How to Keep a Bathing Suit From Fading

by Pam Gaulin Google
Relaxing in the pool

Relaxing in the pool

After spending hours trying on the right bathing suit, the last thing any woman wants is for her new bathing suit to fade and look older than its years. Bathing suits are made from materials which can fade, lose their elasticity along the derriere and pull easily when they come into contact with concrete or rough pool-side surfaces. The Lycra and spandex blend holds up well when wet, but chemicals and salt water can break down a suit's colors. Keep last year's bathing suit on hand to use in hot tubs or highly chlorinated pools. A bathing suit without a lot of extra embellishments will also stay looking new longer.

Items you will need

  • Distilled vinegar
  • Filtered tap water
  • Mesh bag
  • Baby shampoo or soap
  • Laundry detergent for baby's clothes
  • Chlorine remover
  • Large towel
Step 1

Pre-treat a brand new bathing suit before wearing it in a hot tub, chlorinated pool or the ocean. Combine four cups of filtered tap water or bottled water with two teaspoons of distilled vinegar, which will help keep bright colors from bleeding. Wet your bathing suit in a shower or sink before getting in chemically treated water.

Step 2

Apply suntan lotion or sunscreen before getting dressed in a bathing suit. Allow the lotion to absorb and dry completely before putting on the bathing suit, to reduce the effect that the lotion's oils will have on the color of your swim wear. Reapply lotion or sunscreen as needed, being careful not to smear it on the edges of the suit. Wash or rinse your hands after applying sunscreen.

Step 3

Rinse a bathing suit after a day at the pool or the beach. Carry a mesh or breathable bag to store the bathing suit after rinsing it in fresh water. Consider keeping an older bathing suit with you to use in chlorinated pools, water slides or any other activities where you will be in the water most of the time you're wearing your suit.

Step 4

Read the fabric care label on the swimsuit before washing it. Turn the bathing suit inside out. Fill a clean sink with water. Add baby shampoo or liquid bath soap to cold water and swish it with your hands to make bubbles. Wash the bathing suit, paying careful attention to the suit's lining. Clean the lower area and the sports bra area to remove sweat or sand. Drain the sink and rinse the suit with fresh water.

Step 5

Place your wet bathing suit flat on a towel. Roll the towel from one end to the other, squeezing the water out of the bathing suit as you go. Repeat with the other side of the towel or a new towel to remove excess water. Line dry the bathing suit in the shade or let it dry flat on the towel.


  • Save last year's bathing suit for the hot tub or jacuzzi, especially if it's already faded.
  • Purchase a second bathing suit half-way through the summer when prices are discounted.
  • Use plastic clothes pins when line drying the suit to reduce pulls in the fabric.
  • Use cool water, not warm or hot water when rinsing the bathing suit.


  • Do not put a bathing suit in the washing machine, even on the delicate cycle.
  • Do not wring out the bathing suit.

About the Author

Pam Gaulin has been writing professionally since 1990. Her work has appeared on websites such as ModernMom, TheFrisky, Zappos and Her previous positions include editor of "Web Site Source Book," project leader for a K-12 database, business writer for a newsletter publisher and Happenings editor for "The Valley Advocate." Gaulin holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Massachusetts.

Photo Credits

  • Photo by vassiliki/