How to Wash Your Swimsuits.

How to Wash Your Swimsuits.

All the things that most of us love about summer—bright sunshine, dips in the pool, and long days at the beach—are rough on our swimsuits.

Heat, chlorine, and salt cause colors to fade and reduce the material’s resilience over time, while sunscreen and body oils can leave tricky stains.

On top of that, synthetic swim fabrics are prone to a number of other woes, including pilling and persistent odors.

Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your suit in great shape season after season, said textile expert Preeti Arya, an assistant professor at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

To extend the life of your swimwear—and avoid the embarrassment of a stinky, stretched-out suit—we’ve rounded up some prevention-focused tips and tricks.

How to wash your swimsuit

Rinsing in fresh water immediately after emerging from the ocean or pool is a no-brainer—it helps to remove some of the chemicals, salt, and sand that your suit has been exposed to until you can give it a proper wash. Less well-known is the importance of rinsing off before diving in. (I always assumed that the shower-before-you-get-into-the-pool rule existed only as a subtle judgment of my personal hygiene.)

In fact, a pre-swim rinse also serves a suit-saving purpose. Swim textiles, Arya told us, contain polymers that are engineered for resilience—that is, their ability to stretch and bounce back. While they’re generally quite durable, prolonged exposure to water containing salts, minerals, and chlorine eventually breaks down the polymers that give the fabric its stretch. Said Arya, “When you rinse first, the construction of filaments in the material will be filled with fresh water, and therefore will wick less of the chlorinated or salt water.”


By Zoe Vanderweide 


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