How to Keep a Bathing Suit From Fading

by Mimi Abney ; Updated September 28, 2017

Bathing suits require special care to prevent discoloration. Exposure to harsh chemicals found in swimming pools can cause your beloved swimwear to fade. Throwing a bikini into the washing machine after frequent wear can also cause loss of color.

Items you will need

  • Small tub or sink
  • Gentle soap or detergent made specifically for swimwear
  • Warm water
  • Towels
  • Flat surface to lay your swimsuit
  • A cool place to air-dry your swimsuit
Step 1

Read the bathing suit’s recommendations for washing and and wash your swimsuit accordingly.

Step 2

Rinse your bathing suit in cold water after each wearing. If you have traveled to the beach or taken a dip in your backyard pool, your suit will be filled with sand or harsh chemicals. Rinse your swimsuit in cold water to loosen the debris and dilute the chemical mixture.

Step 3

Mix swimsuit-friendly detergent and cold water in a basin. After rinsing your swimsuit thoroughly, place it in a mixture of water and mild detergent. If using a mild detergent like Dove, add one teaspoon of soap to each gallon of water used. Heavy use of mild detergent without diluting the cleansing agent with water could cause your bathing suit to fade.

Step 4

Wash your suit gently. Swirl your bathing suit around the small tub to start the washing process. Be careful not to wring or stretch your suit during cleaning. Letting your suit soak in the sudsy water for an extended period of time could cause fading. Remove the suit immediately from the soapy water when it is clean and odor free.

Step 5

Rinse the bathing suit in cold water only. After giving your swimwear a thorough cleansing in the soapy mixture, rinse your bathing suit in cold water. The low temperature of the water will not cause your bathing suit to fade. A thorough rinsing also removes any traces of soap and residue from the previous step.

Step 6

Gently remove water from the bathing suit. No wringing allowed. If necessary use a towel to tenderly squeeze the water from the suit. A simple spin in your washer to remove the water is strongly discouraged. Spinning your swimsuit in the spin cycle of your washer can stretch the fabric beyond repair.

Step 7

Lay the suit down flat on a towel on a cool, flat surface to dry. Do not place your bathing suit in a hot dryer. The heat will damage the elasticity of the swimsuit material.


  • Hand wash your bathing suit after every wearing. Drying your suit in the sun can increase fading and discolorations.


  • To retain the original shape and size of the garment, do not dry your swimsuit on a hanger.

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About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.