Extend the Life of Your Swimwear

Extend the Life of Your Swimwear


You’ve found your perfect swimsuit. It’s gorgeous, fits beautifully and makes you feel like a sun goddess. With the right care, it can stay that way for seasons to come. Protect, Clean, Rotate, Store — keep these four words in mind and you’re golden. Here's why:  


The lotions, sunscreens, oils and deodorants you apply to your skin are harsh on swim fabrics. They can discolor and stain them, and ultimately deteriorate elasticity. Apply these products 15 to 30 minutes before you put on your swimwear so they’re absorbed by your skin, and not your suit.

Shower in fresh water before stepping into the pool: the fibers of your suit will absorb less chlorinated water. And make sure the chlorine content of your pool or hot tub isn’t too high. Otherwise, the spandex in your suit can break down.

Speaking of hot tubs, you’d be wise to dedicate a single suit to them. The combo of high temps and chlorine will age your swim fabrics more quickly, so have one dedicated suit that you’re willing to put through that wringer.

High chlorine levels can cause color loss. To lock in more of the dyes in a new suit, you can soak it for 30 minutes in a vinegar and water solution before washing it the first time. The perfect ratio is one tablespoon of white vinegar to each quart of water.

When you’re away from your beach chair, always sit on a towel to avoid abrasion from concrete, wooden benches and other surfaces. Or have a skirt or a pareo on hand, so you don’t have to carry a towel with you everywhere.


Even if you’ve only been sunbathing, hand wash your suit in cold water after each wearing to remove salt, oils and dirt. Can’t give it a proper wash right away? A cold rinse is better than nothing.

As soon as you’re able, clean your suit with an ultra-gentle detergent (like Tommy Bahama Swim Suit Cleaner). Remember to only wash by hand with cold water.

Never put your swimwear in a washing machine; the agitation will stretch and strain the delicate pads, linings and other features, leaving it broken down and ill-fitting.

Instead of wringing out your suit (which can damage fibers and cause sagging), lay it flat between two towels and roll it, pressing gently to squeeze out excess water. Then lay it flat again and allow it to dry away from direct sunlight (long exposure to the sun's UV rays can cause serious fading). Don’t hang by any ties; they’ll stretch out.


Spandex is a memory fabric and needs 24 hours to fully snap back. So if you slip into swimwear more than once in a while, have multiple options. This is especially essential for vacationing: bring a variety of suits so you can clean them and let them dry fully before wearing again. Let those fabrics bounce back for a great, lasting fit.


Your suits are ready to be stored when they’ve been washed and are completely dry.

Don’t store them in airtight containers or dry cleaners’ bags. If there’s any moisture in the fibers, they’ll develop mildew. And again, don’t leave them out in direct sunlight. Keep those colors vivid!

Cedar blocks or lavender sachets in your storage box or drawer are a great way to add a naturally refreshing scent and keep any pests away. Don’t use dryer sheets, as they can leave residue on fabrics.