Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Taking care of your swimsuit

Treat your suit like your skin. After swimming in the brine of your choice (chlorine, bromine, or salt water) you MUST completely rinse out your suit, to remover tiny chemical particles that will degrade the fibers over time.

Rinse immediately after use. Don’t wait. Don’t store a wet suit in a towel, a plastic bag, a gym bag. Heat is the enemy.

For rinsing use clear, tepid water, and if you must, only small amounts of mild SOAP not detergents. Hand soap is fine or Suit Solutions.

Make your routine easy. Some people keep their suit on in the shower, run soap all over it, rinse while wearing, then rinse again as they take it off. Others use the strip-and-toss-in-the-basin method. Do it as you step into the shower, wring it out as you step out. Easy.

To dry, simply hand wring. Do NOT twist in a towel or use one of those suit spinners. Do NOT wash your suit in a washing machine.

Line drying is OK, but with larger suits, they may sag with the weight of the remaining water, stretching the fibers. You’ll want to flat dry instead on a lingerie rack or towel. Be sure it is in a cool location and out of the sun.

Let your suit completely dry before using again, up to 24 hours. Everyday swimmers rotate two suits for the longest life.

Other comments on suit care:

Don’t try so hard! Some people think more is better. Not true. Your suit has already been in bacteria-killing water. All you really need to do is to rinse off those chemicals so they don’t degrade the fabric. Rinsing is the answer.

Don’t use detergent or Woolite. One is too harsh, the other has lanolin that may shorten the life of stretch fibers. If you like using more than mild soap, use a cleaner like Suit Solutions, that is specially formulated to neutralize the chemicals your suit will encounter.

If your suit smells, consider possible reasons: Do you rinse right after swimming? Are you putting a suit into a hot car inside your gym bag?

Properly regulated pools should not smell. Regulating pools and spas is complicated, so if your suit smells even after extensive rinsing, talk to your pool manager.

Buy a suit that fits. Excess stretch will shorten the life of your suit.

Watch where you sit! Poolside’s can pill your suit bottom, shortening its life.

Sun and skin creams are terrible on suits. Rinse off as quickly as possible. Better yet, wear a fantastic looking UV cover-up and a wonderful huge sun hat with those glamorous big dark sunglasses. People will wonder who that celebrity is!

Buy a new suit BEFORE the old one completely dies. It’s great for the really hot spa that will hurt your new suit.

Always pack a swimsuit! You won’t want to miss out if your hotel has a fabulous spa or you are invited at the last minute to go snorkeling. Enjoy!

-Anne Kelly

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