Rinse, don’t wring, and shade dry: how to keep swimwear in great condition

Any swimmer will tell you that once the weather warms up, their exercise routine becomes subject to disruptions from fair weather swimmers: people who haven’t learnt the politics of lap swimming. Things like not pushing off ahead of someone about to tumble turn; no board shorts in the fast lane; if someone is overtaking you it’s not an invitation to speed up; and only jerks do butterfly in a public pool.

Now that summer is here, hopefully we’ll all find ourselves beside a pool or at the beach in the coming months, so we thought it was a good moment remember swimwear can benefit from good manners too. Hierdie week, we asked swimwear experts for advice on how to keep bathers in great shape.

When you get out of the pool or the ocean, it’s tempting to remove wet swimwear, wrap it in a towel and leave it at the bottom of your bag. In plaas daarvan, Araks Yeramyan the designer of Araks, says it’s really important to rinse the salt and chlorine off your swimsuit immediately. She says doing so “will save your suit from everything” and prevent sagging caused by damaged fibres.

Carolina Quintero Rodriguez, a fashion lecturer at RMIT University, says this is because tap water or any water with neutral to basic pH levels will remove any salts or chemicals on the suit that can weaken the elastic and material over time.

Richard Jarman is the creative director of Commas and an avid swimmer. He says after you’ve washed your swimwear in freshwater, leave it to dry in the shade. “But don’t forget them!”

“I’ve had countless holidays where I’ve left swimwear anywhere from beach change rooms to hotel balconies.”

To ensure your swimwear keeps its shape, Yeramyan says not to wring swimwear and to let it air-dry on a flat surface. Direct sunlight can cause the fabric to fade, sy sê, so when you’re not wearing your bathers sunbaking or swimming, keep them away from it.

Every so often, swimwear can benefit from a cold machine wash. Jarman does this once a week. He says, “I swim everyday, so I like to wash my swimwear with detergent every week on a gentle cycle.”

Quintero Rodriguez says most swimsuits are made from polyester, polyamides or nylon, which are machine washable. She recommends washing them on “gentle agitations and gentle spin cycles”.

Yeramyan says hand washing is better for your swimsuit, but it’s a good idea to occasionally use a mild soap or detergent like Dr. Bronner’s. When machine washing she says to use a Guppyfriend washing bag to prevent the pollution caused by the shedding of microfibres from synthetic materials.

Quintero Rodriguez says there are studies that show polyester and polyamides are affected by the temperature of the water, sy sê, “It is very important that the garments are washed in cold or warm water, as heat can damage the fibers and cause wrinkles in the garment.”

Yeramyan agrees, she says “direct or high heat will ruin the integrity of the swimsuit over time. Never tumble dry, iron, or dry clean a swimsuit.”

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