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What kind of fabric is best for swimwear?

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Polyester is a wonderful fabric for bathing suits

Polyester is a wonderful fabric for bathing suits

What kind of fabric is best for swimwear? It may surprise you but the answer is polyester. Why? Because it does not break down when repeatedly exposed to chlorine.

Ironically, the label in most bathing suits says ?Do not bleach? or ?Only use non-chlorine bleach? even though people swim in chlorinated water. No wonder your bathing suit can?t make it through the season. Every time you jump into a pool you are essentially washing your suit in chlorine bleach.


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Look at the swimsuit label again. Is there any polyester in it? Hopefully so, because the more there is the longer the suit lasts. If the garb is 100 % polyester, better yet. Combine this with a polyester lining and the suit lasts even longer.

Polyester is manufactured made from synthesized polymers. The advantages of polyester swimwear are numerous including resistance to mold and mildew, quick drying time, resilience, easy to launder and the ability to hold its form.

Those who swim frequently opt for polyester swim suits because it lasts and lasts. The swimmer does not have to shell out money every few months for a new suit. However, polyester suits aren?t as comfortable as Lycra suits because the material isn?t as soft but the savings to your bank account makes up for that. Over the long-run, poly suits have a more consistent fit even though they do not have the second-skin fit Lycra possesses.


Polyester resists bagging, which is a positive feature, and is colorfast and resistant to chlorine. Your bright teal bathing isn?t going to look pale, dingy green after a few dips in the pool if it is made out of polyester.  The one disadvantage of polyester, compared to Lycra, is it doesn?t stretch well. To counter this disadvantage buy a polyester suit featuring slightly gathered material, which makes it stretch easier and better.


The reigning material for swim suits has long been Lycra, which is comfortable, soft and stretchy; however, these suits do not have the shelf life of a poly suit.


Nylon suits offer a smooth fit and are lightweight. They dry very quickly because nylon absorbs very little water. Nylon, however, does not maintain its color or elasticity. Polyester does not absorb water meaning it is hydrophobic while, nylon, on the other hand, does absorb some water.

Decisions, Decisions

If you have never gone the polyester route before when buying a swimsuit and can?t bear the thought of giving up Lycra, consider getting a polyester suit containing some Lycra in it, which provides the second-skin feel you are so accustomed to and love. This gives you the best of both worlds ? durability, resilience, comfort and resistance to chlorine.

If you are a competitive swimmer and practice every day or regularly attend a water aerobics class or simply love to take a plunge in the pool daily, a polyester suit is a worthwhile investment. Give it a try.

Whatever kind of suit you chose, remember to rinse it in cool water after swimming in chlorine. You do not have to wring out all the water because doing so is hard on the fabric. Simply pat it dry with a towel and hang it up. If you want to quickly ruin your suit put it in the washing machine and dryer.

Because of polyester’s tendency not to stretch, buy a suit in a size larger than you would ordinarily purchase.


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