrink a suit, it should not be used on regular basis.
  4. Avoid hanging your suit under direct sunlight. Though it will dry quickly, it will also discolor and lessen its durability. If there is no shade around, you can hang it under the sun but not often.
  5. Avoid sitting on rough surfaces to prevent your bathing suit from snagging. Spread a towel or a piece of cloth before sitting.


Regardless of the material of your bathing suit, it will eventually stretch after a number of wears.

Nevertheless, you can shrink a bathing suit using the above two methods to shrink your bathing suit or prevent stretching.

Never buy a bigger bathing suit even with size, this is because the bathing suit will eventually stretch. 

Buy a fitting bathing suit. When the bigger one stretches, it will start gaping, and trust me, you will look terrible.  

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