How To Look After Your Eco-Friendly Swimwear?
People have been buying eco-friendly swimwear for a while now because they're not only good for the environment but also look great.
However, if you want to keep your new purchase looking its best, there are some steps you should take.
How To Take Care Of Swimwear
The most sustainable bikinis and bathing suits are the ones that last for years! To make sure they will stay with you for a long time, you need to take care of swimwear properly, but how do we do this?
Herewith are my top tips for caring for your swimwear.
Hand Wash In Cold Soapy Water
It's best to wash your swimwear right after you've used them, even if you used it just for sunbathing. Chlorine is going in for the kill.
Threads can get weaker, and colours may fade! Also, sunblock and other body's oils can damage your swimwear. Mineral-based lotions and oil formulations are said to be particularly adept at causing yellowing and gradual stains.
Rinse your swimwear in cold water.
Never use hot water for your swimwear, as this will damage the fabric. Instead, use mild hand soap or a delicate detergent.
Whenever you want to use the washing machine, use a Guppyfriend Bag to catch microfibres.
Lay Flat Out To Dry, Out Of Direct Sunlight
Although you might love to wring out your swimwear, don't do it! Instead, roll it tightly in a towel for a few seconds to take out most water.
Afterwards, lay it flat to dry – don't hang the pieces! Also, make sure you do this out of direct sunlight as this can fade out the colour.
Switch Em Up
Elastane needs time to recover. It takes time for your swimsuit to get back in shape (just like we need some time to get back in shape).
Switching your swimwear on your holidays will help your swimwear to retain its shape.
Watch Out For Mold
To avoid moisture building in garments, it is important to keep your dry swimwear in a dry place, with frequent airflow and ventilation.
Also, avoid storing your wet swimwear in your towel for a longer period.
Don't Sit On It
Sitting on wood or other rough materials can snag and tear the fabric, which would be a pity. Also, be careful with sand and dirt, as these can be abrasive.
Recycled Swimwear FAQs
How Do I Keep My Swimsuit In Good Condition?
To keep your swimsuit in tip-top shape, also be mindful to avoid these don'ts:
- Don't soak a swimsuit overnight. This can loosen fibres.
- Don't let a swimsuit dry directly in the sun. This may cause fading.
- Don't put a swimsuit in the dryer. The heat weakens the elasticity of the spandex. This is the same reason why you shouldn't wear your favourite bikini in a Jacuzzi.
- Don't hang a swimsuit on a metal rod to dry. Hanging can alter the garment's shape, while the metal rod could leave a rust mark that's impossible to get out.
- Don't sit on rough surfaces while wearing a swimsuit. The concrete beside the pool or wood from the lounge chairs may snag the swimsuit material. Always lay down a towel before you sit.
Should You Wash Your Swimsuit After Every Use?
Ensure to wash your swimsuit after each wear—even if you don't go in the water.
Chlorine is harsher on swimwear fabrics than fresh and saltwater and can leave bright colours especially susceptible to fading. But don't throw your swimsuit in the washing machine or use just any old detergent.
How Often Should You Wash A Swimsuit?
Answer: every three to five years
Most bathing suit designers and manufacturers recommend letting the bathing suit air dry and washing only every three to five years.
To prolong the life of your swimsuit (and keep your bits healthy and happy), use your usual detergent to hand wash your swimsuits.
Is It Okay To Re-Wear A Wet Swimsuit?
Nope! Putting a bathing suit back on while it's still wet is not only bad for your health But also for your swimwear.
Bacteria thrive in wet environments. So, according to HGTV magazine, even if you rinse out that suit, you're at risk of developing an infectious rash.
How Long Should A Swimsuit Last?
A general rule of thumb is that a swimsuit should last somewhere between three months to a year. Ultimately though, you are the only one who determines how long a swimsuit should last.
Other Things You Can Do To Look After Your Swimwear
Helping our garments live the longest possible life is a fantastic way we can reduce our impact.
So, whether your swimsuit is made from recycled fabrics or not, here are some key tips for taking care of it:
- Remove saltwater and chlorine as soon as possible after use by rinsing in water before you head home.
- Gently hand wash your swimsuit in cold water without too much scrubbing. Hot water will damage the fabrics.
- Line dry your swimsuit in the shade (to minimize fading), or better still, lay your swimsuit out on a flat surface to save it from stretching.
We can also do a few things that will help reduce the risk of microfibres from our swimsuits.
Microfibres are tiny fibres that are released from synthetic or plastic fabrics when they are washed.
So every time you wash your clothes, hundreds of thousands of microfibers can be released.
Smart Ways To Extend The Life Of Your Swimsuit
Ensure to wash your swimsuit after every wear—even if you don't go in the water. "Sunscreens contain ingredients that can be damaging to the fabric and can lead to the eventual breakdown of the material," says Marysia Reeves, designer of Marysia Swim (marysiaswim.com).
To top it off, some SPFs are more detrimental than others, warns Lindsey J. Boyd, co-founder of the all-natural detergent line, The Laundress. For example, mineral-based lotions and oil formulations can cause yellowing or gradual stains over time if swimsuits are not washed properly.
Another reason to be meticulous about washing your suit, particularly if you're taking a dip in the pool?
Chlorine is harsher on swimwear fabrics than fresh and saltwater and can leave bright colours especially susceptible to fading.
But don't throw your swimsuit in the washing machine or use just any old detergent.
For best results, wash your swimsuit by hand and use a detergent specifically designed for delicate or high spandex-content fabrics, protecting the fabric's colours and safely eliminating oils and chemicals without damaging the fine fibres.
Boyd also swears by white vinegar in a pinch for its deodorizing and antibacterial properties instead of detergent.
If you're away from home and don't have detergent or vinegar readily available, Reeves suggests rinsing the swimsuit in fresh water at the very least. As for men's swim, trunks are durable enough to be machine washed because they contain less spandex.
How you hand wash your swimsuit makes a big difference, too.
Start by filling your sink with cold water and add one capful of mild detergent or white vinegar. Let the swimsuit soak in the solution for up to 30 minutes, and then rinse with cool water.
To dry, gently roll your suit in a clean, dry towel, lightly pressing to remove the excess water. While it may be tempting, you should never wring out your swimsuit, as doing so may damage the spandex fibres. When you're finished, lay the suit flat to dry.
This Is How You Should Care For Your Swimwear
By now, it's a pretty widely known fact that we need to tone down our consumption of fashion—and tone it down, stat. But, we understand that that's easier said than done.
To curb the amount we shop, we also need to make sure that the clothing we already have lasts more than a couple of wears so that there isn't a "need" for us to shop for more continuously.
Sure, ditching fast fashion for higher quality pieces is a good place to start, but life expectancy also has a lot to do with how we care for it.
Properly caring for the clothing already in our closets (and making sure we do so in an eco-conscious manner) will not only extend the life of a piece but can save our dear planet from tons of environmental damage.
And while this applies to all kinds of clothing—from our everyday T-shirts down to our party heels—considering that summer officially kicks off tomorrow, let's take a moment to focus on our swimwear.
Swimsuits are easily some of the most thoughtlessly disposed of pieces in our wardrobes—and subject to the harshest conditions and the most wear and tear; it's pretty common for us to kick off each summer with a brand-new bikini, throwing away whatever we wore to the beach and into the pool the previous summer.
But in addition to crowding landfills every time we decide to toss last year's faded suit for a new one, not caring for our swimwear properly can also threaten our environment.
How To Wash And Dry Your Swimwear
As with all clothes, the way you wash and dry your swimsuit will determine its life expectancy.
Experts agree that you should never wash your suit in a washing machine, and for many reasons.
Your swimsuit should never see the inside of a washing machine and should only be hand-washed in cold water.
Soaking first with a natural soap for your body or delicates for five to 10 minutes will help break down oils and creams without agitation.
Every time you wear your swimsuit, regardless if you took a dip or not, you should be rinsing. Even body oil can break down the stretch of fibres over time.
Just like you shouldn't use a washing machine, you also shouldn't throw it into the dryer. Rather, let it air dry after you wash—being mindful of placement.
Always dry in the shade, rather than direct sunlight, to stop the swimwear from fading.
While hanging up a suit to air dry might seem like the obvious solution to speed up the process, make sure the suit is drying while laying flat to avoid stretching its shape. Also, make sure the suit is completely dry before storing it away; otherwise, it can mildew.
Ensuring that you're washing and drying your suit properly isn't just crucial to the piece's life, but it also helps prevent the spread of microplastics into our waterways.
Unfortunately, when you wash anything made from synthetics, it sheds microfibers that can be pollutants if they wind up in the ocean, even if it's recycled.
These microplastics are introduced into our environment mostly by washing machines that are too harsh on the clothing, causing the fibres to break down into microplastics.
On top of that, the extremely high heat and abrasion of machine dryers can further accelerate the breakdown of your garment's fibres and blow microfibers directly outside into the air.
When that degraded garment is then worn in our oceans, those destroyed fibres are released into waterways directly.
So by using the hand-washing and air-drying method, you can avoid the premature degradation of the fibres.
While throwing your swimwear in the wash is not recommended, some situations warrant a good cleaning, such as a heavy stain. If you will use the machine, use a laundry ball that catches microfibers to prevent the spread of any microplastics shed during the washing process.
The Cora Ball is a great one, and it's inspired by how coral filters the ocean and collects microfibres.
This is also great to use in your washing machine for all clothing; it captures microfibers in fuzz from your machine, making it easy to dispose of them right away.
But keep in mind, microplastics are shed even through hand-washing.
Microplastics are shed when a suit starts to break down from harsh wear and care, so wash only in cold water and by hand and never use hot water or the washing machine.
You can even go one step further and hand-wash your suit using a Guppyfriend bag that captures and reduces fibre shedding.
Give It A Break
Did you know your bathing suit needs time to rest in between uses to keep its shape?
Something that is not so obvious is that the stretch fibres need time to relax in-between uses.
For example, if you're on a beach vacation, bring multiple suits with you and wear them alternating days so that your quality suits will hold their shape for longer. If we ever needed an excuse to over-pack, it's this.
How To Dispose Of Your Old Swimwear
No matter how much we cherish and care for our swim, it's just not going to last forever.
It's a swimsuit, and there's going to be some unavoidable wear and tear over time—so what do you do when it's time to retire it finally?
Well, first things first, do not just throw it away where it will end up in a landfill for all of eternity. Instead, consider the below options.
Organize A Swap With Friends
If your swimsuit isn't in rough shape, but you've moved on from it, experts suggest organizing a clothing swap with friends.
That red polka dot bikini might not suit your style anymore, but it could be your best friend's new favourite, thus giving it a second life.
Donate It To Charity Or Recycle It
Again, if the suit is wearable, its life cycle doesn't need to end here. You can donate your suit to charity, but it might take a bit of research.
Not all recycling points accept swimwear, so plan and do minimal research when donating—most information on what is and isn't accepted as a donation can be found online.
A great organization called Donate Your Bra For A Cause accepts lingerie and swimwear to help support breast cancer and domestic abuse survivors.
It can be hard to determine whether or not a bathing suit can be reused or even recycled, so experts suggest sending your old suit to an organization.
They are textile experts and will determine if the swimsuit can be reused, recycled, or down-cycled. If it must be disposed of, they'll do so in the best possible way."
Just because you don't want to wear your swimsuit anymore doesn't mean it can't become something else.
Experts suggest repurposing it. Try Pinterest for ideas. There are so many ways you can get creative and alter the style to make something fun and fresh with the fabric.
Caring properly for your swimwear, underwear, clothing, or any other garment is about more than just making sure it lasts.
It's about toning down future consumption and protecting our planet from further environmental damage.
Know that taking the time to care for your clothes in a way that extends its life or prevents pollution is equally as important as shopping sustainably—and even the tiniest steps count, as explained below:
Voting your dollar drives the change, but it's important to note that being a conscious consumer doesn't stop buying from ethical companies. Equally vital is how these products are cared for after they leave the shop.
Know that sustainability is something to work toward, and the path in our modern world is not perfect or clear-cut, but you can start by being informed and doing better.
Like purchasing a microfiber filter for your washing machine, small things can make a difference on a large scale.
So the next time you get back from a day at the pool or a trip to the beach, think twice before tossing your suit in the washing machine and give it the TLC it deserves.