Part 1 Caring for Swimwear during Use
Chlorine is a caustic element in bleach that kills germs but can cause colours to fade in certain fabrics and damages threads. Although pool water has less chlorine how to properly care for your swimsuit
than laundry bleach, it will still wear away at the integrity of your suit.
- If you have a home pool, brush up on proper management. The Centers for Disease Control recommend a concentration of at least 1 ppm in pools and 3 ppm in hot tubs at a 7.2 - 7.8 pH with constant cleaning. Not only does this keep your swimwear healthy, but it keeps you healthy as well.
- In someone else’s pool, you may ask the host or hotel staff questions about upkeep, such as chlorine level measurements. Different factors affect the level, and improper treatment can mean more wear and tear on your swimwear.
- Search for alternatives. Your neighborhood may have non-chlorinated pools, or you can choose to treat your own pool with an alternative such as saline. On vacation, choose the ocean or other water sources.
Steer clear of rough surfaces.
As with any clothing, rough or jagged edges snag and abrade. Be aware of where you sit, lean, or lay, as it is easy to forget that these surfaces are rubbing up against the fabric, harming the once smooth and luxurious texture you purchased.
- In order to prevent slipping, pool decks are rough. Even if they don’t feel like it, they can wear away your swimwear. Use a towel to prevent contact.
- Sand and dirt are also abrasive. Use a towel, then rinse your swimwear immediately after use.
Avoid getting excess lotions and oils on your swimwear.
Sunscreen, tanning oils, and cosmetics are harmful to delicate material. Exposure causes discoloration and damage. These products are at odds with the synthetic material in swimsuits and leave stains that grow over time and break down the fabric.
- Mineral-based lotions and oil formulations are said to be particularly adept at causing yellowing and gradual stains.
- Treat stains as you would body oil by rinsing immediately, then cleaning with either vinegar or detergent mixed in a bath of cold water for 30 minutes.
- If possible, put on lotion or sunscreen before you put your swimsuit on. Wait a few minutes for it to dry.
Part 2 Cleaning Swimwear after Use
Rinse your swimwear in cold water after each wear.
Even in a pinch, a rinse is better than nothing. It serves to wash away harmful chemicals such as chlorine, oils, and even bacteria before it can embed deeper into the fabric. You can even take it into a cold shower.
- Before this, avoid wrapping the swimsuit in a towel. The towel holds in the moisture and chemicals. A towel wet with pool water will contribute chlorine and other substances that wear out swimwear.
Hand wash your swimwear.
Electric machines are easy, but even a gentle cycle uses heat and tumbling. This will wear out the material, causing a loss of integrity, shape, padding, and delicate embellishments.
- After rinsing immediately after usage, throw the used swimwear into a sink full of cold water for at least five minutes with a neutral detergent. Leaving it in too long will allow the water to work its way into the fibers, damaging the fit, so don’t get distracted.
- Use a mild soap for delicate fabrics. Regular detergent is too harsh and contributes to deterioration and fading. Avoid bleach and moisturizers.
- Men’s trunks are the exception in that they contain less spandex. This makes them better able to withstand the trauma of a machine wash cycle. You may still choose to wash them more gently by hand, though.
Treat stains directly with spot cleaner. Alternatively, use baking soda for two hours before washing or with vinegar by soaking the swimwear in one part white vinegar to three parts water for 30 minutes. This can also be used before wear to prevent color bleeding.
Gently squeeze out the water.
Like washing, machine drying is too rough for fragile swimwear and will ruin the shape. Instead, roll up the swimsuit to coax out most of the water.
- Be gentle and don’t wring it out. It may be tempting, but the twisting motion is still damaging.
Lay the swimsuit out to dry.
Do this in a shaded and well-ventilated area. This prevents water from pooling and stretching fibers. It also reduces wrinkles and creases.
- Never leave the swimsuit exposed to direct sunlight. The heat will cause the same color damage you tried to avoid earlier. Cool air from an open window or a blow dryer, if in a hurry, are safer options.
Part 3 Storing Swimwear
Store the swimsuit at room temperature. After it has dried out in the open, store the swimsuit in a temperature-controlled room away from disruptions such as a leaking pipe, a heater, or an open garage door. This will ensure that heat and cold do not expand and contract the material and that sunlight doesn’t cause fading.
Avoid plastic bags and similar restrictive spaces.
If there is any moisture in the swimwear or in the area, it can get in, damage the material, and cause mildew.
- When storing dry swimwear that will be used soon, place it flat on a shelf or in a dry container such as a plastic storage bin. Choose the location with the fewest temperature fluctuations, heat exposure, and pet or child threat, such as under the bed.
- For longer storage, swimwear can be placed in a garment bag. This can be vacuum-sealed for added protection.
Keep one or two extras on hand so that you can give the one you wore previously a 24-hour break. This allows the fabric to settle back into place, preserving elasticity.
- Keep an extra on hand for hot tubs. The high heat and chlorine level will do extra damage, so a cheap spare will come in handy.
Add New Question
After drying my swimsuit smells musty. What can I do?
After you've been swimming, (especially in chlorine pools), wash you swimsuit under a tap, or in the shower. This should get rid of the musty smell. Hanging it outside to dry also seems to help.
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- If you plan to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, take a break and cool off in the shade or under an umbrella.
- Shop smartly. Different kinds of fabric have different resistances to degrading elements.
- Heat and twisting are two main culprits of damage, not only chlorine.
- Rinse your swimsuit after every use, even if you don’t go in the pool.
- Never use an iron! The extreme heat will ruin the color and texture of your swimwear.
- Do not dry clean or use electric dryers. Hang the swimsuit on a hanger instead of the dryer.
- Do not dry clean or use electric dryers. Always wash swimsuits by hand.
- Do not use coconut or powder soaps to wash your swimwear. They are not considered mild soaps.
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