With the official start of summer outdoor pools are starting to warm up enough to enjoy splashing around in the water. It also means a look at how to care for your swimsuit so it will last through this season and beyond. Without the right care, even a high quality swimsuit may not make it through one swimming season. Here are some do’s and don’ts for caring for your swimwear.
Do wash your new bathing suit in cold water before wearing it the first time. The cold water will set the colors in your suit and keep it looking new. Chlorine and the sun will work to fade the colors so this one simple step can protect your suit from fading all season.
Do wash your swimming suit out every time you wear it. Even if you didn’t go in the water, your body oils and sun tan lotion can damage your suit.
Do use an outdoor shower and wet your suit before going into the water. A dry bathing suit is extremely absorbent and will act like a sponge, absorbing all the chemicals in the water. A wet suit is less absorbent and won’t get as much of the chemicals into the fabric.
Do rinse off after swimming in a cool outdoor shower so you can rinse off as much of the salt or chlorine as you can. Then store your suit in a plastic bag until you can get home to rinse it out and let it soak.
Do hand wash your suit instead of using the washing machine. Machines are too hard on a swimming suit and pull on straps and openings that break down the elastic. Instead, turn your swimsuit inside out and place it in cool water with a gentle hand soap for 30 minutes to let the soap work to break down body oils and other chemicals. Rinse out the suit with warm water and roll your suit up inside two clean, dry towels to remove the water. Then place it on a flat surface to dry.
Do use a simple technique of sprinkling corn starch on any spot or stains on your suit before soaking. Corn starch is very absorbent and will work to pull lotion or oils out of your suit so they won’t stain. Just sprinkle the area with the corn starch and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it off.
Do use a drying rack to dry your suit. Don’t place your suit on wood or metal as those materials can catch the fabric or leave a rust mark. Invest in a drying rack that you can put in your bathtub or outside on a deck.
Do use a lingerie bag if you HAVE to wash your suit in a washing machine. The bag will prevent the straps and strings getting caught on other items and prevent the fabric from being pulled out of shape. Make sure you don’t put the suit, even in the lingerie bag, into the dryer. The hot temperature will dry out the elastic in the suit.
Do look for chlorine resistant fabric when purchasing a new suit. This new fabric can make your suit last 25 times longer than a typical swimsuit.
Do purchase two swimsuits for your summer season. Having the ability to switch suits gives the fabric time to “remember” and go back to its original shape. Most swimsuits are made with some Lycra in the fabric. Lycra has a memory so giving it a day off will help it go back to its original shape.
Don’t use a laundry detergent when washing your swimsuit. Use a very gentle soap that will rinse totally out of the fabric. A simple bar of soap will do – run it under the water so it’s dissolved in the water before you add your suit. Remember to let it soak for 30 minutes so the soap can break down the oils and remove the chemicals.
Don’t let your swimming suit sit in the soaking solution for longer than 30 minutes. The chemicals will go into the soaking water during the 30 minutes, but after that you are just letting the suit sit in the chemicals you are trying to remove from it. To avoid this chemical cocktail, rinse it out after 30 minutes.
Don’t wring out your bathing suit. The intense pulling will break down the fabric and the elastic. Use the towel method mentioned above.
Don’t hang your suit over a rod or deck railing to dry. The water that pools at the base of the fabric will pull and stretch the fabric so that it will become distorted. Always let your suit dry on a flat surface.
Don’t dry your suit in the sun. The sun is very powerful and will fade the colors and dry out the elastic fabric in your suit. Instead, find a shady spot for a drying rack so you can lay your suit flat. Turn the suit over after the top feels dry to let the air get to the underneath.
Don’t sunbath in a wet bathing suit. A wet bathing suit has the chlorine or salt in it and when those items are exposed to direct sunlight the damage to your suit is multiplied. Instead, sunbath first and then go swimming or use an outdoor shower to rinse off before laying in the sun.