Selecting quality swimwear and reducing your swimwear’s exposure to various harmful elements are certainly important (see Part 1); however, so is how you care for your swimwear. Particularly after wearing swimwear in chlorinated water, caring for it properly will increase the lifetime of those garments, leaving you more time to enjoy your swimming pool and more money for new pool toys and upgrades! Really, it’s not complicated; it’s just a matter of doing all 5 steps, the right way, every time you wear your swim suit: Rinse, Treat, Wash, Dry, and Rest.
This step might just be the most important — and most often overlooked. Here’s the basic reasoning: since chlorine causes damage to the fibers of your swim suit, rinsing it out immediately after use in chlorinated water will help reduce the amount of damage that the chlorine does. Instead of letting your chlorine-drenched suit dry on your body, remove it while it is still wet and rinse it immediately in cool water.
If possible, let it soak in a cool (fresh) water bath for a half hour or more. Then even if you need to put it into a bag to transport it, don’t wring it out! If you do, you’ll risk stretching the spandex fabric, allowing the suit to more quickly lose its shape. Instead of wringing, try rolling — simply lay your swim suit out on a dry towel, then roll up the towel and squeeze gently. Yes, it will still be damp; sorry about that. But while you don’t want to store your suit in a plastic bag for very long (more on that in Part 3), doing so just until you get home will help keep your regular beach bag and other items in it dry.
As you rinse out your swimwear, take note of any stains that may be starting and treat them now. One option is to apply baking soda to the stain and let it sit for up to two hours before washing. Another is to use a mixture of water and white vinegar (3 parts water to 1 part white vinegar) and let your suit soak in it for up to 30 minutes. You may also want to try a gentle commercial stain-removal product. For stubborn stains, consider rubbing pure vegetable glycerin into them.
Of course, preferable to treating swim suit stains is avoiding them in the first place. Be aware that many products cause staining to the synthetic fibers of which swimwear is made: sunscreen, self-tanning oils, and cosmetics are common culprits.
Products that contain minerals can cause yellowing, while those that include avobenzone can cause rust-colored stains; both types can start small and develop into larger stains over time. To lessen the chances of staining your swimwear, be sure to apply any necessary products before putting your swimwear on and then wait long enough for the applied products to dry.
Ready for the other 3 steps? Check out our next post!
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