How to Clean Swimwear and Water Sports Gear

Swim wear care
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While water sports are a year-round activity for some, the start of summer signals swimwear season for most of us. Most of the gear for water play, from swimsuits to wetsuits to life jackets, can be quite expensive, and you'll want to care for it correctly so it will last longer and look good all season.

Swimsuits, rash guards, wetsuits and life jackets are usually made of synthetic fabrics that require special care to remove chlorine odor, prevent and remove dye bleeding, preserve the stretch for best fit and maintain the safety qualities that we need.

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    Swim Suits

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    Most swimwear–for men and women–is constructed from synthetic fibers that promise to hold their shape and dry quickly. Of course, part of the promise lies in how you treat that swim wear.

    If you are a competitive swimmer and in the water every day, you know that the key to making your suit last is rinsing out the chlorine of pool water as soon as possible. The same rule applies to the casual swimmer. The swim suit should be rinsed with cool, clear water immediately after leaving the pool and then washed in a gentle detergent as soon as possible. If there is excessive chlorine odor, there are products, like Summer Solutions, that use sodium-based chemicals to neutralize the chlorine and help prevent the build-up of odor.

    Beyond the routine care of swim wear, there are some troublesome stains and issues that are common to summertime wear. If you discover that the dye used in your swimsuit has bled, or perhaps your beach towel or jeans bled on a wet suit, it's time to reach for the oxygen bleach. 

    Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and cool water. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Submerge the stained suit and allow it to soak for at least eight hours. Check your suit after the surpassed time, and if the dye stains are gone, hand wash as usual. If they remain, mix a fresh batch of oxygen bleach solution and soak for another eight hours before washing.

    This same technique will improve the look of a yellowing white swimsuit. NEVER use chlorine bleach on swimwear made of synthetic fabrics! It will cause irreversible damage.

    If you end up with sunscreen or self-tanner stains on swimwear, you will need to do extra work to treat the stains.

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    Swim Shirts and Rash Guards

    Swim shirts
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    Swim shirts are perfect for children and for those you have extremely fair skin and spend a lot of time outside. By wearing the shirt, time in the sun can be safely extended. Surfers and those who spend a great deal of time in salt water find rash guard shirts and pants make the sport more comfortable.

    Since these are form-fitting garments usually made from spandex fibers, it is important to follow the proper care instructions to keep them fitting correctly and lasting for the season.

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    wet suit
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    Wetsuit care is not like your everyday laundry or even the same as other swimwear. Wetsuits are a costly investment and you want them to last as long as possible.

    If you're a frequent wearer of a wetsuit, you know how important it is to keep the fabric hole- and snag-free. Care must be taken when putting on the suit and when you store it. Learn all the correct procedures and you'll be an underwater and above water master of wetsuit care.

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    Life Jackets and Preservers

    Life jacket boat
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    Most of us spend our time on the water with friends and family. These people are the most important part of our lives and keeping them safe is always a priority. While soiled life preservers can still save a life, why take the risk? Soiled life jackets often have weakened fibers and straps that can reduce the buoyancy and threaten the effectiveness of the preserver.

    Learning how to care for personal flotation devices correctly can actually be the difference between a life and death laundry routine.