For such tiny scraps of fabric, bathing suits are quite pricey. The last thing bathing beauties want is a yellow polka dot bikini or pin-up style one-piece that pills, fades and stretches out after just a few dips in the pool. Keeping your swimsuit in good condition will save money and help you avoid shopping for a new suit–that curse of fluorescent lighting, dimpled skin and winter weight gain. Sun and chlorine will eventually take their toll on your suit, but you can prolong its life:

  • Shower with fresh water before going into the pool. If a swimsuit is already saturated with fresh water, it absorbs less of the harmful, chlorinated pool water.
  • Regularly check the chlorine content in your pool or hot tub. If it's too high, it can break down the Spandex in your suit causing it to lose it shape. Nothing is worse than saggy bikini bottoms!
  • Don't sit on rough, textured pool ledges and other surfaces that pill or tear your suit. Rather, lounge on a cushioned pool chair or a raft.
  • After swimming, immediately change and rinse your suit with cold water. Do not wring out your suit, just  gently squeeze out the excess moisture.
  • Never leave your suit rolled up in damp towels or wet at the bottom of your beach bag, which creates mildew and degrades the suit. I once  left my Speedo in my high school gym locker over the three month gap. The next time I opened the locker, the suit was a Petri dish of mold spores. The entire locker room had to be deodorized to remove the odor!
  • While sunscreen is your number one poolside accessory, do not get it or tanning oil (which you know you shouldn't be using anyway) on your suit. Also, keep cosmetics like self-tanner, perfume and moisturizer off your suit.
  • Do not machine wash. Hand wash  it with Woolite. Never use soap or detergent, which can be harmful to the fabric.
  • Keep your suit out of the dryer and off the patio furniture. Always air dry your swimsuit on a drying rack in a well-ventilated room. Lay it flat to avoid wrinkles.
  • Swimsuit liners tend to have a shorter life than the outer shell of your swimsuit. If the liner starts to fall apart, carefully snip it out of the suit. But remember, many liners act as modesty panels — check whether your liner-free suit is see-through before the neighborhood pool party.
  • If you spend as much time in the pool as Michael Phelps, consider buying a bottle of Solmar Suit Saver. Suit Saver removes 99.9 percent of residual chlorine from swimwear, which protects color and elasticity. A two ounce bottle of Suit Saver (50 washes) is $5.63 at Amazon.com.

 

Endless Summer: Tips to Keep Your Swimsuit Looking Like New