Chlorine can be tough on swimwear — but you probably already knew that, though. But did you know that there are 5 steps to properly caring for your swimwear? By making all 5 steps part of your post-swim routine, you can help extend the lifespan of your swimwear of choice. We explained the first one, rinsing, in our previous posts (see Parts 1 & 2). Now we’ll take a peek at the remaining 4: treating, washing, drying, and resting.
Of course, we’re assuming you’ve already rinsed your swimwear, which you removed from your body while it was still wet. As you rinsed, hopefully you mentally noticed any stains that may have been starting. Once you get to your laundry area, you’ll want to treat those stains. You don’t need to purchase any special products; simply apply household baking soda or use a mixture of water and white vinegar in a 3:1 ratio. The former method requires about 2 hours to set before washing; the latter, only half an hour. We recommend pure vegetable glycerin for any stubborn stains. (Gentle commercial stain-removal products can also be used, but with caution.)
Even if your swimwear does not appear to require treatment for staining, you should attend to it as soon as you can after you are done swimming. Instead of throwing it in with the rest of the laundry, wash it separately, right away. Hand washing is best and only takes a few minutes. All you have to do is fill the sink with fresh water (not the same water used to rinse the swim suit). Add about a tablespoon of mild hand soap or laundry detergent that does not contain any bleach or moisturizer. (Shampoo can also be used, but make sure it does not also contain conditioner.) Simply swish your suit around in the soapy water for 3-5 minutes. If you prefer to machine-wash your swimwear, turn it inside-out, use cold water, and set your machine to “Gentle” or “Delicate.” Be sure to use only a small amount of liquid detergent, not powder.
Drying and Storing Swimwear
Just like after you rinsed your swimsuit immediately after removing it, you want to avoid wringing it out now that it’s washed. You should also avoid putting it in a clothes dryer. Instead, make sure it lays flat to dry. If you need to expedite the process, set your clean swimwear near an open window or use a fan or blow dryer set to “Cool.” Ideally, give your swimsuit at least 24 hours to rest between uses.
During the off season, you should store your swimwear out of direct sunlight or extreme fluctuations in temperature or moisture level. Also avoid storing it in a plastic bag or in any container that will trap moisture.
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