You know the feeling: You bought a super cute bikini and wear it everywhere, but as summer goes on, it fades and snags and ends up in your trash can by August. This is the life of a bikini for most of us – it is short, sweet, and gradually fades… but it doesn’t have to. It is safe to say that most women don’t know the basics of swimsuit care, which leads to one season swimsuits – something cheaply made and disposable. There is nothing nicer than a beautifully made swimsuit and yes, you can have your bikini and keep it too (and for more than a season!). Here are the basics of swimwear care that will help extend the life of your swimsuits (and give you a good excuse to purchase that pricier L SPACE suit you want 😉 )
1. Pre-treat Your Suit
This is one of the most important steps in swimsuit care: pre-treating your swimsuit. You want to make sure you pre-treat your suit before you have worn it in the pool, ocean, or even shower. Pre-treating helps lock in the color of your swimwear to prevent fading and bleeding, extending the life of your swimwear from the start. There are various recipes for pre-treating all over the internet, but all have two ingredients: distilled white vinegar and water. You can use anywhere from 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar to a 50/50 ratio of vinegar to water. You’ll want to fill up a stopped up sink or bucket with the solution and soak your swimsuit in it for about 30 minutes, then rinse your suit out and let it air dry.
The Key: Make sure you only soak swimsuits that are similar colors together. I recommend only doing one matching suit at a time because the excess dye will tint the color of the solution. This way, you don’t end up dying your favorite new yellow suit an odd shade!
2. Rinse Your Suits After the Beach or Pool
The best offense is a good defense, so make sure you rinse your swimwear in cool water after taking a dip in the ocean or pool. Chlorine will break down the fibers of your swimwear really quickly, and saltwater can have a similar effect over time.
The Key: Even if you aren’t changing out of your swimsuit for a while, use a pool-side or beach-side freshwater shower to rinse off the excess saltwater or chlorine. This way, the harsh elements will be diluted and cause less damage to your swimwear.
3. Avoid the Washer/Dryer
Washing machines and dryers are unnecessarily harsh on clothing, and they wreak havoc on swimwear. The motion of a washing machine breaks down the fibers of your swimsuit, and the intense heat of the dryer will break down the elasticity of your swimwear and will severely damage your suit over time.
The Key: Hand washing swimwear is your best bet for swimwear longevity, but be careful to avoid wringing your swimsuit out. It is important to be gentle with your swimwear when washing it, use a gentle detergent like Woolite or hand soap (never use regular laundry detergent- it’s too harsh), always wash your suits in cool water, and line dry all your swimwear.
4. Hot Tubs + Nice Swimwear = 😦
If you’re like me, you don’t have the money to knowingly damage a nice swimsuit for the heck of it, which is why I have swimsuit that I use specifically for hot tubs. A hot tub is swimwear hell that combines super chlorinated water with intense heat – a deadly combination for a swimsuit. Hot tubs generally have higher levels of chlorine than your average pool, so the damage to your suit will be exponentially higher.
The Key: Have one swimsuit that you use specifically for hot tubs and avoid using any other suit in a hot tub.
5. Avoid Velcro-Butt
We’ve all done it – you jump out of the pool really quickly, sit on the edge, and jump back in but later find out that your bottom looks like the fuzzy side of velcro. Pool decks are meant to grip well to avoid slipping, which makes them great for walking but terrible for sitting. This rough surface will catch on the fine fibers of your swimsuit and snag it all over, just like velcro.
The Key: Use a towel when sitting on a pool deck – it’s the only way to avoid velcro-butt.
6. Apply Carefully
I’m all for using sunscreen (seriously, PLEASE do!), but you need to be careful when applying sunscreen, lotion, perfume, makeup, etc. while wearing a swimsuit. Sunscreen is known to stain swimwear, and it’s extremely difficult to get out, so be really careful when applying your sunscreen.
The Key: Apply sunscreen before you even put your swimsuit on. Yes, that’s right. Naked. This way, you won’t stain the outer, visible fabric of your swimsuit, you will have ample time for it to soak in before sun exposure, and you are less likely to miss spots that will undoubtedly burn later.
Now, this list is not exhaustive and it doesn’t pretend to be, but doing these things will definitely extend the life of your swimwear.
Are there any tricks you’ve learned to help preserve your swimwear?