Is Polyester Good For Swimming? The Pros And Cons Of Polyester Swimwear

Swimming is one of the most popular recreational activities and competitive sports around the world. When getting ready to take a dip, the swimsuit you choose matters. If you’re wondering whether polyester is a good fabric for swimwear, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Polyester is often a good choice for swimwear because it is durable, quick-drying, and resistant to chemicals like chlorine. However, polyester also has some downsides, including lacking breathability and retaining odors more than other fabrics.

The Pros of Polyester Swimwear

Dries Quickly

One of the major advantages of polyester swimwear is its ability to dry quickly. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that does not absorb much water, allowing it to dry much faster than other materials. This means that you won’t have to sit around in a damp swimsuit for long after getting out of the water.

Plus, if you’re on a beach vacation, you’ll appreciate being able to pack a dry swimsuit in your bag for the next day’s adventures.

Doesn’t Stretch Out

Another great benefit of polyester swimwear is that it doesn’t stretch out over time. Unlike some other fabrics, polyester has excellent elasticity and retains its shape even after prolonged use. This means that your swimsuit will fit you well and provide the necessary support, regardless of how many times you wear it.

So, you can dive into the water with confidence, knowing that your swimwear won’t lose its shape.

Resists Chlorine and Sunscreen

Polyester swimwear is highly resistant to the harsh effects of chlorine and sunscreen. Chlorine, commonly found in swimming pools, can cause damage to swimwear fabrics over time, leading to fading and deterioration.

However, polyester is known for its chlorine resistance, making it a great choice for regular pool swimmers. Additionally, polyester is also resistant to the chemicals found in sunscreen, ensuring that your swimwear won’t be negatively affected by sun protection products.

Affordable and Easy to Care For

One of the most appealing aspects of polyester swimwear is its affordability. Polyester is a cost-effective fabric, making it an excellent choice for those on a budget. Additionally, polyester swimwear is easy to care for. It can be machine washed and dried without losing its shape or color.

This means that you can spend less time worrying about maintaining your swimwear and more time enjoying your time in the water.

The Cons of Polyester Swimwear

Lacks Breathability

One of the main drawbacks of polyester swimwear is its lack of breathability. Unlike natural fibers such as cotton or linen, polyester does not allow air to circulate easily, which can lead to discomfort and excessive sweating.

This can be particularly problematic during hot summer days or intense swimming sessions. While some polyester swimwear manufacturers incorporate mesh panels or ventilation features to improve breathability, it is still not as breathable as other fabrics.

Retains Odors

Another downside of polyester swimwear is its tendency to retain odors. This is especially true when compared to swimwear made from natural fibers. Polyester has a higher affinity for oil-based substances, which can trap sweat and body oils, leading to unpleasant odors.

Regular washing can help minimize this issue, but it may not completely eliminate the odor retention.

Can Feel Uncomfortable When Wet

When polyester swimwear gets wet, it can feel heavy and cling to the body, which can be uncomfortable for some swimmers. The fabric can also take longer to dry compared to other materials, which may cause discomfort if you need to put on dry clothes or continue with other activities after swimming.

Additionally, the lack of breathability when wet can make the fabric feel clammy and sticky against the skin.

Not as Durable as Other Fabrics

While polyester swimwear is known for its durability, it is not as long-lasting as some other fabrics commonly used in swimwear. Over time, the fabric may start to fade, lose its elasticity, or develop snags and pills.

However, with proper care and maintenance, such as rinsing after each use and avoiding excessive exposure to chlorine and sun, you can extend the lifespan of your polyester swimwear.

Despite these drawbacks, polyester swimwear remains popular due to its affordability, vibrant colors, and ability to retain its shape and color even after numerous washes. It is important to consider these cons along with the benefits when choosing swimwear that suits your preferences and needs.

Style Considerations for Polyester Swimwear

When it comes to choosing swimwear, style is an important factor to consider. Polyester swimwear has gained popularity in recent years due to its durability and versatility. Here are some style considerations to keep in mind when opting for polyester swimwear:

Best Suited for Performance Swimwear

Polyester swimwear is known for its excellent performance qualities, making it a top choice for athletes and serious swimmers. The material is highly resistant to chlorine, which means it won’t fade or deteriorate easily, even after repeated exposure to pool water.

Polyester also retains its shape well, providing a snug and comfortable fit that allows for unrestricted movement in the water. If you’re looking for swimwear that can keep up with your active lifestyle, polyester is a great option.

Works for Most Swimsuit Styles

One of the advantages of polyester swimwear is its versatility when it comes to style. Whether you prefer one-piece swimsuits, bikinis, tankinis, or swim shorts, you’ll find polyester options in a wide range of designs and cuts.

This means that you can find a polyester swimsuit that suits your body type and personal preferences. Additionally, polyester swimwear often comes in vibrant colors and prints, allowing you to express your individual style while enjoying your time at the beach or pool.

Look for Mesh or Blended Fabrics for More Comfort

While polyester swimwear offers many benefits, some people may find it less breathable compared to other fabrics. To enhance comfort, look for polyester swimwear that incorporates mesh panels or blended fabrics.

These additions provide better ventilation and help to wick away moisture, keeping you cool and comfortable even during intense swimming sessions. Additionally, blended fabrics that combine polyester with materials like spandex or nylon offer added stretch and flexibility, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit.

Caring for Polyester Swimwear

Wash After Each Use

Proper care and maintenance are essential to prolong the lifespan of your polyester swimwear. One of the most important steps in caring for polyester swimwear is to wash it after each use. This helps to remove any chlorine, salt, or other impurities that can damage the fabric over time.

Washing your swimwear immediately after swimming also helps to prevent the development of unpleasant odors.

Use Mild Detergent

When washing your polyester swimwear, it is recommended to use a mild detergent. Harsh detergents or bleach can weaken the fabric and cause it to lose its color and elasticity. Look for a gentle detergent specifically formulated for swimwear, or opt for a mild soap or baby shampoo.

These products will effectively clean your swimwear without causing any damage.

Avoid Bleach

One of the key considerations when caring for polyester swimwear is to avoid using bleach. Bleach can alter the color of the fabric and weaken its fibers, leading to premature wear and tear. Instead, opt for alternative cleaning methods that are gentle on the fabric, such as soaking in a mixture of water and vinegar to remove any stubborn stains.

Line Dry

After washing your polyester swimwear, it is important to properly dry it to prevent any damage. Avoid using a tumble dryer, as the heat can cause the fabric to shrink or lose its shape. Instead, gently squeeze out any excess water and lay your swimwear flat on a clean towel or hang it up to air dry.

The natural air circulation will help your swimwear retain its shape and elasticity.

Remember, proper care and maintenance will help extend the life of your polyester swimwear, ensuring that you can enjoy it for many seasons to come!

Other Popular Swimsuit Fabrics


Nylon is another popular fabric used in swimwear. It is known for its durability and resistance to chlorine and UV rays, making it a great choice for frequent swimmers. Nylon swimsuits also tend to dry quickly, allowing you to move from the pool to the beach without feeling uncomfortable.

Additionally, nylon is a lightweight fabric that provides a comfortable fit and freedom of movement in the water.


Spandex, also known as Lycra or elastane, is a stretchy material commonly used in swimwear. It offers excellent flexibility and elasticity, allowing the swimsuit to hug your body and provide a snug fit.

This fabric is popular among competitive swimmers and athletes who require maximum mobility and performance in the water. Spandex is also resistant to chlorine and maintains its shape even after prolonged use.


Cotton is a breathable and comfortable fabric that many people prefer for everyday clothing. However, it is not the best choice for swimwear. Cotton absorbs water easily, making it heavy and uncomfortable to wear in the water.

It also takes longer to dry compared to synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon. While cotton swimsuits may be suitable for lounging by the pool or beach, they are not recommended for active swimming.


Microfiber is a synthetic fabric that has gained popularity in recent years. It is known for its fast-drying properties and ability to wick away moisture from the body. Microfiber swimsuits offer a lightweight and comfortable feel, making them a popular choice for beachgoers and casual swimmers.

Additionally, microfiber is resistant to fading and stretching, ensuring that your swimsuit retains its shape and color even after multiple uses.

When choosing a swimsuit fabric, it is important to consider your specific needs and preferences. Each fabric offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to find the one that suits your lifestyle and desired level of performance in the water.


When it comes to swimwear, polyester is a versatile and affordable option. Thanks to its quick-drying properties and chlorine resistance, it works well for performance swimsuits and active beachwear. However, polyester lacks breathability, so it may not be the most comfortable choice.

Look for polyester blended with spandex or mesh panels if you want the benefits of polyester along with a more comfortable fit. Ultimately, the right swimsuit comes down to your preferences and planned uses.

With proper care, polyester swimwear can provide good wear for casual swimming, laps, pool time and more.

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