Taking Care of Your Swim Gear

The right swim gear makes it a joy to jump in the water lesson after lesson. And while most swim equipment is fairly low-maintenance, by following a few simple guidelines, you can extend its lifespan and keep it in tip-top shape.
Here are a few tips from our instructors on how to take great care of your swim gear.

When you find a swimsuit for your kid that works (one that fits, is a color your kid loves, looks good) you want it to last as long as possible – or at least until your kid grows out of it. If you use a few simple care tips, you can get a little more out of that suit. 

Chlorine can take a toll on fabric over time, so it’s important to wash swimsuits carefully after every use. Use these care tips to extend the suit’s life.

Don’t throw swimsuits in with the rest of the laundry in the washer and dryer! Harsh detergents and heat can cause swimsuits to stretch or fade prematurely. Instead:
• Rinse the swimsuit in cool fresh water immediately after getting out of the pool.
• When you get home, soak the swimsuit in cold water with a spoonful of mild detergent (designed for delicate or high-spandex content fabrics) or plain white vinegar.
• After 15 to 30 minutes, rinse the swimsuit with cool water until the water runs clear.
• Gently squeeze out excess water, and let the swimsuit dry flat; avoid letting it dry in direct sunlight (which can lead to fading). Don’t wring the suit as doing so can damage spandex fibers.
• Allow it to dry for 24 hours before wearing again.
• Also, be careful about other factors that can damage a swimsuit: for example, wearing it in a hot tub, or sitting or leaning on rough surfaces.

Here are some don’ts about swimsuit care that you should be mindful of, as well.
• Don’t soak a swimsuit overnight. This can loosen fibers.
• 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 favorite bikini in a Jacuzzi.
• Don’t hang a swimsuit on a metal rod to dry. Hanging can alter the shape of the garment, 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.

Men’s and boys’ suits are made of fabric containing less spandex and usually are durable enough to withstand machine washing.

Swim Caps
Sometimes finding a good swim cap for your kid is a challenge too. Extend the life of the swim cap your kid likes – easily – even though chemicals can build up on the cap. To remove chemicals that can weaken the cap’s elasticity, begin by rinsing the swim cap with fresh water. Dry it thoroughly, inside and out, before storing it; wet caps are more susceptible to grow bacteria and mold. To keep the sides of the swim cap from sticking together, store it with a small towel inside, or sprinkle with a fine layer of talcum or baby powder. If you keep this regimen up, your kids cap will last longer than one that just gets thrown in the bag.

Swim Goggles
Well-fitting goggles are ones that you want to keep. So to maintain clear, fog-free goggles for your kid that continue to fit and work properly, it’s best to handle them as little as possible. After your kid swims, rinse them in cool, fresh water, and allow them to air dry completely before storing them in a protective case so that they don’t suffer mildew damage or breakdown of the plastic and rubber. Avoid leaving the goggles in the sun or hot water, which can also damage the rubber. Don’t touch google lenses, particularly on the inside surface. This contact can leave scratches or damage the anti-fog coating on lenses. Teach your kid these care tips and the goggles they use will last them longer.

It’s a good idea to follow care tips for your kid’s gear, even if your kid goes to the pool and doesn’t get in the water. If your kid is in a place where sunscreen was used, the regimen may be more important. Ingredients in such products can be damaging to fabric and even go so far as to cause a breakdown of the material. Some SPFs are more detrimental than others, so be careful to get all of it off of anything it comes in contact with.