Can Swimwear Be Recycled?

Can Swimwear Be Recycled?

Buying a new swimsuit can be very exciting. Seeing all the cute new styles available to purchase, knowing that you'll find the one that just fits perfectly and fills you with confidence to get out there and enjoy your summer. 

Swimwear is one of the most popular items that get thrown away.

It's also one of the easiest to recycle. You can make new swimsuits out of old ones, or even use it for art projects like making purses and other accessories. There are many ways you can reuse your old swimwear!

When the elastic is only worn from one section of your one-piece swimsuit, such as the bottom half, you can still refashion it into a swimsuit top.

Simply cut off the offending piece, hem the top half with an elastic band, and voila! 

You’ll have a versatile swim top to wear with swim skirts, board shorts, or bikini bottoms.

You can also create a waterproof swim bag by cutting off the bottom of your bathing suit (right above the leg holes) and then sewing the opening.

However, if you have some older swimsuits that you no longer want to wear or keep, you may be wondering, can swimwear be recycled?

There are a few different ways to recycle your swimwear, that way you're keeping it out of the garbage bin and helping some others in the process.


There are several organizations out there that will take old swimsuits and even rash guards or wetsuits.

The wetsuits are turned into yoga mats to have a second life helping bring peace and awareness to individuals. 

The swimwear can be donated to an organisation that accepts all swimwear and donate it to breast cancer survivors, homeless shelters, and other women's organizations around the world. 

If the swimwear is a bit too worn to give away, it will be incorporated into artwork that is sold with the proceeds going back to organizations looking for a cure for breast cancer.

This is a great way to clean out your old swimwear while giving it a new life and allowing yourself to do a little bit of good with your cleaning out.

Donate to a friend

Do you have a friend who's a similar size to you? One way to recycle swimwear, and even other clothing, is by doing a clothing swap with friends. 

You can fill up a bag or box with items that you no longer want or need and can let your friends go through it and choose what they want. Anything that's left can be donated to an organization who will give it to those less fortunate. 

It's a great way to have a "shopping day" if your friends are trying not to spend too much, and you all will get to wear new styles with your "new to you" clothes.

Ways to Reuse Your Old Swimsuits

If you’ve been seeing yourself wearing the same swimsuits for the last three summers, it is time to upgrade your collection to add variety like those you can find at Bombshell Bay Swimwear

However, if you don’t want to dispose of your old swimsuits, you have to find a new use for them. If you wish to reuse your old swimsuit fabrics, here are some creative ways to give it new life:

Transform a One-Piece Into a Bag

If you have a one-piece swimsuit, you can make it into a tote bag for your essentials the next time you go to the beach.

Sew up the leg holes, and use the strap to carry the bag over your shoulder. It is an eco-friendly yet stylish way of carrying your stuff around.

Not only does it serve as your beach bag, but you can also use it as your wet bag for your new bathing suit after a day at the beach.

Cut Into Decorative Wraps

If you want to add a little zest into your dull home items, you can use your old swimsuit as decorations.

Cut your old swimsuits into thin strips that you can tie almost anything that you want. If you want to add a pop of color to your mason jars, you can use your bathing suit wraps.

You can also use them to give life to your garden pots.

Make Baby Doll Dresses

If you have a little one who likes to dress up their dolls into fancy clothes, you can make your own DIY baby doll dresses.

You can come up with tons of designs, such as a mermaid tail or a mini bathing suit.

Make Water Babies

Teach a child about reusing and recycling by turning bathing suit fabric into miniature mermaid tails for dolls.

Fold a piece of material in half, right side facing, and draw a tail on the wrong side of the fabric, making sure it's long enough to cover the doll's legs.

Pin the folded fabric inside the drawn tail, and cut out the tail. Sew the two pieces together, add an elastic waistband and turn it inside out.

If your kids are too old to play with dolls in the bath, help them sew bath pillows from bathing suit fabric, using old scraps for the pillow cover and inside stuffing.

Sew Pillow Covers

No matter what swimsuit design you have, you can repurpose it by sewing it into an excellent pillow cover.

All you need are the bathing suit fabric and inside stuffing. If you have tons of scrap swimsuit ties, you can use them to serve as the stuffing.

You can start with small throw pillows for your car before trying out bigger pillows.

Create a No-Sew Scarf

Swimsuits are also great for creating a scarf. You don’t need to have any sewing skills to make this one.

Start by laying the swimsuit flat on the table.

You can use a paper plate to trace about eight to 12 circles, then cut them into spirals before stretching the fabric and laying the pieces together.

Craft a Quilt

You can also use your old bathing suits for your quilt project. Simply cut them into squares and sew or glue them onto a sturdy backing. If you cannot make a quilt, you can use these squares as patches.

Make Dainty Headbands

With the elastic fabric used in bathing suits, you can fashion it into some stylish headbands.

Cut them into strips and sew the ends together. You can put additional accessories, like a DIY bathing suit flower piece or pom poms to add flair to your headbands.

Tie a Jump Rope

Make an eco-friendly jump rope for your children by cutting your old bathing suits into strips and tying them together.

The great thing about this DIY project is you can easily adjust the length depending on your child’s preference and height. It is a craft project you can do with your kids at home.

How To Alter Bathing Suits?

Our bikinis are like our babies—we can't bring ourselves to throw any of them away, even the old ones, the plain ones, the ones that have been replaced by newer, trendier, more chicly designed suits.

But now, you finally have a good excuse not to get rid of those bikinis sitting in the back of your swimwear wardrobe. 

Seeing as how there is no loyalty to be found in a swimsuit drawer, we must take it upon ourselves to reshape misbehaving bathing suits into graceful compliments to our body once more.

Whether that be with scissors, glue, creative tying, or innovative dying, it's time to take back the beach with the swimsuits of our dreams.


Read along these easy tricks to alter your bathing suit when it just isn't cooperating anymore.

Sew in a Lace Panel

Experiment with these DIY directions to change a boring old bikini into lacy, luxurious, lounge wear.

This anything-but-basic black suit will serve as your inspiration. Be imaginative with colors and textures.

Add Boho Flair With Vintage Embellishments

How fabulous would it be if you deconstructed those old bolo ties your grandpa gave you and upcycled them for a swimsuit revamp?

Pretty dang fabulous. If you're sewing averse, use the hot glue gun — but please reinforce it with a few simple stitches so you don't lose the family jewels at the beach.

Think strategic placement at either the deep V of your one-piece neckline, or matching pieces on the hips of your bikini. Now that's homemade glamour.

Reimagine the Straps

If your top is prone to sagging or is so tight your boobs squeeze out into your armpits, start by altering your swimsuit straps.

Shortening the straps is simple with a sewing machine.

If sewing sounds worse than having your top fall off, try snipping the straps off the back side, trimming them to the desired length, and using them as a halter tie around the neck.

Although going shorter is easier, you can absolutely add length to your shoulder straps if you have basic sewing skills.

Flip Around Your Bikini Top and Bottom

Just flip that bad boy triangle bikini right around to give a whole new flair to your look.

Of course, some swimsuits are made to be reversible, but even those that are not can make for some cool swimsuit combinations you may not have thought of!

Turn Your One-Piece Into a High-Waisted Bikini Bottom

You adore the pattern of your one piece, but are ready to embrace the glamour of a high-waisted bikini bottom.

Make the new old and the old new by using your favorite suit to create your retro bottoms. This DIY tutorial will walk you through the steps.

Pair with a darling bikini top and wait for the praise to roll in.

Make Your Behind a Bit Cheekier

A few simple stitches will create a playful ruching up the back of your bikini bottom.

This move defines your buns and looks hot, hot, hot. And it's so easy all you need is the emergency travel needle and thread kit they give you at hotels.

Bedazzle Using Sequins, Lace, or Flowers

Go ahead, make your boring old swim suit fit for the strip club. It's gonna be fun as hell to wear and pretty soon all the ladies at the country club are gonna be sewing on their own golden appliqués.

Dip Dye for a Cool, Ombre or Tie-Dye Look

Use a simple dip dying technique to breathe new style into a faded color or look. Just be sure to use waterproof dye!

While they aren't the traditional options for recycling, there are many ways to recycle swimwear and give your suits a new role in your life or in someone else's. 

Not only that, but you are clearing out your closet or dresser for you to put a new suit in that will last you for several years and give you new memories to think back on and remember.

FAQs About Swimwear

What is a female swimsuit called?

A bikini is a women's two-piece swimsuit featuring two triangles of fabric on top that cover the woman's breasts, and two triangles of fabric on the bottom: the front covering the pelvis but exposing the navel, and the back covering the buttocks.

What Different Types of Swimsuits?

From the modest one-pieces of the 1920s to the advent of the bikini in the 1940s, women's swimsuits have evolved dramatically. And fortunately, they're a lot more flattering than they used to be. 

Swimsuit tops

  • Bandeau
  • One-shoulder
  • Halter
  • Triangle
  • Longline
  • Tankini
  • Bandini
  • Rashguard

Swimsuit bottoms

  • High-waist swimsuit bottom
  • High waist
  • High cut
  • Skirt
  • Hipster
  • Boyshorts
  • Classic brief
  • Cheeky
  • Side-tie
  • Thong

One-piece swimsuits

  • Classic one-piece
  • One-shoulder
  • Plunge neckline
  • Skirted
  • Ruched
  • Bandeau
  • Cut-out
  • One-piece rashguard

How Do We Wear Swimwear?


Similar to a standard tube top, a bandeau is typically made from one piece of fabric that wraps snugly around your chest.

Some do provide underwire support, but this style is usually more comfortable for those who are less busty, including rectangle and pear body shapes.


This asymmetrical style adds flair to an otherwise straightforward bikini. It generally provides more support than the bandeau, but still may not be enough for some.

Because it draws attention to the upper body, it's especially flattering on pear shapes.



Halter tops come in various cuts but are always secured around the neck with ties or a clasp.

This allows for greater breast support and often translates to more coverage, which makes the style a great option for hourglass and apple body shapes.


The triangle bikini top—nicknamed the "trikini"—gets its name from the two triangle-shaped pieces of fabric that cover each breast.

It's arguably the classic silhouette that comes to mind when you hear the word bikini and is flattering on almost all body shapes.


If maximum breast support is your end goal, a bikini top with underwire is the way to go.

This swimsuit style mimics traditional bras in silhouette, and many can even be purchased according to your cup size.


A longline bikini top is named for its slightly longer length compared to other options.

Think of it as the swimwear version of the crop top. Not only does it offer an unexpected twist on the traditional bikini, but it also provides a little more coverage and often more support.

It's a flattering choice for all figures, but especially pear and rectangle shapes who want to draw the eye up.


The tankini provides a flattering middle ground between a traditional bikini top and one-piece swimsuit.

Some extend all the way to your bikini bottoms to give the illusion of a one-piece, while others are slightly shorter.

This style works brilliantly for those who want to conceal their stomach but prefer the flexibility of a two-piece.


Remove the straps from a tankini and you'll get the bandini, a style that allows the wearer to show just a little more skin.

Some bandinis have built-in support underneath, which is the way to go if you're an apple, hourglass, or inverted triangle shape.


While there are no hard and fast rules in swimwear, rashguard swimsuit tops are typically reserved for athletic water adventures such as paddleboarding, kayaking, or surfing.

But because many feature long sleeves (though some are three-quarter or short sleeve) they're a great way to protect your upper body from the sun.

High waist

High-waist swimsuit bottoms sit higher on your abdomen than traditional bikini bottoms.

Some hit right at the belly button or above it, and some even go as high as just under your bust.

This style is flattering on all body types, but can be especially flattering on hourglass and apple figures since it highlights the smallest part of your waist.

High cut

Not to be confused with a high waist, the high-cut bikini gets its name for how high it sits on your hip bones. This silhouette dramatically elongates the leg, which is flattering to all shapes but particularly so on petite figures.


Cleverly dubbed the "skirtini," this bikini bottom features an extended layer of fabric akin to a skirt.

This extra fabric is typically loose and much shorter than a traditional skirt, though you can find it in a variety of lengths and styles.

It's a great option for those who want more coverage around their butt and thighs.


As the name implies, hipster bikini bottoms feature a wide band that sits right on your hips.

They provide medium coverage across your backside and can either cut across your abdomen or feature a scoop design that shows more skin. It's ideal for hourglass, inverted triangle, and rectangle shapes.


Take a pair of traditional shorts and make them shorter and more form-fitting, and you'll get the boyshort bikini bottom.

Some feature higher waists compared to others, but typically they cut off at the upper thigh. This style is very flattering on rectangle shapes. They can also come in handy for water sports since they provide extra coverage.

Classic brief

This straightforward bikini bottom provides plenty of coverage across your backside without any of the extra fabric.

It's a classic, universally flattering silhouette that pairs with almost any top.


Cheeky bikini bottoms are very similar to the hipster, only they reveal a bit more skin at the front and back.

This effect can help elongate your legs, making it ideal for petite body shapes. It's also a great option if you want to show off your backside.


Also known as a "string bikini," this style simply refers to the ties used to secure the suit. It's available in various degrees of coverage and allows the wearer to adjust tightness and size. This flexibility makes it perfect for all body shapes.


Sometimes referred to as a Brazilian style swimsuit bottom, the thong features a narrow band of vertical fabric that covers a small portion of your butt.

It's preferred by those who want to show off their backside, but also comes in handy if you want to prevent tan lines.

The extreme version of this is a G-string bikini.

Classic one-piece

Also called a "sports suit," the classic one-piece is a straightforward swimsuit with coverage across the midsection and backside and two straps. It's a great go-to for all body shapes.


A one-shoulder suit provides an unexpected twist with the removal of one shoulder.

This asymmetry draws the eyes up top, making it particularly flattering on pear shapes.

Plunge neckline

A plunging neckline provides a flattering and unexpected juxtaposition of modest and sexy.

The style can be especially flattering on hourglass shapes, but it's a great way to show off cleavage in general.


Skirted one-piece suits add an additional, skirt-like layer of fabric to a traditional one piece style.

This extra coverage is ideal for those who want to conceal their butt or thighs, and it can also help create more symmetry for inverted triangle figures.


This term refers to the technique of gathering fabric for a ruffled or pleated look.

Not only does this add a textural element to a swimsuit, but it also has a flattering and slimming effect. Typically, ruching is found on the front mid-section or sides of a one-piece suit.


Similar to the bandeau tankini, a bandeau one-piece is a strapless swimsuit that provides full torso and backside coverage.

Though it's flattering on all figures, it's especially ideal for rectangle and pear shapes who aren't as concerned with breast support.


If a traditional bikini feels too revealing, a one-piece with flattering and eye-catching cutouts might be more your speed.

The variety of styles allows you to choose a suit that covers and shows off preferred areas.

For instance, maybe the cutout falls on the abdomen, at the chest, or on the sides. Some cut-out suits also feature mesh or netting for more coverage.

One-piece rashguard

Sometimes referred to as a surf suit or wetsuit, this one-piece rash guard is ideal for wet athletic scenarios.

Many have long sleeves, mock turtlenecks, and full boyshorts to provide max protection from the sun and to prevent chafing from equipment such as surfboards, paddleboards, and scuba gear.

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