White bathing suits look gorgeous against tanned skin, but they also have a reputation for turning yellow, especially after a swim in a chlorinated swimming pool. If your white bathing suit turned yellow, it doesn't have to be the end of your garment. With proper cleaning and care, you can return your suit to its original white color.
Why Do White Bathing Suits Turn Yellow?
If your white bathing suit turned yellow, it could be because of the chlorine in the pool water. Normally, you wouldn't bleach a swimsuit because it will weaken the fibers, but swimming in a chlorinated pool is akin to swimming in diluted bleach. With weak fibers, it's easy for sweat, greasy sunblock and your body's natural oils to penetrate the white suit and cause unsightly yellow stains.
How to Remove Yellow Chlorine Stains
It's a good rule of thumb to hand wash a bathing suit immediately after using to remove anything that can cause staining, even if it wasn't worn for swimming. This applies to sunbathing as well as swimming in the ocean, a lake or a swimming pool. The longer a wet bathing suit sits without being washed, the better the chances of bacteria penetrating the fibers, leading to staining and odors that won't come out.
If a white bathing suit turns yellow, try soaking it in a solution of a half cup of baking soda dissolved in two gallons of cold water. The baking soda should break down and dissipate the stain. After soaking for a couple of hours, rinse out the bathing suit with cold water and place it on a towel to air dry.
Hand Washing Swimsuits
Avoid putting swimsuits in the washing machine as the agitation can weaken the fibers. A dryer can also cause bathing suits to fade and lose their shape. Hand washing swimsuits will help keep the shape and color intact.
Fill a sink with cold water to rinse the bathing suit and apply a mild hand soap to the suit. Laundry detergent can cause a swimsuit to fade, and bleach will result in the yellowing that caused the problem in the first place.
After rubbing the soap into the swimsuit, rinse with cold water and spread the suit on a towel to air dry. Drip drying and wringing the suit can cause it to lose its shape. Cold air from a fan or a blow dryer can help to speed up the drying process.
Deb Ng is a freelance writer and published author with over 17 years of experience in creating content for the web. Prior to her freelance career, she worked for over 12 years in traditional (print) publishing. In her spare time, Deb is an avid gardener who loves nothing more than bringing flowers and vegetables to life. She doesn't have as much time to spend outside as she'd like, however, because she's also assisting her husband with the DIY projects needed to complete their family home. See Deb's gardening and home improvement articles at LoveToKnow, Wisegeek, and Alloy.