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How to Care for Swimwear Rash Guards - Rash Guard Care

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How to Care for Swimwear Rash Guards - Rash Guard Care

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What are Rash Guards?

Spending a great deal of time in the sun and surf can be hard on skin. Remember the original bathing suits that covered more skin than they actually showed? Well, today's swimmers and surfers don't want a bunch of fabric slowing them down but they still need skin protection. So, rash guards or swim shirts and pants have become an important category of swimwear.

Surfers were the first group to demand a lightweight swim shirt to guard from rashes caused by salt water and provide as much sun protection as possible. But, the shirt had to be sleek, quick drying, fully stretchable and lightweight. Today, rash guards are made from six-ounce lycra, a durable, lightweight, fully stretchable fabric. Today, there are rash guards with short and long sleeves as well as sleeveless in children's, men's and women's styles. There are also rash guard shorts and pants.

Your First Rash Guard Garment

It is important to pay attention to sizing when purchasing a rash guard. It should fit snugly but not be stretched too tightly. If the garment is too tight, the seams will pull and cause longevity and wear problems.

It is also important to learn how to put on rash guard garments. While the lycra fabric is durable, it can easily be punctured by any sharp object like a fingernail or toenail. Always handle the fabric with your fingertips - not fingernails. Since the garments are snug, put them on in slow steps.

For long-legged pants, pull the rash guard over your feet and ankles. Then work up the legs in sections, pulling gently until you reach the hips. For shirts, insert your arms into the sleeves or arm holes then carefully pop over your head. Slowly pull down sleeves and the body of the shirt until smooth.

Work in reverse when removing the rash guard gear. Do not pull too hard. Remove the gear slowly and carefully.

Try to put on your rash guard gear in a clean, dry place away from sand, trees and rocks that can snag the fabric. Try not to put on wet rash guards; it compromises the integrity of the spandex.

Rash Guard Care

Taking care of your rash guard gear is much like taking care of a swimsuit, especially racing swimwear. Here are some care tips:

  • After wearing, immediately rinse your gear with fresh water.
  • Do not use hot water, use cool or tepid water
  • Never wash your rash guard in a washer or with other garments. Wash by hand.
  • Use a biodegradable soap that will help remove salt, chlorine and organic residues. Never use bleach or any harsh cleaner.
  • Turn your rash gear inside out when washing and drying.
  • Never place the gear in a dryer. Hang to drip dry away from direct heat and sun.
  • Use a heavy, padded hanger - never a flimsy wire hanger - to store and hang rash guard gear.
  • Store on a hanger or flat - do not fold or cram into a drawer because it can weaken fabric.
  • To remove strong odors, fill a sink or bucket with cool water and add one cup of baking soda. Allow the rash guard to soak overnight. Then rinse with cool water and dry in a breezy spot.
  • Never iron rash guards - high heat should always be avoided.
  • Stay away from oil, gasoline, chemical solvents and aerosols because the stains are impossible to remove and will weaken the fabric.

    By far, the most important care tip is to never wad up your rash gear and throw it in the trunk to bake. Rinse it immediately even if you never get around to washing the gear. Sun, salt and chlorine will take a toll on the fabric so get it out as soon as possible!

    Specific questions? Just ask here.

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