Swimsuit care — 4 easy steps to keep your bathing suit in top shape

I used to think that for such a little bit of fabric swimsuits were awfully expensive. Then I tried to make one. Now I’m willing to pay a pretty penny to get a good fit and a quality suit. And that means I also want to make it last — for many seasons, if possible. 

And while the kids’ suits aren’t likely to last many seasons no matter what, we still would like to keep them looking as good as possible and lasting at least until they grow out of them!

Good swimsuit care means retaining the elasticity, shape, color, and fit. Here are four simple things to do to accomplish that:

1. Prewash. To set the dye, soak a new swimsuit in vinegar water. Use enough water to submerge the suit and a couple tablespoons of vinegar. Let the swimsuit soak for about half an hour. Then rinse and dry.

2. Rinse after wearing. Right after wearing. Don’t throw it in the hamper (it’s probably at least damp, if not wet!), and don’t wait until you’re ready to wash it. Rinse out the chlorine, saltwater, and/or sunblock right away. Then lay it flat to dry until you’re ready to wash it properly. 

a child wearing a pink and blue ruffled swimsuit jumping on the beach in front of an ocean

3. Wash and dry with care. Use gentle liquid soap (no bleach!) and handwash your swimsuit. That stretchy fabric can get out of shape in the washing machine, even on the gentle cycle. Use cold or cool water — warm if it’s especially dirty. Don’t use hot water, which can damage those stretchy fabrics. That’s why hot tubs are so hard on swimsuits. (Note: Some men’s swimsuits contain less spandex/stretchy fabrics and so can be machine washed. Still, be sure to use the delicate cycle.) Don’t wring the suit to get the water out. Instead, gently squeeze it, then roll it in a dry, clean towel. Lay it flat to dry (not in the sunlight). Never put a swimsuit in the dryer. The heat of the dryer can break the fibers and deteriorate the fabric quickly. It can also fade the fabric. 

4. Watch what you sit on. When wearing your swimsuit, avoid sitting on rough surfaces. If the edge of the pool is brick, for example, put a towel down to sit on. Ditto a wooden bench or chair. Otherwise the rough surface will rub against your suit and cause it to pill. (This last swimsuit care step isn’t one you should expect of kiddos!)

What do you do to take care of your suit? Do you buy a new swimsuit each season? If so, is it because last year’s is looking sad or because your tastes have changed? 

You might also like: Prevent pilling — How to keep sweaters, bedding, and other items from pilling, and Sneakers — How to keep your kicks clean and long lasting.

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