How to Keep Swimsuits from Fading

Swimsuits are a summer staple, but nothing is more frustrating than watching your favorite swimsuit fade away after just a few uses. Luckily, there are ways you can prolong the life of your swimsuit and keep those vibrant colors intact. 

How to Keep Swimsuits from Fading

Various factors contribute to the fading of swimsuits, such as exposure to chlorine, sun, and harsh detergents or improper washing techniques. Make sure to always rinse your swimsuit after use, wash it with a mild detergent, and let it air dry away from direct sunlight. Getting a high quality swimsuit with fade-resistant materials can help it last for multiple seasons.

Keep reading on to learn in more detail how to keep your swimsuits from fading and ensure they remain dazzling all summer long and for multiple summers afterwards.

Swimsuit Materials and Color Fading

The Basics of Swimsuit Fabrics

Swimsuit fabrics play a crucial role in determining its durability, elasticity, and resistance to fading. Some common materials used in swimwear include:

  • Nylon: Lightweight and quick-drying, nylon is a popular choice for swimwear. However, it is not very resistant to chlorine and sunlight, which can cause color fading.
  • Lycra: Often blended with other fabrics, Lycra provides excellent stretch and shape retention. It is known for its exceptional chlorine resistance and swimsuits made with lycra tend to last longer.
  • Polyester: Highly durable and resistant to chlorine and sunlight, polyester retains colors well, making it a good option for swimwear. However, it might not be as comfortable as other materials.

Why Do Swimsuit Fabrics Fade?

Color fading in swimsuits is caused by various factors, including the sun, chlorine, and salt:

  • Sunlight: Exposure to sunlight can cause swimsuit colors to fade over time due to the breakdown of dyes by ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Chlorine: Often found in pools, chlorine can react with the dyes used in swimsuits, resulting in color fading and fabric damage. Choosing a chlorine-resistant fabric like lycra can help minimize the effects of chlorine exposure.
  • Salt: Saltwater can also contribute to the fading of your swimsuit’s colors as it can break down the fabric’s fibers and dyes.
  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen can discolor your swimsuit but it’s not exactly something you can forgo. Your skin health is more important, so apply it anyways, even if they aren’t good for your swimsuit fabric.

Unfortunately, as you’ve probably realized, there is no possible way for you to avoid sunlight, chlorine, salt, or sunscreen. In fact, when you’re at the beach or swimming at an outdoor pool, you will pretty much always be exposed to at least three of these things.

Therefore, since exposure is inevitable, the best thing you can do is to limit exposure by rinsing the chlorine and salt off your swimsuit as soon as you’re done swimming, and not spending too much time in the sun because not only is it bad for your swimsuit, but it’s bad for your skin.

Swimming at an indoor pool at least reduces the number of damaging factors down to just chlorine, so if you really want your swimwear to last a long time, keep swimming mostly at indoor pools.

Precautions to Prolong Swimsuit Vibrancy

  1. Pre-treat your swimsuit by soaking it in a mixture of filtered water and distilled vinegar for 20-30 minutes before wearing it for the first time. This helps to seal in the color, keeping it vibrant for longer.
  2. Rinse in fresh water immediately after swimming to remove salt, chlorine, and other substances that can contribute to color fading.
  3. Invest in a swimsuit made from a chlorine-resistant fabric to minimize the effects of chlorine on your swimwear’s colors.
  4. Be mindful of rough surfaces and avoid sitting on rough surfaces while wearing your swimsuit, as this can cause pilling and damage the fabric. Use a towel or a rash guard for extra protection if necessary.

Swimsuit Care and Maintenance

Rinsing and Washing Techniques

To properly care for your swimsuit and prevent fading, it’s important to follow rinsing and washing techniques that will preserve its color and form. Follow these steps:

  1. Rinse in fresh water after each use: Swimming in chlorinated pools or salty ocean water can deteriorate your swimsuit’s fabric. Always rinse it under fresh water after each swim to remove salt and chlorine.
  2. Hand washing is your best option: Washing your swimsuit by hand will extend its life and keep its colors vibrant longer. Use cold-to-room-temperature water and a mild detergent to gently wash your swimwear.
  3. Turn it inside out: This helps to protect the delicate outer fabric and prevents snags.
  4. Avoid soaking your swimsuit: It is important to not soak your swimsuit for too long to keep its shape intact. Quick, gentle washing is best.
  5. Pre-treat stains if needed: If your swimsuit has any stains, pre-treat them with some gentle detergent before washing.

Correct Drying Procedures

Proper drying can greatly influence the longevity and quality of your swimsuit. Follow these steps for the best results:

  1. Lay flat to dry: After washing, lay your swimsuit flat on a clean and dry towel to prevent stretching and discoloration. Avoid wringing it out or using a clothesline.
  2. Keep away from direct sunlight: To keep your swimsuit’s color from fading, do not dry it in direct sunlight, which can break down the fabric and accelerate color fading.
  3. Don’t throw it in the dryer: The heat from a dryer can damage your swimsuit’s elasticity and may result in color fading. Always air dry your swimwear to maintain its shape and vibrancy.
  4. Pat dry with a towel: Gently use a towel to press out excess water, taking care not to twist or wring the fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my bathing suit from losing its color?

To prevent your bathing suit from losing its color, always rinse it in cold water immediately after swimming to remove chlorine, salt, and other chemicals. Limit the swimsuit’s exposure to sunlight by drying it in the shade, and avoid using a washing machine or dryer. Hand wash with a gentle detergent made specifically for swimwear to maintain the color vibrancy.

Is there a natural method to wash swimsuits and prevent fading?

Yes, you can use a natural method to wash your swimsuits by soaking your swimsuit in a water and white vinegar solution (1 tablespoon of vinegar for each cup of water) for 30 minutes to neutralize chlorine before washing before cleaning your swimwear by hand. Gently massage the soapy water into the material, rinse thoroughly with cold water, and avoid wringing or twisting the swimsuit to remove excess water. This will help maintain the fabric’s quality and color.

How to remove yellow chlorine stains from a bathing suit?

Remove yellow chlorine stains from a bathing suit by preparing a solution of equal parts water and lemon juice. Gently rub the solution onto the stained area, then let the swimsuit air-dry in the shade. Alternatively, you can use a color-safe bleach following the product’s instructions. Always test on a small, inconspicuous area before applying to the entire swimsuit.