How can I reuse or recycle old swimming costumes?

swimming costumesWe’ve had an email from Becki Marsh Cox:

I go swimming at my gym everyday and even though I rinse them straight afterwards, my swimsuits always begin to thin after a couple of months. I usually go for cheap costumes but have had the same experience with more expensive ones.

I was wondering if you or any of your readers knew any secret ways to make them last longer or ways I can use the fabric elsewhere? It’s usually the bit stretched across my chest or the seams on the straps that goes first – the rest is fine. Thanks!

(Photo by dinny)

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27 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old swimming costumes?”

  1. Sarah says:

    People on my husband’s swim team layer them as needed to get more yards out of them. It’s not uncommon to see three swimsuits on the same body.

  2. Megan says:

    Look for suits that are made of polyester not nylon. The 100% polyester ones are the best. They look hideous but they last way better than any other suit. Also make sure to rinse them out with plain water after you’ve finished. Better yet if you can wash them in a light fabric wash.

    I’m trying to think of a reasonable re-use option… nothing is coming to mind yet :( You could make bean bag toys or stress balls with fabric bits. My sister used to make these little frogs in high school and gave them to all her friends. Bathing suit fabric would work for something like that.

  3. Fishcake_Random says:

    How about making wash mitts from them to use the last few ends of the soap.
    Or cutting accross them to make large elastic bands or ties.
    You could use the material for patchs for other clothes.
    Or save them up and make a patchwork cusion or blanket.

  4. tata says:

    maybe lamp shades?

  5. Heather says:

    I second Megan’s solution. I went through a few regular swimsuits in mere weeks before I replaced them with a polyester suit that I’ve now had for years.

    It hasn’t stretched or faded at all. It’s not beautiful, but it isn’t too ugly either. Mine’s a plain black tank suit by Speedo.

    I keep mine going by washing it with a little bit of my anti-chlorine shampoo before I even leave the gym.

  6. Elouise says:

    I suggest investing in a more costly, ‘swimmer’s’ costume. They are made from more robust fabric and designed for proper training. I bought one from Speedo about 3 years back, have swum in it weekly, in chlorine pools, and it’s still in very good condition. This means one pays a bit more, but it lasts much longer.

  7. *** says:

    its either the make speedo or adidas.
    look down the side of the outside of the costume for the stitched word “endurance” they last forever.

  8. Kat says:

    Not sure what to use the older suits for, but vinegar neutralizes the chlorine, I usually put my suit in a basin with cool water and a shot of vinegar as soon as I get home, let it sit for a few minutes, then launder. I also do the same for my hair, rinse with vinegar and water, let it sit maybe 5 minutes, then shampoo/condition. Kept the suit and my color-treated hair from fading and suffering!

    • NatCat says:

      just a tip to Kat… im on a swim team and one thing you should NEVER to do your bathing suits is put them in a washer or a dryer…it wears on the life of the suit…and i swim in nothing but suits strictly made for endurance..they should last at least 3 + yrs if u take care of them ( this is comming from a person who is in the poool everyday xcept sunday)

  9. Jennifer says:

    I work with a great group of ladies. We make quilts for those that are less fortunate. We are always in need of materials to use for stuffing and other parts of the quilts. We use lots of old swimsuits because the material tends to dry very quickly. There are also lots of other things we are always in need of. If you would like more information about what we can use or where to send your unwanted items please feel free to email me at
    Thank You and God Bless,

    • michelle says:

      I was wondering in what shape does the bathing suit have or not have to be in to be used. My is worn out in the back but the front is fine. Can it still be used?

  10. renee says:

    sew up the holes on one end and make into a small lumpy no-dig-garden

  11. charlie says:

    hi im charlie im 13 n i swim 4 times a week
    i get endorence ones they last a litle longer

  12. charlie says:

    i swim 4 times a week so i get endorence ones they last longer

  13. norman says:

    Hi guys,
    i need to know the process involved in making blankets via recycling nylon or acrylic.. and if there is any machine that we use for it please do let me know about that as well… i need to work in bulk quantity.. any suggestions?

  14. Kris says:

    Cut old suits up into strips and use them as pieces of rope to hold things together. I rolled up a couple of rugs and used the strips to secure it.

  15. Doreen says:

    You guys just sparked a great idea for me! I love to hang my clothes outdoors to dry in the sun. I noticed that my clothespin bag is getting quite ratty, so guess what my “new” bag will be — I’ll sew the leg holes closed and fix the straps to the hanger on the old bag.

    Voila! Mama’s got a brand new bag!

  16. Gulia says:

    Cut them in half. Turn them into underwear, and a sports bra by stitching the seems.

  17. 1eyed1HORNEDflyingPURPLEpeopleEATER says:

    hmmm, i used to swim like 2x a day 5 days a week. man would this info be good back then, but still useful, I just don’t swim as much anymore…also, i was thinking the old swimsuits could be tanktops or something if you cut off the bottom.

  18. Emily says:

    you could turn them into headbands by cutting a strip through the middle of the suit, cutting it in half so it is a flat strip, cutting it to shape around your head and then adding some elastic maybe (:

  19. Gulia says:

    Make a very sexy scare craw for your garden. :)

  20. Gulia says:

    Make a pillowcase for bath tub pillow. Make a cover for a book.
    Cut and flatten this fabric into a background for scrap booking about summer vacation. Make a bathroom beg to store things.
    Make accessories for Halloween costume. Use for doll’s clothes.
    Make a laundry bag. Make cute bandanna.

  21. jay says:

    i guess you could sew them into book-sox. the stretchy material would be perfect.

  22. martin says:

    Take it as lighter.
    The fabric of thoses swimsuits and leotards burnes very good and is ideal for lighting firewood.
    Place one old swimsuit or a leotard in the oven under the firewood and you can be shure that the fire is burning!

  23. Jacque says:

    Make a bicycle seat cover, or gloves/socks that you can use when you’re expecting to get wet…

  24. Martin says:

    Use the swimsuits for getting pictures.
    We like to do with “old leotards”.

    It´s a nice memory to sporting events and lookes good.
    See that stream how a “good old leotard” get changed step by step in a picture.

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