How to Fix a Discolored Bathing Suit: Top Methods

Have you noticed that the once vibrant colors on your swimsuit have started becoming dull or discolored? It’s disheartening, but the good news is that there are many ways to fix a discolored bathing suit and restore it to its former glory.

How to Fix a Discolored Bathing Suit

You might be wondering what causes bathing suit discoloration in the first place. It can be a result of exposure to various elements like chlorine, sunscreen, or even the sun’s UV rays. By using tried and true strategies such as using baking soda, vinegar, and gentle laundry detergent, you can breathe life back into your swimwear.

In this article, we’ll explore several more methods to clean your bathing suit as well as ways to prevent it from getting discolored in the first place.

Ways to Fix A Discolored Bathing Suit

Experiencing discoloration in your bathing suit can be frustrating, but don’t throw away your swimsuit just yet! The methods outlined below may restore the vibrancy and color of your favorite swimsuit. Here’s how:

Wash Swimsuit in Non-Chlorine Detergent Solution

Begin by soaking your bathing suit in a non-chlorine detergent solution. Mix one tablespoon of laundry detergent for fine washables in one gallon of cool water in a bucket or sink. Soak your swimsuit for 10 to 15 minutes to loosen stains, then agitate the water by dunking the swimsuit up and down.

Do not mistakenly use your regular laundry detergent, which contains harsh chemicals that can cause discoloration, for this task. Look specifically for detergents that do not contain chlorine or bleach and are specifically marketed for swimwear use.

Wash Swimsuit in Mild Soap Solution

A mild soap solution can also help with discoloration if you cannot find a non-chlorine detergent. Fill a basin with cold water and add a few drops of mild liquid soap. Soak the swimsuit in the solution for 15 to 30 minutes, gently massaging the fabric to remove stains and discoloration. Rinse thoroughly in cold water.

Wash Swimsuit in Vinegar Solution

Vinegar is known for its ability to restore colors in fabrics. You can use vinegar alone, or add a tablespoon of vinegar in combination with the other methods listed in this section.

If you are using vinegar as your primary cleaning ingredient, then mix one part vinegar to three parts cold water in a basin. Immerse your swimsuit in the solution, allowing it to soak for 30 minutes to an hour. After the soak, rinse the swimsuit well with cold water.

Wash Swimsuit with Baking Soda Paste

Another effective method is using baking soda to eliminate discoloration. Add ½ cup of baking soda to a non-chlorine laundry detergent when washing your swimsuit, or create a cleaning paste by mixing three tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of water. Rub the paste onto discolored areas, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wash the suit as usual.

Wash Swimsuit in Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

Hydrogen peroxide is a gentle bleaching agent that can help remove discoloration from your bathing suit. Fill a basin with cold water and add one cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Soak your swimsuit in the solution for 30 minutes to an hour, then rinse well with cold water.

Use A Rust Remover for Fabrics

If your swimsuit’s discoloration is the result of rust stains, try using a rust remover specifically designed for fabrics. Follow the product’s instructions for application and washing, making sure to test for colorfastness on an inconspicuous area before treating your swimsuit.

Dye Your Swimsuit

If all else fails, you can always try dyeing your discolored bathing suit to restore its vibrant color. Here’s how:

  1. Choose the right dye: Make sure to select a dye that is suitable for the type of fabric your swimsuit is made of. For example, if your swimsuit is made of polyester, choose a dye that is specifically designed for synthetic fabrics.
  2. Prepare the dye bath: Fill a large pot with enough water to cover your swimsuit completely. Bring the water to a boil and add the dye according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir the dye bath with a spoon to make sure the dye is evenly distributed.
  3. Add the swimsuit: Once the dye bath is ready, add your swimsuit to the pot. Stir the swimsuit gently so that all parts of the fabric are exposed to the dye. Make sure to spread the swimsuit out as much as possible within the bath.
  4. Keep boiling the bath: After adding the swimsuit, make sure to leave the pot on the stove because polyester needs high heat for the dye to be absorbed. Boil the swimsuit in the dye bath for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even dyeing.
  5. Rinse and dry: Once the dyeing process is complete, remove the swimsuit from the dye bath and rinse it with cool water until the water runs clear. Hang the swimsuit to dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight.

A warning: boiling your swimsuit in a dye bath may cause it to shrink, especially if it is made of natural fibers like cotton. However, if your swimsuit is made of synthetic fibers like polyester, it is less likely to shrink.

To minimize the risk of shrinkage, follow the care instructions on the label of your swimsuit and avoid using hot water when washing it in the future. If you are concerned about shrinkage, you may want to consider dyeing a test swatch of fabric before dyeing the entire swimsuit.

Common Causes of Bathing Suit Discoloration

How to Keep Bathing Suit Top and Bottom in Place

Understanding the common causes of bathing suit discoloration will help you take preventative measures and maintain the vibrant colors of your swimwear. Let’s explore these causes and how to avoid them:


Chlorine in pool water is one of the main culprits behind swimsuit discoloration. To prevent chlorine stains on your swimsuit, always rinse your bathing suit with cold water immediately after swimming, and avoid soaking it in the pool for extended periods.


Exposure to sunlight can cause your bathing suit to fade over time. To prevent this, try to minimize direct sunlight exposure when not in the water, or consider investing in a swimsuit made from UV-resistant fabric.

Tanning Oil and Sunscreen

Both tanning oil and sunscreen can result in color stains and fading of your bathing suit. Always let these products dry before putting on your swimsuit, and rinse it out as soon as possible after use.

Sweat Stains

Sweat can cause unsightly stains and discoloration on your swimsuit. To prevent this, rinse your bathing suit with cold water immediately after use and consider wearing a moisture-wicking swimsuit material.

Food Stains

Food spills and stains can also discolor your swimwear. Be mindful when eating near the pool or beach, and promptly treat any food stains using the methods above.

Blood Stains

Blood stains can be tricky to remove and may result in discoloration. If you happen to get a cut or injury, or you are on your period, tend to it immediately and treat any blood stains on your swimsuit with the methods listed above.

Harsh Chemicals

Using harsh chemicals, like bleach or strong detergents, can damage the colors of your swimwear. Stick to mild, color-safe detergents and follow the care instructions on your bathing suit’s label to maintain its colors.

Hard Water

Hard water contains minerals that can cause a buildup on your swimsuit and lead to discoloration. To counter this, add a water softener to your washing machine or use a gentle, mineral-removing detergent.

Rust Stains

Rust stains can occur from metal parts of your bathing suit, like hooks or zippers, as well as from the water itself. Keep an eye on any metal components, and use rust removal products carefully to avoid causing further damage to your swimsuit.

How to Prevent Bathing Suit Discoloration

How to Fix See-Through Bathing Suit Bottoms

Rinse Swimsuit Immediately After Use

To prevent your bathing suit from becoming faded, always rinse it with cool water right after use. This will help remove chlorine, body oils, and lotions that may cause discoloration. A quick shower with your swimsuit on after swimming would suffice. At least once a week, you should give your swimsuit a more thorough wash.

Buy Quality Swimsuits

Investing in a high-quality swimsuit made of durable fabric can significantly help in reducing discoloration. Look for reputable brands and avoid cheap, poor-quality bathing suits that are more prone to fading and losing their shape.

Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure

Excessive sun exposure can fade your bathing suit’s colors. To maintain the vibrancy of your swimsuit, avoid laying out in the sun for long periods. When not swimming, consider covering up with a light garment, such as a swimsuit cover up, or staying in the shade.

Test and Balance Water Chemistry Often

If you are frequently swimming in a backyard pool, the most common problem you will encounter is unbalanced water chemistry.

Unbalanced water chemistry, such as excessive chlorine levels in pools, can damage your swimsuit’s colors. There may also be too much calcium hardness, resulting in hard water that can also discolor your swimsuit. Test your pool’s water regularly and adjust the chemical balance to protect your bathing suit and other pool accessories.