Swimsuit Care in the Tropics

Panama can be hard on swimwear. From the constant sun and strong pool chemicals to the salt, sand and lotions, you will need to wash and dry swimwear in an effective way if it is going to last. Here are some ways to make you suit last more than a season in the tropics: 

Rinse your Swimsuit as Soon as Possible 

After a nice swim in the Pacific ocean, a cool dip in the pool, or walk on the beach try and rince your suit as soon as possible in cool water.  If you have time to allow the suit to soak for 30 minutes, this will remove most of the chemicals, sand and lotions that can have a negative effect on the fabric. Perspiration and body oils can also damage the suit affecting the elasticity of the fibers which can cause them to stretch. So keep in mind a rinse is a good idea even if you haven’t been in the water. 

Hand Wash your Swimsuit

After rinsing out the suit, try hand washing it instead of tossing it in with the rest of the laundry load.  A wash with soap is necessary to remove all the salt or chlorine from your swimsuit. Fill the sink with cool water and add just a tablespoon or less of liquid detergent. Try washing your swimsuit inside out to keep patterns and colors vibrant and rather than wringing it out gently, squeeze the water out of the fabric.

Drying your Swimsuit 

Never toss your swimwear in the dryer! The optimal drying location for you swimsuit is a flat surface out of direct sunlight. The UV rays from the sun can fade and break down the fibers in your suit. 

Here are some additional tips to making you swimwear last longer in the tropics:

  • Alternate swimsuits. Rest time will help the Lycra/spandex yarn go back to it’s original shape.
  • Before going into the pool, rinse, the fibers of your suit will have absorbed the fresh water and repel the chlorinated pool water. 
  • Watch where you sit. Most pool sides and decks are rough surfaces made of anti-slip paint or tile. This will pull at the fibers of your suit, even if the surface doesn't seem rough to the touch.  Sit or lay on a towel.
  • Skip the hot tub. Or if possible, wear an older suit in a hot tub that you won't mind losing. For frequent hot tub use, choose a suit that is 100 percent polyester or chlorine resistant which will last longer.