If you suffer from arthritis or any form of joint pain, train regularly or travel frequently, it’s likely that you already use some sort of compression garment to help manage the pain and improve circulation of the affected joint.
But for whatever reason that you’re wearing compression pieces, it’s important to remember that you need to care for them so that they continue to provide the relief that they are designed to provide.
Even the most durable and strongest compression sleeves or garments are likely to stretch out because of constant wear. And in cases where you need to wear them for medical reasons, and you’re prescribed to follow a certain volume of hours of wear on joints that are constantly moving like the knee or elbow, stretching the fabric is inevitable.
Keep on reading to find how you can best care for your compression garments to take a minute and watch our quick video below:
Machine vs. Hand Washing Compression Garments
Washing the pieces will certainly help restore the fabric’s elasticity, as well as remove accumulated dirt, bacteria, and oil—but you have to do so properly.
Keep in mind that while compression garments can indeed be machine or hand washed, there are certain care instructions for each process that you have to keep in mind. If you’re using the washing machine, place the compression pieces in a mesh lingerie bag to prevent the fabric from snagging. Select gentle cycle and do not use hot water to wash them.
The same can be said for hand washing compression garments. Despite the fact that hand washing will definitely be more gentle on the fabric, it’s important to remember that water temperature is key to preserving the color of your pieces. Keep the water warm for light colored sleeves, and cool for dark colored garments to prevent it from bleeding.
What kind of detergent should I use?
Most assume that because compression sleeves are worn all day, it’s a necessity to use industrial-strength soaps and detergents to clean them to prevent dirt and bacteria buildup. But harsh detergents can actually damage the fibers of compression garments, which are necessary to the garment’s effectiveness.
Make sure you use mild soaps and detergents, ensure that it’s free of bleach or chlorine as these cause the fibers to loosen.
The best way to dry these garments?
Compression garments, regardless of what kind it is, should always be left to air dry. The heat from machine dryers can weaken and damage the elastic fibers that lend itself to the garment’s ability to provide compression.
Instead, you have the option to lay the piece out in the sun, or hung over a clothesline. Any direct exposure to excessive heat, such as placing it over the radiator, should be avoided. Remember to turn the garment inside out as you let it dry.
One last tip. It’s best to keep at least two pairs of compression sleeves so that you have time to let one dry out and regain its shape and elasticity. For options, visit https://www.doctorarthritis.org.