The Swimsuit Edition

Don't Let Fading Affect Your Fun
Friday, June 11th, 2010
swimmers
With temperatures in triple digits in the south and summer heat starting in the north, it's time to get in the pool. Your swimsuit is a key part of summer fun. What do you look for when shopping for swim wear?  My guess would be style. But if you plan to be in the pool a lot this summer, you may want to consider other attributes, such as color and fading. You don't want to buy a new suit by the end of July because your old suit lost it's vibrancy when you can buy one suit now that will last all summer. Or better, buy one suit for swimming and one made of more sustainable products for looking cute in a lounge chair.
blue Swimsuit

Polyester/ Spandex Blend Swimsuit


My years on the swim team and as a lifeguard enhance my understanding of the effects of the pool water on my swimsuit. I know the sunlight plays a part in swimsuit color fading, but what about pool water? Swimming pools use chlorine to keep the water sanitary. I was always told to rinse my suit in cold water after a day at the pool to reduce the color loss in the suit. But I began to wonder how much rinsing actually helps the material maintain its color.

 

Pink Swimsuite

Nylon/Spandex Blend Swimsuit

I did an experiment. First, I considered the characteristics of the chlorine used for sanitizing pool water, the types of materials often used for making bathing suits and manufacturer's recommended care for swimsuits. Then, I tested three swimsuit materials, all blends:  polyester/spandex, cotton/spandex and most popular, nylon/spandex. I found that the polyester/spandex blend maintained its color and vibrancy most efficiently, while the most common material used for swimsuits, the nylon/spandex blend, faded the most, but still maintained its color. The cotton/spandex blend, changed color but maintained its saturation level.

Color also matters. I only considered 3 colors, red, green and purple. I found that the red polyester/spandex blend kept its color best in the pool water solution.  In the nylon/spandex blend, the purple color changed color the least. The green color, in the cotton/spandex blend, faded the least; the amount of change was still significant. The red color in the polyester/spandex blend maintained its color-fastness throughout the length of the entire experiment, whereas the purple nylon/spandex blend and the green cotton/spandex blend did not.

other blue swimsuit

Cotton/ Spandex Blend Swimsuit

I also had to test the theory that rinsing helps keep swimsuits from fading. Based on my research, not so much. Rinsing has very few positive effects. In fact, a few colors that were rinsed actually faded more. Rinsing the polyester/spandex blends and the purple and red nylon/spandex blends helped maintain color minimally. The cotton/spandex blends and the green nylon/spandex blend actually fared worse and lost more color when rinsed.

When buying a swimsuit, consider what you will be doing all summer. If you plan to spend most of your time in pool water, purchase a red or purple polyester/spandex blend swimsuit because they maintained their color most efficiently when exposed to chlorine. For a more stylish and attractive suit, purchase one in a cotton/spandex blend, but don't wear it in the pool very often because the chlorinated water will change its color. Unfortunately, nylon/spandex blend suits are the most available on the market, but the suit color will fade in chlorinated pool water after only a few uses.

Comments

Chlorine Resistant Swimsuits

As a 3 day/week water aerobics participant, I too decided to do some research about swimsuits. Last year I Googled for Chlorine Resistant swimsuits and found only a few. However I did notice that the ones making that claim were 100% Polyester. I decided to try one (a racer back, purple with white trim) and started wearing it on June 1, 2009. Only a few times in this year did I choose to wear the identical suit in green (I was bored!!). After 1 year of nearly 150 wearings, I am happy to say my suit remains the same except for the stitching. It turned from purple to tan!! This is not a fashion suit, but very practical and now very economical as well. It is Dolfin brand and I bought it online. Also, another tidbit that I heard about is using chlorine neutrilizer that is sold in pet shops for aquariums and soak the suit in tap water plus that. I do it, but am not sure if it helps or not!!

I thought this article was so

I thought this article was so helpful! Well written Jenna!

Good info!

Ms. Mattison's article brought back wonderful memories of wearing bathing suits and sunbathing on the roof of my dorm in Austin, Texas. These days, I enjoy reading about bathing suits far more than I enjoy wearing them.
Copyright @ 2010 Good News Girlz Powered by Prosepoint