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How to Care for Your Favorite Swimwear So It Lasts

In today's disposable society, it's good to know that with proper care you can make your swimsuit last well after summer ends. 

According to a recent survey by the NPD Group, the average woman owns four bathing suits and more than half say that the average lifespan of their swim suits is one season. Similarly, the majority of swimwear designers report that the average life of a swimsuit is typically 30 wearings. However, wearing your suit an average of once a week during the summer means it should last you two summers based on how often you wear it and how well it is cared for. Of course, no suit will last forever, but there are a few simple things you can do to insure the life of your bathing suits: 

Brand Name and Reputation - brand names are important when it comes to swimwear. Well-known brands such as La Blanca, Miraclesuit and Kenneth Cole have been on the market for years, and are a testament to the quality of their swim suits and the popularity of their designs. Reputation is important as well, so be sure to do your research on the brands you like and read customer reviews to see what other buyers have to say. It stands to reason that a well-made suit from a reliable company is sure to last longer and wear better. 

Function - understanding how you will wear your suit can also help improve its lifespan. Choose your swimwear based on your expected level of activity and comfort. If you are tanning versus participating in water sports, your fabric and protection needs will vary. 

Fabrics - the material your bathing suit is made of is particularly important in the use and life of your suit. Most swimsuits today are made of synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon and Lycra or Spandex. These fabrics are comfortable, keep their shape and are quick drying. 100% cotton suits have gained in popularity as some consumers move away from synthetics, but these suits tend to ride up and fray easily. Cotton also does not stand up to the destructive nature of pool chemicals or the sun. Some newer suits offer micro fibers that are thinner, yet stronger, than traditional fabrics. Remember that stretch fabrics such as Spandex are considered memory fabrics. It is best to rotate your swimsuits to give them time to bounce back into their original shape between uses.

Style and Fit - good fit can extend the life of your suit, as well. Make sure your bathing suits conform to your body shape without sagging or pulling. Look for designs with adjustable straps for even better fit options. A classic style also adds to the longevity of a swim suit because it is less likely to go out of fashion year to year. It's best to avoid the trend of the moment and invest in a classic silhouette instead. 

Making Your Suit Last - be aware of the harmful effects of chemicals. The chlorine found in pools has harsh effects on swimwear. Similarly, chemicals used in hot tubs also create a hostile environment for swimwear. Salt water, too, will have a negative effect on the fabric of your bathing suit over time. To lengthen the life of your suit, choose a fabric that is treated for chlorine resistance. Then be sure to rinse off after exiting the pool or ocean. Try not to let the sun dry your un-rinsed suit. This after swim/before sun rise is also better for your skin and hair, especially if your hair is chemically color treated. Strong sunlight can fade your suit, so be sure to pick a suit that offers UV and UVA protection. Gunite pools and wooden lawn furniture are notorious for snagging suits -- resulting in a kind of pilling that makes any suit look tired and worn out. Be careful when swimming in a cement pool and rise slowly from any wooden bench or lounge chair.

Washing machines are especially degenerative to swimwear as the rigors of the washing and spinning cycles can wreak havoc on the construction of the padding, ties, etc.  Always hand wash your suit using gentle soap in cool water, wring it out gently and lay it flat to dry. Avoid trying to wring out every last drop of moisture; doing so may help it dry faster, but you also run the risk of stretching it out. A better technique is laying your suit on a plush towel and gently squeezing it as you roll it up. Other no-no's when it comes to maintaining your swimwear: no dry cleaning, no ironing and no bleach. 

With just a few simple precautions you can ensure the longevity and enjoyment of your swimwear!