Why is it that every spring we are frantically looking for new bathing suits and bikinis? Summer clothes get stored away in autumn and re-discovered the following year, but swimwear never quite seems to make it.

That’s not because the styles change so much from one year to the next, but rather because swimwear requires different care than most of our other clothing, and few of us know how to make sure it lasts a season, let alone multiple.

The fabric is different and the wear and tear is different as well. Remember these items are worn a lot in a short period of time, often without rest time, are damp or wet for long periods and exposed to the sun as well as sun screen.

Image credit: Pavel Danilyuk, Pexels

Buying tips

First of all, it goes without saying you need to buy good quality products, meaning they are intended to last and are made of durable materials.

Then, check if they are specific to salt water or chlorine and buy what is most appropriate for you.

If you are buying something with metal decorations, adjustable straps or any clasps, check the material of those. They aren’t always listed so you may need to ask. Stainless steel or even sturdy plastic are best to go for in order to avoid those parts oxidising too quickly.

Always check manufacturer’s guidelines for any tips. A lot of swimwear shouldn’t be left to dry in the sun. If you are planning on swimming and then sun bathing, you may want to choose a different one.

Bikini
Image credit: Arturo Rivera, Unsplash

Before wearing

Check for any parts that may require extra care such as metal, clasps etc. on your new garment. Some parts may detach so you can wash them separately.

To make sure the colour doesn’t fade or run too quickly, you can prepare your swimwear before wearing it by adding one or two tablespoons of white vinegar to a litre of water and letting the item soak for half an hour before rinsing it to remove the slight vinegary smell.

Image credit: Наталья Маркина, Pexels

After wearing

Once you have worn your swimwear, rinse after swimming, even if it has already dried, and avoid hot water as most swimwear has a 30-degree (maximum) exposure temperature. Also avoid harsh detergents. You are unlikely to need to remove stains so you don’t need your usual strong one. You could use soap to remove the chemicals or salt or sun screen from it after use.

As for the life expectancy of your swimwear, you can extend it by alternating it. Aim to wear each item no more than once in 24 hours. Remember most items are made of spandex-type material which needs time to go back to its original shape to avoid stretching and losing its shape.

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