My lovely white swimsuits are turning yellow! I swim for an hour three times a week at the Y (in what they call an ozone-purified swimming pool) and I rotate between two suits, one that's white with black polka dots and another that's mostly blue with white detailing and both of them are slowly yellowing. Right now it's mostly on the inside around the bust and pits but I'm afraid it's going to start becoming noticeable! I wash them (like once a month, that's probably gross I know) in the machine on cold with regular liquid detergent and hang them to dry. What can I do? Should I be washing them some other way? More often?
There are fer sure things you can do, but first: cuuuuute suits. Let's take a moment to girl out over our favorite swimsuits while we're here, shall we? (Do you need to cry? Because I will hold you if you need to cry.) I had great luck last year with Boden's swimsuits and I am entirely made up of middle. So for the other apples out there, maybe check into that? Also: where are the bustier among you finding (especially DD-and-above) cup-sized suits? Share among yourselves as a gift to one another please and thank you.
Okay but back to those yellowing suits! There are things you can do, as I promised, and also a few basic care instructions you'll want to bear in mind. And actually, let's start with those basic care instructions and move into triage once those are out of the way.
Bullet points? Do you want some bullets up in here? Yes:
- Always rinse your suit out post-swim.
- When laundering your suits, hand washing is best but machine washing on cold is also A-OK. Because I am a realist. It's not a bad idea, though, to get your hands on one of those mesh zippie bags. That will help to keep the suits from tangling up on your other clothes, which can cause them to stretch out.
- Use a gentle detergent, which will help to keep the suit's form and elasticity in tippy-top shape.
- Never use bleach on a swimsuit.
- Never wring the suit out. Press down on it, or press it between your hands, rather than twisting it to get water out — wringing a suit isn't good for the material.
- Always air dry your bathing suits (the good news here is that they're designed to be fast drying).
- Always lie 'em flat to dry. Either on a towel or a drying rack; This will also help to keep the suit from stretching out.
All of those things are designed to respect the delicate ecosystem of your swimsuit. Now, if that's not a thing you care about by all means ignore those instructions and do whatever you want, cleaning-wise. But bathing suits are expensive and, more to-the-point, excruciating to purchase. What with all the trying on in florescent-lit dressing rooms with three-way mirrors and such. So extending their lifespan as long as possible is a thing I think we can all get behind!
Back to that yellowing swimsuit. The thing that's happened to your suit is that there's been some chlorine damage (those ozone-purified pools do have chlorine in them, just less of it) and also a buildup of skin and body oils and sweat, and that's caused the yellowing. There are three main things you should do to reverse the yellowing and to prevent it from getting worse.
The first is to rinse the suit out after every swim — here we can take a page from our bra washing routine and rinse that suit right there in the shower as we're rinsing ourselves. You'll want to be sure to rinse out both the inside and the outside of the suit to rid it of both chlorine and the oils and such from your body.