How long does it take for swimsuit to decompose?

September 4, 2023
min read

Short answer

The decomposition time of a swimsuit typically varies depending on factors such as the material used and environmental conditions. However, a general estimation is that it can take between 20 to 200 years for a swimsuit to decompose.


Swimsuits, like any other garment, undergo decomposition over time. The decomposition of a swimsuit is a natural process influenced by various factors such as the fabric type, exposure to sunlight and chlorine, as well as the care and maintenance methods employed. One of the primary causes of swimsuit decomposition is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Over time, the sun's UV rays weaken the fibers of the swimsuit fabric, making it more prone to damage and fading. This process is accelerated when the swimsuit is frequently exposed to direct sunlight without proper protection or when it is left to dry outside for extended periods.

Another factor that contributes to swimsuit decomposition is exposure to chlorine. Many swimming pools are treated with chlorine to maintain hygiene, but this can have a detrimental effect on swimsuit fabric. The chlorine in the water can cause chemical reactions with the fibers, leading to the weakening and thinning of the swimsuit material. Chlorine can also cause discoloration, fading the vibrant colors of the swimsuit and making it appear dull and worn out.

Additionally, the way a swimsuit is cared for and maintained can affect its decomposition process. Harsh detergents, hot water, and excessive wringing or twisting of the fabric can cause the swimsuit to lose its shape, elasticity, and overall integrity. It is important to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to extend the lifespan of the swimsuit. Proper care includes rinsing the swimsuit in cold water after use, handwashing with a gentle detergent, and avoiding drying the swimsuit in direct sunlight or using a dryer.

In conclusion, the decomposition of a swimsuit occurs due to various factors, including exposure to sunlight and chlorine, as well as poor care and maintenance. UV rays weaken the fabric's fibers, while chlorine in pools can cause chemical reactions that damage the material. The way a swimsuit is cared for, including using gentle detergents and avoiding excessive wringing, can also impact its decomposition. To prolong the lifespan of a swimsuit, it is essential to protect it from excessive sunlight, properly rinse and wash it, and handle it with care.

Is it possible to recycle swimsuit?

Intresting facts

  • Swimsuits are typically made from synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester, which are derived from petrochemicals.
  • Decomposition of swimsuits can take several decades, as these synthetic materials are not biodegradable and do not easily break down in the environment.
  • When swimsuits eventually start decomposing, they can release harmful microplastics into the environment. These microplastics are tiny particles that can be easily ingested by marine life, potentially causing harm to ecosystems.
  • The decomposition process of swimsuits can be further delayed if they are buried in landfills, as anaerobic conditions inhibit the breakdown of synthetic fibers.
  • Opting for swimsuits made from natural materials like organic cotton or recycled materials can reduce the environmental impact, as they tend to decompose more quickly and release fewer harmful substances during the process.

Summary and final thoughts

The decomposition time of a swimsuit can vary depending on several factors. Swimsuits are typically made from synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester, which are known to be non-biodegradable. These synthetic fibers can take hundreds of years to decompose, if not more. However, certain eco-friendly swimsuits made from biodegradable materials like organic cotton or recycled plastics might have a shorter decomposition time, ranging from a few months to a couple of years. It is important to note that the decomposition process can be influenced by environmental conditions like temperature, moisture levels, and exposure to sunlight. Ultimately, it is advisable to choose swimwear made from sustainable materials and dispose of them responsibly to minimize environmental impact.

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