Does Chlorine-Proof Fabric Actually Exist?

27 February 2017

chlorine proof fabric

We manufacture bean bags of the highest quality. Our company has models explicitly made for swimming pools. However, these may eventually be affected by prolonged exposure to chlorine. Soaking in chlorinated water may subsequently cause the colours to fade over time. Chlorine is a potent chemical. All fabrics are adversely affected when they come into contact with it. Our floating pool bean bags comprise of solution-dyed acrylic and olefin. These are some of the most chlorine-resistant fabrics available. But is there a chlorine proof fabric?

Chlorine in Swimming Pools

Outdoor pools are subject to all the forces of nature. The wind blows dirt and grime in them. Unless you treat your pool water, bacteria, fungi and other undesirable forms of life will begin to grow. These quickly turn the swimming pool into a cesspool. Also, all the germs carried on and in the human body wash into the water. Without some form of treatment, a pool will quickly spread infectious diseases. Swimming pools can be made sterile by adding a specific saline solution. However, saline is a costly option, usually only used in upscale fitness centres. The most popular method of sterilisation is to add a form of chlorine. Chlorine is the primary ingredient in bleach. Unfortunately, chlorine has the side effect of whitening colour fabrics and eventually dissolving the threads. Because chlorine is so effective at killing germs, it exists in most water that goes through municipal water plants. However, the amount used in tap water is meagre. Otherwise, it would cause problems of its own, including the possibility of death. The amount of chlorine used in swimming pools is much less than that used for washing clothes but higher than that in drinking water. When added to water, the measure for chlorine is parts per million (ppm). PPM is the ratio of chlorine to 1 million units of water. When using the standard guidelines for adding bleach to a top-loading washing machine, the amount of chlorine is just over 80 ppm while the amount of chlorine in a swimming pool ranges from 1 ppm to 10 ppm.

The Effects of Chlorine on Fabric

One of the most well-known effects of chlorine is that it removes stains from white clothing. But it also has a bleaching effect on nearly all types of colour fabric. When the concentration of chlorine is more than 80 ppm, the reaction is almost immediate. But in lower levels, the fading or whitening is gradual and does not become apparent until after multiple exposures over some time. You may have noticed that after several years of washing clothes, the colours will fade even without bleach. While there are other contributing factors, this is because of the small amount of chlorine in the water. You may also have witnessed a new bathing suit will noticeably fade after only one season of swimming in a pool. The bleaching can be faster in swimming pools if the concentration of chlorine is higher. Chlorine has the additional side effect of reducing the integrity of the fabric. The chlorine slowly eats away at the fibres, making them thinner and thinner. Eventually, the threads become so small and weak they tear under regular use. Thread degradation due to chlorinated water is worse in natural fibres like cotton. While chlorine is an excellent solution for protecting the health of swimmers, it is not so great when it comes to fabric. A few types of chlorine-resistant materials are available. But none of them is chlorine-proof. All fabrics will eventually succumb to the damaging effects of chlorine.

The Best Fabric for Pools

Even though every natural and human-made fabric can be affected by chlorine, some are more resistant to bleaching than others are. The worst of the bunch, however, is cotton. Cotton is soft, comfortable and affordable. However, its use for swimwear or products that are for use in or near swimming pools is rare. Chlorine will bleach and degrade cotton fabric quickly. Lycra and Spandex are human-made fabrics found in sportswear. But these are just as bad as cotton in chlorinated water because chlorine destroys the elasticity of these polyurethane-based materials. Making them brittle and causing them to lose their shapes. Nylon stands up to chlorine much better than most other fabrics do, and it dries very quickly, but the combination of chlorinated water and sunlight will still cause the colour of this fabric to fade within one year of regular use in swimming pools. The best fabric for swimming pools is solution dyed acrylic or olefin. These two fabrics feature exclusively in our floating pool bean bags. Polyester is very hydrophobic, which means that it absorbs very little water. Most of the water fails to penetrate the fibres, helping to keep chlorine away from it. However, as mentioned above, no fabric is completely waterproof or fully chlorine-proof. Chlorinated water and sunshine will eventually cause the colours to fade even in nylon and polyester. Those fabrics with a Colour Fastness to Chlorinated Water of Grade 5 are the closest you can get to a chlorine proof material.

Fabric Care for Chlorine Pools

Because chlorine harms every type of fabric, including polyester, it is best to keep floating pool bean bags out of the water when they are not in use. Pool bean bags should sit in chlorinated pool water only during use. Remove your pool bean bag immediately upon exiting the pool. By doing this, you will significantly extend the life of the outer fabric. For additional protection, we recommend you cover the bean bag with a piece of thick, water-resistant fabric such as a tarpaulin. Alternatively, store it indoors to protect it from the elements. The impact of rain and the ultraviolet rays of the sun can be just as damaging as chlorine is. You can keep colours sharp, and reduce fading can by rinsing it in clean, water immediately after removing it from the pool. Some people go even further by removing the cover and washing it with a small amount of non-chlorinated detergent. Having a removable inner liner is advantageous for washing your bean bag.  But you will always want to follow any cleaning instructions on the label or included with the product when purchased. Finally, a few specialised products are available for sale that can neutralise chlorine, removing any remnants. These are not necessary except in cases of extreme exposure. But some people swear by their effectiveness even with regular use. The products usually come in powdered form and are mixed with water. The fabric is then soaked in the mixture as directed. The two main ingredients to look for are sodium thiosulfate and sodium metabisulfite. However, these two chemicals are hazardous.

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