In our latest column, "Ask a Fashionista," you can solicit our strongly held opinions on everything from how to wear a midi skirt without looking like a tree stump to whether a certain retail CEO should go ahead and resign already.

Q: I have no idea how to take care of my swimsuits and they don't seem to last very long. What should I be doing differently? -- Emilia, New Jersey

A: Chlorine, sunscreen, sand, sweat and salt water are all wearing down the fabric of your swimsuit, swim after swim. Pilling, droopiness and fading can start to set in much sooner than we'd like. However, if you're willing to do what Eliza recently did and take care of your things a bit better, there are ways to prevent the deterioration of your favorite swimsuit, or at least put it off a few years.

We spoke to a couple of experts -- Everything But Water Creative Director Sabra Krock and Malia Mills fit specialist Liz Kraemer -- both of whom confirmed that a decent-quality swimsuit should last many years, up to 10 even, if taken care of properly. Read on for five tips gleaned from their insight:

Never wear your suit in the hot tub. "The combination of heat and chlorine is the easiest way to ruin your suit," says Kraemer. Naked hot tubbing it is!

Don't just throw your used swimsuit in the laundry hamper and forget about it. "Swimsuits should be washed as soon after wearing as possible," insists Krock. You should wash them even if you didn't get in the water. "Oils like sunscreen or tanning lotion can damage your suit," she adds.

Don't let your swimsuit see the inside of a washing machine. Both of our experts say, emphatically, never to machine wash a swimsuit, as it decreases its lifespan and can cause pilling. Here's what you should do: "Wash by hand in cold water with an appropriate gentle cleaner," says Krock. And that doesn't mean Woolite. Any normal laundry product can damage the fibers. Ideally, you'd want to use a cleanser meant for swimsuits, specifically. Try Everything But Water's Swimwear Cleaner or Speedo's Swimsuit Cleaner. Kraemer says baby shampoo can also work. Krock also recommends pressing, instead of wringing, out excess water and laying flat, instead of hanging, to dry. That will prevent stretching.

You can maybe get stains/yellowing out of a light-colored swimsuit. "Yellowing is often associated with improper washing," offered Krock. "Our cleaner will typically remove that yellowing." Adds Kraemer, "Spot treat the area once you discover the stain or discoloration."

Keep your swimsuit out of the sun when not wearing it. Both experts said to store your swimsuit in a drawer, out of sunlight.

Image Credit: Fashionista

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