Will a Hot Tub Damage My Swimsuit? 8 Questions Answered

Considering using a hot tub, but not sure if the water will damage your swimsuit? You’re in the right place.

Hot tubs have chemicals that can have some impact on bathing suits over time, and even cause the fabric to weaken or fade. But there are a few things you can do.

In this post, I’ll break down exactly what you should know about hot tubs and swimsuits—so you can get back to soaking up the best things in life.

1. Can hot tub chemicals like chlorine damage your swimsuit?

Chlorine and bromine—two chemicals used to disinfect water and keep the hot tub sanitized, can cause swimsuit materials like Lycra® brand spandex (elastane) to fade or wear out over time. The impact of heat and chemicals won’t be apparent right away, but over time can begin to wear down synthetic materials.

While chlorine gets rid of contaminants quickly, it’s more likely to discolor or fade clothing than bromine. Bromine does its job slowly over a longer period of time.

2. Will heat from a hot tub damage my swimsuit or clothing?

The heat from your hot tub won’t damage a swimsuit like chemicals can, but hot water can accelerate the fading or bleaching effect on your swimsuit more so than a chlorine pool would—especially if you use your hot tub often.

Swimsuits are pretty resistant to heat, but the combination of hot water, chlorine, and your hot tub’s jets is a combo that isn’t great for swimsuit materials.

Hot tub water also won’t damage your bathing suit any more than pool water, but heat from a dryer can cause drying out and damage if your swimsuit is full of chlorine.

Always rinse and air dry your nice bathing suit instead of tossing them in the dryer!

3. Can saltwater hot tubs damage swimsuits?

living near salt water

Hot tubs that use salt water instead of chlorine are a bit less likely to damage swimsuit fabrics. Salt is less harsh on skin and clothing than chemical chlorine, which is why many people opt for saltwater pools.

Even though salt can cause color fading over time and is a good idea to wash off, you don’t have much to worry about.

4. What should you wear in a hot tub to minimize the impact of harsh chemicals?

To eliminate the risk of chlorine or even salt damage on a nice swimsuit, your best bet is to wear an old bathing suit.

If you want to wear a nice swimsuit, you can find suits marked as chemical-resistant or chlorine-resistant. A nice swimsuit made of resistant fabric is your best route if you’re in public and want to wear your nice stuff.

If your swimsuit is made of spandex, it’s more likely to get damaged or discolored than over materials. Typically quality polyester or nylon is a bit more durable.

Tip: Use a chlorine-neutralizing spray

To minimize the effects of chlorine on your swimsuit wash your suit with chlorine-neutralizing spray. This will help limit fading if you use this product instead of laundry detergent.

I found this product on Amazon for about 10 bucks.

5. Should you pre-treat your swimsuit prior to getting in a hot tub?

If you just bought a new suit and really want to use it in a hot tub, a water-vinegar solution can help lock in the color and prevent fading. Simply use one quart of water to 2 tablespoons of vinegar and let soak for about 30 minutes.

For subsequent uses, rinse using plain water (without chemicals) before entering the hot tub.

If you’re worried about colors fading, always rinse your suit with cold water to wash off any residue if you can.

6. Can you wear clothes in a hot tub if you don’t have a swimsuit?

You can wear plain clothes in a hot tub, but it’s a good idea not to. Not only is it poor hot tub etiquette to wear clothes in a public hot tub, but chemicals in the tub can also cause the cloth fabric to become weak.

If you are at a hotel hot tub and only have a pair of shorts—you are probably okay. If you have a nice dress or cotton shirt…I wouldn’t.

In some cases, dyes from dark-colored jeans can leak out if exposed to heat, potentially contaminating the water.

7. Do swimsuits cause foam in a hot tub?

In some cases, swimsuits can add foam to a hot tub because they can release leftover detergent. Surfactants like makeup, shampoos, deodorants, body oils, and dead skin cells are primarily what cause foam.

To limit foam in a hot tub you should take a shower before entering, especially if you’ve been in the ocean. Foam is an indicator of a pH or chemical imbalance and an early sign of dirty hot tub water.

8. As a hot tub owner, what’s the best way to protect a swimsuit from damage?

If you own a hot tub, the best way to protect your swimsuit from damage is to monitor your pH and very importantly—your sanitizer levels. The ideal levels of chlorine are from 1.5 to 3 ppm. If bromine is used, then the recommended levels are 3 to 5 ppm.

There is no getting away from the fact that chemicals are needed to sanitize the hot tub water. Bromine is preferred by people who have sensitive skin, and it generally does a bit less harm to swimsuits than chlorine over time.

One last note

If you’re about to jump in that hotel hot tub or your own, now you know what to do (and not to do). I always use an old bathing suit for hot tub use because I’d rather not worry about using neutralizing products, rinsing with cold water, and air-drying it.

Have another question you want to be answered? Let me know in the comments.

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