Swimwear Care 101

Finding a great-fitting swimsuit is no small feat (hello dressing-room lighting!), so once you’ve found one you love, you’d like it to last longer than a single season. And it will, provided you choose a durable fabric and show it a little TLC. Follow these swimsuit care tips to keep your bathing suit looking as fresh as it did the day you bought it!

Read the label. High spandex and polyester blends are ideal swimwear options because they hold their shape and can withstand warm temperatures. If you spend more time in the pool than out, look for a chlorine-resistant fabric, which can help prevent fading.

Limit sun exposure. It’s better for your skin and your suit. If you do plan on sunbathing, do so before you go swimming, as wet bathing suits often suffer more sun damage than dry ones.

Minimize wear and tear. Sitting on the side of a pool or leaning up against a wood fence is a surefire way to rough up the fabric on your swimsuit. Instead, place a towel where you want to sit. When you’re done swimming and need to change clothes, avoid the urge to wrap your wet suit in a towel, which can lead to musty, hard-to-eliminate odors. Simply rinse it in cold water and store it in a shady place until you can launder it properly.

Wash swimsuits by hand. While it’s convenient to just throw your clothes into the washing machine after a day at the beach or pool, hand washing your bathing suit will extend its life—while removing chlorine, salt, sunscreen, and any natural oils on the fabric. (First check care labels to be sure it isn’t dry clean only.) Wash the suit in a gentle laundry detergent, then let it air-dry on an indoor rack for a full 24 hours to give the suit adequate time to regain its shape. And don’t be tempted to toss it in the dryer to speed things up. The heat could damage the suit’s elasticity.