Scroll Back to Top

A Cleaner World Blog

Does Chlorine Cause Color Loss in Your Clothes?

I’m not one for swimming in public pools; that’s because I feel like I’m bathing with a bunch of strangers. So, when Gray and I meet friends for a swim day, I typically wear shorts and a tank and either wade in the shallow end or sit on the side with my feet in the water. On a recent outing, I wore nicer shorts than normal, and I began to worry about the future condition of my shorts after repeatedly being splashed with pool water. But should I be worried?

The short answer is sort of.

Chlorine is added to both pool and drinking water, calculated in parts per million, to keep bacteria at bay. So, unless your clothes come in contact with ocean or lake water, the water that hits your clothes will likely have chlorine in it, but the amounts are so small that it won’t impact your clothes. For instance, for most pools the amount is between 1 and 3 parts per million, where bleach used on clothing comes in at around 80 ppm, which is far more potent than what’s in your local swimming pool. I also mentioned that drinking water has chlorine in it, but its amount is less than one part per million, so the impact is even lower than pool water.

What does all this mean?

  • When clothing is exposed to chlorinated pool water, fading or whitening can occur but is gradual and isn’t obvious until it receives multiple exposures over time. Rinsing clothing after it has been in a pool will not completely remove the chlorine, but it will help reduce the amount left in clothes.
  • Washing clothes in chlorinated water will slowly damage clothes, but the chlorine levels are so low, the effects won’t show for a while.
  • Keep in mind that we tend go to pools when it is sunny outside, and that means the clothes you are wearing are exposed to intense sunlight which means color fading due to the effects of the sun, not the chlorinated pool water.
  • Swimsuits, as opposed to regular garments, are made of vigorous fabric that’s made to withstand the wear and tear of visiting the swimming pool.

Other than never going outside, how do we avoid color loss in our clothes?

  • Wear the appropriate garments outside and to the pool.
  • Choose lighter color garments instead of dark colors and black. A light color item will be susceptible to sun damage, but it won’t be nearly as noticeable.
  • As soon as you remove your suit, handwash it in cold water, do not wring or twist, and lay flat to dry.
  • Stop by or call one of our locations if you need help with any of your garments.
ACW App Download Our App

Schedule free on-demand pickup, track orders, view history and more.