Do you know how to look after your new bathing suit? Photo by Newtown Grafitti.

A summer vacation is a great excuse to invest in a new swimsuit – but since a bathing suit or bikini that flatters isn’t easy to find, you want to ensure you take care of it properly so that it lasts.

Ironically, it seems that all the things that swimsuits are exposed to – chlorine, salt, sunscreen, heat and water – are the very things that can destroy them. But taking care of your swimwear isn’t hard if you know how.

Tips to keep your swimsuit looking as good as new

1. Watch where you sit. It might be fun to sit by the edge of a pool and dip your feet into the water, but take note of the surface you’re sitting on. The area around a pool is often textured and gritty to prevent people from slipping – but this means that the bottom of your swimsuit could catch and end up pilling. Sit on a towel to be safe.

2. Rinse your swimwear immediately after every use. Chlorine, salt, and sunscreen can fade, discolor or weaken the fabric of your swimming costume, so it’s important to rinse it out as soon as possible after each wear.

3. But don’t let your bathing suit soak. I learned this lesson the hard way after leaving my [favorite] swimsuit to soak for a few hours before I got around to washing it – when I came back to finish the job, I found all the colors on the swimming costume had bled into each other. I’d never have guessed this could happen (I had a high quality cossie and I figured they were designed to be in water!) but what do you know.

4. Wash your swimwear in cold water. Hot water can break down the lycra or spandex content in your swimsuit which will eventually cause it to stretch out and lose its shape – so don’t just toss it into the washing machine or hop into a hot shower while you’re wearing it. Instead, gently hand wash your swimsuit in cold or lukewarm water using a mild detergent then lay it flat to dry (don’t wring it out!). Be sure to dry the swimsuit indoors or in the shade – you want to avoid direct sunlight since UV rays can cause the fabric to fade and deteriorate.

5. Beware of hot tubs. Taking into account the previous point about hot water, it follows that hot tubs also pose a risk to your swimwear. If you plan on spending time in hot tubs or jacuzzis, you may want to pack an older/cheaper bathing suit that you wouldn’t be heartbroken to see ruined.

One final tidbit that I thought I’d throw out there is something I’ve heard about pre-treating your swimsuit. Apparently, if you soak your brand new swimsuit in a sink full of water with a dash of white vinegar for about 30 minutes (and then rinse it out) it’ll help seal the colors and keep your bathing suit looking brighter for longer. I haven’t tried this myself since I’m terrified of soaking swimsuits (see above!) but I’m really curious to hear if anyone has had success with this technique. Please weigh in below!

Do you know any other tricks for keeping your swimwear in tip top shape?