Can Pool Chlorine Bleach Clothes?

If there’s ever a situation where you want to wear clothes in the pool — or replace your bathing suit with something else in a pinch — you might be wondering if you have to consider the chlorine. Chlorine has similar properties to bleach, so it’s important to consider if it might bleach or fade your clothes and if it could even do it to your best swimsuit.

Pool chlorine can bleach clothes. It isn’t as drastic as bleach and would likely fade them over time than make a noticeable difference right away. It’s best not to take a dip with your favorite outfit on. But, in case you do, rinse it off immediately, to avoid chlorine to set in and cause damage.

If you’re wondering about the similarities between bleach and chlorine, and just how much effect chlorine would actually have, let’s take a closer look at what you should expect.

Is Pool Chlorine the Same as Bleach? 

Addition of chlorine powder for the pool to remove algae and disinfect water

In many ways, chlorine is the same as bleach because they contain the same elements. However, chlorine is natural and bleach has other ingredients in it, which affects its strength.

Bleach has a much harsher effect on things like clothes because pool water is usually very diluted, with only around 6% of it being chlorine. Bleach can have up to 10-12%. 

Will Pool Chlorine Bleach Clothes?

The short answer is that yes, pool chlorine will bleach your clothes if left on there for too long. If you plan to spend hours swimming, then be careful with what you wear.

It’s also important to rinse off your clothes as soon as you get out of the pool as if you leave the chlorine to set in, there’s a much higher chance of it bleaching the material.

Regardless of rinsing, however, some amount of chlorine will remain in the clothes after you’ve been in the pool. You likely won’t notice drastic patches of bleached color the way actual household bleach would attack the material, but lighter colors are certainly a possibility.

Can You Wear Regular Clothes in a Swimming Pool? 

Kids in swimming pool

While nothing is stopping you from wearing regular clothes in a swimming pool, you do run the risk of that lightened effect — particularly if you continually wear the same clothes in there, or spend a long time in the pool on any given day.

That’s why it’s important to pick an appropriate swimsuit. One good idea is to pick an inexpensive swimsuit that already has lighter colors because of two reasons:

  • The effects are less noticeable because of the colors
  • You won’t mind the damage too much if the price tag wasn’t too high

These days, some companies are also making chlorine-resistant swimsuits (on Amazon). These are much more effective at repelling chlorine than your average material, as they’re sturdy and resistant.

That also means you don’t need to rush out of the water to rinse them off in the hope that you’ll get some of the damaging chemicals off them. 

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean these swimsuits will last forever as eventually, the chlorine will prevail — but if you want to get a long time out of them for your money, they’re your best bet. Having said that, if you have clothes you don’t particularly care about then there’s nothing wrong with wearing them in the pool. Keep in mind that darker materials will see the damage quicker.

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