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Swimwear Care Tips

Most swimsuits are made from nylon or polyester with a mixture of Spandex for elasticity so they keep their shape and stay lightweight in the water. These fabrics also dry quickly and some are chlorine resistant so they can be worn in a number of venues.

The first thing that attracts us is the design, color and shape, but we sometimes forget about the quality and health effect on our skin while using the swimsuit in the sun or chlorinated pools.

After few uses we may realize we made a bad choice perhaps not so about the design or color, but about the fabric quality. Many swimsuits lose their firmness over time and the elastic becomes weaker and breaks down.

Read the Label

When purchasing new swimsuits or water clothes, read information printed on the label, care tag or product swing tag, to identify the type of fabric used and what features it offers.

For best results it must be chlorine resistant and fade resistant, to retain colors and elasticity if used in sea waters or chlorinated pools.

This means you can use this swimsuit over several seasons without fabric loosing its colors and elasticity functions. Unfortunately many cheaper swimsuits may look good but after couple of uses the suit will be useless to wear.

No swimsuit will hold up forever under the conditions of chlorinated water but there are certain things you can do to make sure your swimsuit lasts as long as possible.

You can help preserve your favorite swimsuit by rinsing it after each use with cold water, preferably hand wash. Avoid drying, bleach, hot waters and machine wash if possible.

Think Function

If you only wear a swimsuit to sunbathe or go to the beach a few times per year, you may be fine with a less expensive suit that will last only a season.

If you are a frequent swimmer and live in a swimsuit, choose a well-made, more expensive suit that will fit your level of activity and comfort.

Wash before first use

Wash your swimsuits separately and in cool or lukewarm water before wearing them for the first time to remove some chemicals from manufacturing. Alternatively you can wear it in your bath without strong bath foam. Then hang it up to dry.

Elasticity

The chlorine in pools can harm your swimsuit's elasticity and cause the fabric to go yellow. Almost every swimsuit contains spandex or Lycra, so again prompt cleaning is important. Machine washing or drying can stretch or damage the special and sometimes sensitive materials.

Swimsuits are made from materials that allow them to stretch and fit correctly, while enduring constant soaking and drying.

Perspiration and body oils react with the elasticity of the fibers causing them to stretch. Removing them as soon as possible is important. Take a shower whenever possible to rinse it out.

Always put swimsuits on when dry

It is really difficult to put on a full body swimsuit when either you or the suit is wet. The fabric won't slip over your skin as easily as when it is dry.

Watch where you sit

Most pool sides and decks are rough so that you won't slip when they are wet. Even if it doesn't seem too rough, it is to your suit. Always sit or lay on a towel. Be careful when rising from a pool or hot tub bench. Once a swimsuit is snagged it cannot be repaired.

Sunbathe first, then swim

If you plan to sunbathe after swimming, change into a dry suit or enjoy a fresh water shower before relaxing in the sun. The combination of chlorine from the pool, body perspiration and suntanning lotions are damaging to the swimsuit fabric.

Sunscreens can leave stains on your swimwear that are hard to remove. Avoid them. Sun and chlorine together will fade the colours faster.

Skip the Hot Tub

Hot tubs offer a double whammy of excessive chemicals and high heat which will fade and stretch a suit out very quickly. If possible, wear an older suit that you won't mind losing. Or, rinse out your suit as quickly as possible.

For frequent hot tub use, choose a suit that is made of 100 percent polyester or chlorine resistant material. Cotton and natural fibers will not hold up long in the chlorinated water.

Rinse and Dry

Bunched up swimwear doesn't rinse well. Wear your swimsuit in the bath or shower right after your swim to rinse out sand, salt or chlorine, and hang to dry. Don't roll it up in a towel and leave it for a while.

If you have the time, allow the suit to soak for 30 minutes in the bath. This will remove most of the chemicals, sand and body perspiration that harm the fabric. Plain water does not remove all the salt, dirt or chlorine. Add just a tablespoon of mild shampoo.

Cleaning

Swimsuits take a beating from all the chlorine, salt, sand, sun, sunscreen and other lotions we use while having a great time at the beach or in the pool.

These materials can be sensitive to harsh cleaners and high temperatures, so its best to hand-wash most of your swimwear. When in doubt, check the sewn-in tag.

Do not iron, do not dry clean. Do not use liquid chlorine bleach as it can lead to discolouration, stretch and eventual breakage of the Lycra fibres. Aside from that, you need only provide the care determined by the other fabrics. Wash in warm (not hot) water.

Avoid strong detergents. Don't use washing powders because they may not dissolve completely or rinse away well. Be sure to check the care label in the garment for washing instructions. Only "All-fabric Bleach" may be used for cleaning any garments with Lycra, useful for preventing any graying of the fabric caused by absorption of soils and detergents.

Drying

Never use a dryer or tumble dry. Do not place swimwear near a radiator. You can drip dry it, or wear it until it is dry. Let it dry completely before putting it away.

Gently squeeze - don't wring - the water out of the fabric. Spread your suit flat to dry in a spot out of direct sunlight. Never leave it out to dry in the sun. The UV rays from the sun can both fade and break down the fibers in your suit.

Fabric Memory: Let it Rest

You probably know that most swimwear is typically made from Spandex fabric. But did you know that spandex is actually a memory fabric? This means when it gets stretched out it goes back to its original shape which takes about a day.

So don’t wear the same swimsuit on consecutive days. Make sure you give your bathing suit a break.

If you use your swimsuit daily, invest in several. Giving your suit an entire day to dry and regain its shape will increase its lifespan.

Besides, you probably have a bunch of beautiful designer swimsuits in your wardrobe just waiting to be worn.

Storage

Store your swimming clothes in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Do not stash them away while they are still damp. Do not wrap your swimsuit in your towel. The towel has soaked up all of the chemicals and will expose your swimsuit to their harsh effects.