There is no shortage of beautiful, eco-friendly, and high-quality swimwear made from recycled materials. There are lots of brands using ECONYL, for example, which is made using regenerated nylon fibers that come from old fish nets and other materials that would otherwise just fill up landfills. (And we’ve included some of those brands in this article.)

But what if you want a plastic-free swimsuit that’s actually free from synthetic materials and made with natural and/or organic fabrics instead?

Well, those are a lot harder to find, and in some cases, nearly impossible. But we’ve searched high and low and in this guide, we are bringing you the best organic cotton, hemp, and plant-based swimwear for the whole family. And in the cases where plastic-free, organic bathing suits aren’t available, we’re giving you the best alternative options to choose from.

In a Nutshell:

  • The majority of swimwear on the market is made from petroleum-based synthetic fabrics, which unfortunately can contain toxic chemicals like BPA and PFAS.

This guide contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. As always, we only make recommendations that are genuine. Featured image credit: Mara Hoffman.

Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics for Swimwear

First of all, swimwear not only needs to be cute, it needs to be functional. That is why the majority of swimwear made from mostly natural materials still have a small percentage of synthetic material like spandex or nylon.

Spandex or nylon are usually added for performance, fit, stretch, and durability. Most people want a bathing suit that fits tightly (even when wet) and that sticks close to their skin so they don’t have to worry about any *wardrobe malfunctions.*

Of course, what you personally want or need in a bathing suit is going to vary depending on whether you’re just laying around the pool, surfing, walking around a resort all day, running to catch up with the kids on the beach, or whatever.

Depending on your needs, swimwear may be one of those categories where you might just have to go with an option that’s not 100% plastic-free. That’s okay… Just choose the best option you can based on all of the varying factors involved.

Of course, swimwear made from synthetic fabrics has its shortcomings, too (even recycled swimwear). The most obvious problem is that synthetic bathing suits shed microplastics as you wear and wash them. Microplastics are not healthy for our ecosystems, nor the animals and humans involved. I’ll give you a few pointers about how to minimize microplastics at the end.

Best & Worst Non-Toxic Fabrics for Swimwear

Worst: 100% synthetic fabrics (like polyester)

The most toxic kind of fabric for bathing suits is 100% synthetic, petroleum-based synthetic that does not come with any third-party certifications like OEKO-TEX (more on that in a minute).

That includes polyester, nylon, elastane, etc.

In recent years, more synthetic clothing has been tested and found to contain toxic chemicals like BPA, PFAS.

These chemicals aren’t necessarily always added intentionally. Sometimes they’re there as contaminants, either because of the manufacturing process or because of the material used.

In these tests, the clothing items that were made primarily of natural/organic fabrics (even if was blended with a little bit of synthetic, like spandex!) were found much less likely to contain these toxins.

Better: Organic cotton and/or hemp

As I mentioned, swimwear made from natural fabrics like cotton and hemp are much less likely to contain toxins like BPA, phthalates, PFAS, heavy metals (from azo-based dyes), etc.

These fabrics aren’t usually as “high-performing” when it comes to stretch, fit, and staying in shape while wet, which is definitely something to consider as you shop.

That said, organic cotton or hemp bathing suits are not like swimming in your underwear! There are different weaves and layering that can achieve a thicker fabric, and adding smaller amounts of something like spandex can still lead to a suit that performs well but is still safer against your skin.

Also, sustainable swimwear brands have gotten creative when leaving out elastic and swapped it out with ties, wraps, etc. It just depends on your personal preferences, what you’ll be doing in your suit, and what you personally want to try out!

Better: Plant-Based Synthetics

Next up we have plant-based synthetics. This includes fabrics like:

These are basically fabrics that look, feel, and act like conventional synthetics (like nylon, etc.). But instead of being made from petroleum, they’re made from plants like castor seed oil and eucalyptus wood pulp.

It still requires relatively heavy processing to turn these plants into fabrics, but when done using less-toxic chemicals and in a closed-loop system (meaning the chemicals don’t get dumped into waterways), I do believe these fabrics are a much healthier alternative to traditional plastic fabric.

I think choosing these plant-based fabrics can be a really great solution for when you need a suit (or activewear!) to perform really well—like for active water sports.

My one caveat to this one is that since these fabrics are pretty new, we don’t know very much about them. I have yet to see any independent testing on whether or not they could contain any toxic chemicals. And even though some of them say they’re biodegradable, I’m not totally convinced that’s true.

That said, I’d still totally wear it (and I do! I have a Vitamin A suit made of the plant-based BioSculpt fabric).

Better: OEKO-TEX certified synthetics

Lastly, any fabric that is OEKO-TEX certified is a good option too, regardless of whether the fabric is natural or synthetic.

OEKO-TEX is a third-party certification that tests a finished product for a variety of toxic chemicals. The certification is not totally perfect (stay tuned for a more thorough research into this label), but I still think it’s worth looking for, especially if you’re buying something plastic-based.

The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification bans and/or limits intentionally-added toxic chemicals like PFAS, lead, azo-based dyes, bisphenols, phthalates, and more.

The good news is that there are a bunch of OEKO-TEX certified swimwear on the market in 2024, and I’ve included a list of brands below!

These Bathing Suits Are Made from Organic Cotton, Natural Hemp, & Other Plant-Based Fabrics (Well, Mostly…)

Natasha Tonic

Materials: Organic cotton, hemp, and 4-7% nylon or lycra
Carries: Two-piece sets (sold separately so you can mix and match), one-pieces, and activewear
Made in: USA
Price range: $100-300

Natasha Tonic’s gorgeous organic cotton + hemp swimwear comes in bright solid colors, standard blacks and whites, tye-dyes, and more. Natasha carries a wide range of designs, whether you’re looking for a high-waisted bottom with a one-shouldered top, a stringy bikini, or even a bodysuit. Most of her pieces can actually serve multiple purposes—swimwear, lingerie, or activewear.

Everything from Natasha Tonic is designed, dyed (with non-toxic dyes of course), and sewn ethically in sunny Los Angeles. Many of the pieces are made to order to prevent waste. They are committed to ethical and sustainable transparency throughout their entire supply chain.

Mara Hoffman

Materials: Their PYRATEX® collection is made out of wood pulp from sustainably managed forests
Carries: One pieces, two pieces
Made in: California, USA
Price range: $160-350

Similar to Vitamin A’s BioSculpt fabric, Mara Hoffman has a PYRATEX® collection that mimics traditional petroleum-based synthetic fabrics, but it actually made with plants. They dissolve wood pulp (which is sourced from sustainably managed forests) using a low-toxicity solvent. During this process, 99.5% of chemicals are reused in a closed-loop system. (It’s basically a type of TENCEL, which you can read more about here.)

The rest of their swimwear is made with recycled nylon or polyester.

Of course, Mara Hoffman has a bunch of other ethical and sustainable initiatives woven throughout their brand and manufacturing processes as well, including using natural/organic fabrics whenever possible, working with OEKO-TEX certified suppliers, committing to supply chain transparency and fair working conditions, and more.

Vitamin A

Materials: Their BioSculpt collection is made from a 77% plant-based polyamide, combined with 23% lycra spandex fiber
Carries: One pieces, two pieces, activewear, rash guards,
Made in: California, USA
Price range: $775-1500

Vitamin A has been a favorite swimwear brand in the sustainable fashion world for many years now. Their suits are always high-quality, comfortable, and flattering.

Although a lot of their bathing suits are made from recycled materials, they also have a “plant-based” collection called “Biosculpt”, which is made primarily out of a plant-based plastic (made from castor beans).

It has a lot of the properties of synthetic fabric—it’s durable, it dries pretty quickly, and it’s super smooth.

As a brand, Vitamin A is committed to ethical and sustainable practices throughout their supply chain, too. They do regular beach cleanups, they give back 1% of profits to environmental non-profits, and they use recycled and biodegradable packaging.

Oh, and this collection is gorgeous, too. 

My review: I actually purchased one of their BioSculpt suits a couple of years ago and I really like it. It’s not as stretchy as you might be used to with swimwear, but the fabric is thicker and feels more durable. So not only does it feel like it will last longer than an alternative, but I also feel thoroughly “held in” to the suit when I’m swimming or running around in it. That’s why this one gets my recommendation for the best low-plastic option for water activities.

The one thing I don’t like about this fabric is that sunscreen tends to show up on it and it’s kind of difficult to wash it out. (I have a black suit; it probably wouldn’t be as much of an issue with a lighter color.) So when I apply sunscreen, I’m careful not to get it all over my suit.

Kaylyn Gardner (100% organic cotton)

Materials: Organic cotton
Carries: Women’s (one- and two-pieces), Girls (two-pieces), Loungewear (cardigans, arm wraps, etc.)
Made in: USA
Price range: $80-300

This is one the very few brands (maybe even the only brand) you’ll find that’s made out of 100% organic cotton. Each one of these knit swimwear pieces is handmade and dyed using avocados!

They offer several different styles of one and two pieces, and they even have a super cute matching Mommy & Me collection that comes with a girls’ swimsuit. 

They also offer other kinds of knitwear like pullovers and shorts that you can lounge around in after a day at the pool or beach.

Note that since they are completely free from any synthetic stretchy fabric, they aren’t going to fit the same way other conventional swimsuits will. They may not be the best fit for active water sports or intense swimming, but they’re great for lounging around the pool or beach and dipping in the water!

Afends (for men’s board shorts)

Materials: Hemp, Organic Cotton, Recycled Polyester, Elastane
Carries: Boardshorts
Made in: Designed in Australia, Made in China
Price range: $28-90

Afends carries both boardshorts that are made out of a blend of recycled polyester, hemp, organic cotton, and elastane.

They’ve got a few different colors and patterns available, from standard black to graphic prints. They’ve got a relaxed fit and feature a fixed waistband with a drawcord and a zipped side pocket to keep your keys safe. They’re super lightweight and rash-free (quick -drying and designed to minimize chafing).

What I don’t like: They still use a lot of synthetic fabric (even though it is recycled). Check the product details before buying to make sure you know what you’re getting.

Also, it looks like they discontinued their natural women’s swimwear for the 2024 season. 🙁 They do still have women’s options made from recycled synthetics. 

Love That Cotton (for kids)

Materials: 100% Cotton
Carries: Boys swim trunks, girls one- or two-piece, kids’ cover-ups
Made in: USA
Price range: $22-30

Love That Cotton is a family-owned and operated business located in Texas. They offer super cute (and affordable!) swimwear for kids that’s made out of 100% cotton. 

They have trunks for boys as well as several different styles for girls (one pieces, two pieces with lace, two pieces without lace). Sizes range from 6 months to 10 years. 

You can choose from several different colors of stripes, and you can even add a personalized embroidered monogram if you want!

They are lined with polyester, which is not ideal since that’s the part that’s against your child’s skin. But I think that’s probably necessary for it to function in water since it’s 100% cotton.

They also don’t have any third party certifications.

Hanna Andersson (for babies & kids)

Materials: Recycled nylon, recycled poly, spandex
Carries: Baby swimwear, rash guards, one- and two-pieces, trunks for babies and kids
Made in: Various countries
Price range: $7-60

Hanna Andersson is another pretty good option for kids’ swimwear. Even though they do use synthetics, their suits are OEKO-TEX certified, which means they’ve been tested to be free from a long list of toxic substances.

They also have a really large collection, from little baby rash guard suits for boys and girls, to all kinds of one-pieces, two-pieces, and trunks for boys, girls, and unisex up to size 12. Their patterns and colors are suuuper cute, too. They even have some kid-parent matching sets!

Their fabrics are also fast-drying and protect your kids’ skin from UVA/UVB rays. They also carry cover-ups made primarily of cotton.

(P.S. I have even more options for okay brands for kids at the bottom of this guide.)

Esembly (non-toxic swim diapers)

Materials: GRS certified recycled polyester with a waterproof TPU laminate
Carries: Reusable swim diapers
Made in: China
Price range: $18.50

For the littlest swimmers, the non-toxic diaper brand Esembly makes an outer diaper that also doubles as a water diaper. It’s made out of recycled polyester with a waterproof TPU layer. (For more info on why TPU is the best option for non-toxic water-proofing, check out our guide to waterproof mattress protectors.)

They are also OEKO-TEX certified. Esembly says their diapers are free of lead, BPA, PVC, and phthalates, and that the fabric is independently tested to meet both US and EU Standards for Food Safety “(not that you eat out of your diaper covers, but you could if you wanted to!).”

They’re available in two sizes (7-17 lbs or 18-35 lbs) and a lot of very cute designs.

Patagonia (neoprene-free wetsuits)

yulex neoprene free wetsuit from patagonia

Materials: Yulex
Carries: Wetsuits for men & women
Price range: $108-639

Patagonia has a collection of wetsuits that are made from a branded fabric called Yulex. Yulex is made from FSC certified natural rubber instead of traditional neoprene, which is sourced from oil and/or limestone.

These wetsuits are not only more sustainable, but they’re just as high-performing for water sports and they’re Fair Trade certified, too.

Finisterre and SLO Active are two other brands using Yulex for their swimwear and wetsuits (though most of SLO Active’s appear to be sold out; you may have to preorder).

I’d still like some more transparency about the chemicals involved in the manufacturing process of both BioSculpt and Yulex (is it a rayon type of situation?), but I’m sure they’re both still better options than their petroleum-based plastic alternatives, both for you and for the planet.

Hemp Huggers (most customizable)

Materials: Organic hemp, organic cotton, and latex-free lycra.
Carries: Bikinis, one-pieces, beach clothing
Made in: USA
Price range: $64-358

Their website may look like it’s from 2002, but don’t let it fool you: this brand actually has some great options for organic swimwear that’s made from hemp and cotton. The lycra they use is latex-free, which means it’s hypoallergenic and a great option for even the most chemically-sensitive person.

They have a lot of different options (mostly for women) and the suits are suuuper customizable—you can choose the type of fabric, type of dye, cup size, and more.

Even More Options for OEKO-TEX Certified & Sustainable Swimwear for the Whole Family

Building on the above list, here are even more swimwear brands that either use primarily natural fabrics OR their synthetics are OEKO-TEX certified:

Akoia Swim (women) 

  • Also based in Australia, each of these crocheted bikinis and one pieces are handmade out of 100% cotton yarn. 
  • They have some really beautiful crocheted dresses, too.

Arloe (women)

  • This is another brand that uses a bio-based fabric (made from castor beans) that mimics traditional petroleum-based fabrics.
  • They have a selection of one- and two-pieces

Baiia (women, kids, men)

  • Baiia’s swimwear for women not only uses fabrics made from recycled synthetics, but their water-based dyes come with Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS), OEKO-TEX, and CLEAR TO WEAR certifications. 
  • They have some classy, full-coverage styles, too.

Billabong (men)

  • A brand you might not have expected to see on this list but Billabong has a couple of pairs of trunks made from 53% hemp, 44% recycled polyester, and 3% elastane.

Greensprouts (babies & kids)

  • Greensprouts makes OEKO-TEX certified swim diapers, and easy-change trunks and one-pieces that are free from toxins like azo dyes and formaldehyde.

Jade (women)

  • Here’s another brand offering beautiful designs that use synthetic fabrics but are OEKO-TEX certified and tested to be free from toxic azo dyes.

Londre (women)

  • Londre has a gorgeous collection of sustainable swimwear for women that is made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles and is also OEKO-TEX certified. 
  • They have more inclusive sizing as well.
  • Lauren’s Review: “I’m obsessed with my 2 one-piece Londre suits. The material is thick and super soft — one of them is white and not see-through at all. I also love that it’s run by the two women who founded it.”

LUZ (women)

  • Many of the suits made by this French brand are made with OEKO-TEX certified recycled synthetics.

Midori (women)

  • These one- and two-pieces are also made from OEKO-TEX certified synthetics.

NOW_THEN (women)

  • A great collection of recycled ethical swimwear for women that is OEKO-TEX certified, including rash guards, active swimwear, and a long sleeve body (swim) suit.
  • Many of their pieces are made out of “petroleum-free” ecoprene.

Organic Zoo (babies)

  • A UK-based brand that offers OEKO-TEX certified reusable swim nappies made out of a polyester outer layer and a bamboo inner layer.

Pacific Rainbow’s (toddlers, kids)

  • This collection of kids’ swimwear is made from synthetic material, but it’s OEKO-TEX certified.

Primary (babies & kids)

  • Also made from recycled synthetic materials, but they are OEKO-TEX certified.

Rawganique (men)

  • Although they don’t have a very big collection, Rawganique does have a few swim shorts that are made out of organic cotton, hemp, linen, and non-toxic dyes. 
  • They can even remove the elastic waistband for a pair of 100% natural trunks, making these suitable for folks with the most sensitive skin.

Reset Priority (women)

  • Here’s another brand that carries OEKO-TEX certified recycled Italian Lycra.

Seaesta Surf (kids)

  • Seaesta Surf has a collection of super cute kids’ board shorts made from 52% organic cotton fabric and 48% recycled polyester. 
  • Additionally, their rash guards and one-pieces are made from partially recycled materials.

Second Summer (women)

  • Their OEKO-TEX certified swimwear collection is made out of a fabric called Amni Soul Eco, which is supposedly a “biodegradable” nylon.

Shapes in the Sand (women)

  • This Australia-based brand uses recycled Lycra from Italy that is OEKO-TEX certified.

She Made Me (women)

  • This is another crocheted swimwear brand that makes really beautiful, artisan made suits out of natural cotton (combined with a nylon and elastane lining so you can actually wear it in the water).

Swimm (women)

  • This Australia-based brand makes simple one- and two-pieces made from 96% Australian merino wool and 4% elastane.

TomboyX (adults)

  • TomboyX is known for gender- and size-inclusive undies but you may not have known about their swimwear line that’s available in lots of fun styles and prints (like a unisuit!). 
  • Although they do use synthetics, a lot of it is recycled and it’s all OEKO-TEX certified to be safe from harmful materials.

Wolven (women)

  • Their collection of reversible one- and two-pieces are made out of OEKO-TEX certified recycled P.E.T. fabric.

Youswim (adults) 

  • This size-inclusive UK-based brand is super unique. They only offer two sizes, but because of the way the fabric is designed and made, they can fit a wide variety of body sizes and shapes.
  • The fabric is made with an EU-sourced, OEKO-TEX® certified nylon yarn and elastane.

But Wait! Catch Those Microplastics!

If you do decide to go with a suit that’s made from recycled synthetic materials, there are some things you can do to minimize the amount of microplastics that enter the waterways when you put your suit through the wash. (These are also good for any other types of synthetic clothing as well!)

  • You can place your suit into a Guppyfriend bag before putting it in the laundry.
  • For larger loads, you can just throw a Cora Ball in your washing machine and it will catch a certain amount of microplastics for you.
  • Or you can grab one of these washing machine attachments.

So, there you have it. 100% plastic-free, natural, and organic swimwear is quite difficult to come by, and quite honestly, it’s not for everyone. I hope this guide helps you understand more about what you’re looking for and has given you some BETTER options to choose from.

And don’t forget: stress can be toxic, too. So instead of worrying TOO much about trying to make the perfect decision when it comes to sustainable and organic swimwear, just make the best decision you can with the options you have.


Related Guides for Summer Fun in the Sun:

About Abbie

Abbie Davidson is the Creator & Editor of The Filtery. With almost a decade of experience in sustainability, she researches and writes content with the aim of helping people minimize environmental toxins in an in-depth yet accessible way.

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1 Comment

  1. I enjoyed reading this article on natural, plastic-free swimwear. I agree that this is one area which tends to be overlooked. I wish there was more transparency required from clothing/textile manufacturers in general, but especially for swimwear. How many of the “UPF50” fabrics are treated with toxic chemicals? And what happens when they are worn in the hot sun for several hours? Sadly, the vast majority of people don’t care about this, but I hope it becomes a topic of concern for those striving to build a wardrobe made of natural fibers.

    I am currently looking for natural fiber swimwear for my children. It’s next to impossible! But I found a brand called “Love That Cotton” ( that sells 100% cotton/100% cotton lined swimwear for kids. The trunks for boys are fine with a t-shirt on top, but I am wanting something more modest for my little girl. I’m still on the hunt.

    For women, I found a brand called “Ceeb Swimwear” ( that has a line called “Ceeb’s Famous Cotton Swimwear.” It’s basically a retro-looking romper/sunsuit in 100% cotton, which I think is fun and appropriate for those seeking more coverage. They have several different prints.

    Unfortunately, neither brand is organic or Oeko-Tex certified, at least upon first glance. I know chemicals are used in the processing of regular cotton so that may be an issue for some. But with the slim options available today, I’d rather have cotton over Oeko-Tex certified plastic on my skin. Some of the chemicals will wash out over time, but plastic will always be plastic.

    Thanks for all of the recommendations and links! I hope there are more to add in the future.