Summer washing woes sorted! How to care for your family’s summer essentials

Sand in the washing machine and grass stains on your whites? Read on

The summer holidays are filled with lazy days on the beach and endless family bbqs. But without sounding like a complete summer bore, outdoor activities result in almost as much washing as they do laughter.

You're technically wearing less layers than in all the other seasons, but beach towels, swim cossies and white shorts all need special care to see them through the summer months (and hopefully into next year to boot).

Here are our top tips, tricks and washing hacks for the warmer weeks...


summer washing woes

(Image credit: TBC)

Swimming costumes (or ‘swimmies' as my mum always used to say) shouldn't be washed in a machine. Instead, hand wash them in the sink with lots of cold water and a mild soap, before rinsing thoroughly in more cold water. Don't be tempted to put them in the dryer either - instead lay them flat outside in the fresh air until completely dry.


If you're a family of surfers or bodyboarders, you're probably well versed in arriving home from the surf with a boot-load of heavy, smelly wetsuits. Take them out of your car as soon as you get home, and rinse thoroughly in cold or lukewarm - never hot - water. Wash them inside and out and if you're using soap, invest in specialist wetsuit products that won't ruin the fabric. Dry wetsuits naturally outside and don't pack them away until 100% dry - otherwise you'll be in for a smelly treat next time you take them out!

Beach towels

towels hung on steel rod

(Image credit: TBC)

It might sound really obvious, but the most important thing here is to shake off all the sand before putting towels in your machine. If your towel is damp from the beach with sand stuck to it, leave it to dry naturally before shaking all the sand off and washing in your machine as usual. A dollop of fabric softener never goes amiss- especially with cheap and cheerful towels you're probably using for beach trips.

Grass stains

A classic summer problem: a new fabulous white frock with a grubby green stain. Pre-treat the area with a stain remover, give it a good scrub and leave it to soak in. Wash the item as usual and you should be golden (or white, at least!). Lots of people swear by vinegar for removing grass stains. Try pre-treating the stain with a combination white vinegar and warm water before leaving to soak and washing as usual.


clothes hung on clothes stand

(Image credit: TBC)

Whites can take a pounding during the summer. Always separate them before washing, and use the hottest water setting recommended by the item's label. It's also a good idea to clean your washing machine ready for summer loads - it's very easy to do.

Sun tan lotion

A real pain, particularly on polo shirt collars. There isn't really a magic cure for this, but try pre-treating the collars with stain removers and washing the shirts on a very hot wash with plenty of washing powder. Your best bet? Go for cheap and cheerful t-shirts that you'll only wear for one summer.


Thea Babington-Stitt
Managing Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Managing Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for around 10 years.

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.