Saturday, May 24, 2014

How to Clean a Swim Bag: What's Growing in Yours?

Have you ever stuck your hand in the pocket of a swim bag and discovered an overly-ripe, squished banana? What about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich covered in mold? Or handfuls of crumbs from forgotten crackers or trail mix? I have had this experience more times than I care to admit! Swimmers have a lot on their minds at meets and keeping their swim bags clean is NOT at the top of the list (nor should it be). But every few months, it’s a good idea to give those hard working swim bags a thorough cleaning.

The first rule when it comes to cleaning anything is to read the care label on the bag. If the manufacturer gives the o.k. to machine wash, it should be safe to do so. However, machine washing a swim bag with detergent may dull the sheen and can even dissolve the water repellent sealant! You can reapply the sealant with a can of water repellent spray but that’s just one more step and expense. Also, machine washing can fade the color stitching and any monogramming that was added. Personally, I skip this option.
If the bag needs a light cleaning, mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the bag inside and out (including pockets), let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it down with a warm, damp dishcloth. When a swim bag needs a good scrubbing, fill the tub with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent like Woolite. Then dunk the bag and use a dishwashing brush to scrub all the pockets. Rinse and hang to dry.

For stubborn stains or mildew, make a paste with equal parts lemon juice and salt and cover the stain. Put it in the sun for 15 minutes, then rinse off the paste and let the bag air dry. (Test a hidden area first if you are worried about bleaching out the color of the bag.)

Swimmers can become sentimentally attached and even superstitious when it comes to their gear. Give those swim bags a long healthy life by keeping them clean and fresh. YY

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