How Long Do Rash Guards Last?
With the high costs of sportswear, it's a fair question to want to know how long you can expect your rash guard to last. That answer depends on your level of activity, and the washing and care of your garment.
Rash guards are designed to be both lightweight for comfort and quick drying, but the fabric should also be specially woven for UPF protection. Some rash guards are surface treated for UPF protection (ours are not), while others provide UPF sun protection created by a tight fabric weaving process. Rash guards that are UPF surface treated will lose their efficacy over time, while fabric-woven will withstand their UPF protection longer, especially if washing and care instructions are followed.
How Long Does UPF in Rash Guard and Swim Leggings Last?
Clothing that is made with UPF engineered fabric weaving will last through the life of the garment. For surface-treated UPF fabrics, the UV additives are special dye molecules that go into the fiber, the UPF protection is designed to last as long as the color of the garment will last, which is typically a minimum of 30 to 50 washes.
Letting your UPF clothes air dry and washing them without harsh detergents, bleach and hot water will prevent the fibers from breaking down as quickly with each machine wash cycle.
What is the Life Expectancy of a Rash Guard?
Everyone's needs are different when it comes to a rash guard for protection, depending on their water sport or level of activity. Our rash guard and swim leggings collection is designed to be both lightweight for quick drying and also woven thick enough for sun protection. Consider a heavy, durable fabric weight that will withstand tough activities, if you are a strenuous surfer.
A rash guard's primary purpose is to protect paddlers and surfers from the abrasions that can be caused by sand and waxy residue on their surfboards. Although the typical rash is caused by sliding on and off a rough board, rash guards are made to take the beating (so your skin doesn't!). Consider the damage that your rashie may endure when choosing the right rash guard
For most UPF rash guards, you can expect them to last 2-3 years. Again, this is very dependent on the level of activity. We've seen children's rash guards last several seasons without any issue, while adult rash guards have been known to pill after a few uses due to very heavy sport activity wear. Rash guards and swim leggings for sports are a lot like shoes: their life expectancy really depends on how hard they're being worn.
How to Get the Most Life Out of a Rash Guard
How to get the most life out of your rash guard? Proper care and washing is key.
Rash guards are made from swimwear materials, and with any swimwear stretch material that contains lycra, polyester or spandex, wearing out with heavy use or incorrect washing can be very common. There will be thread pulling if the rash guard or leggings come in contact with really rough surfaces (grip tape, concrete, stone, etc.). Avoiding rough surfaces will help extend the integrity of the fibers in your garments.
Proper washing and drying of your swimwear, rash guards and swim leggings is also very important to extend the life of these garments. Wash inside out, cold water, no bleach and hang dry is best.
What is the Best Fabric Weight for a Rash Guard?
For reference, Berry Jane™ rash guards are made from 6.78 oz fabrics, which are considered medium to heavy weight for swimwear. We discovered after a lot of research that many of the rash guards on the market are of lower weight than ours; O'Neil at 6 oz., Dakine at 6.5 oz., Lands End 4.8 oz., and Patagonia 4.8 oz.
If your surf and paddle activity level is several times a week and strenuous, you can assume that you'll most likely go through 1-2 rash guards per season.