In recent years, compression socks have become a popular accessory for runners and those engaged in other forms of physical activity. These socks are thought to increase oxygen delivery and improve blood flow to benefit performance. But they can dirty and build odor fast. To keep them smelling fresh and help them to last longer, here’s how to wash compression socks the right way.
The steps below should help you quickly assemble a game plan for washing those stinky, sweaty compression socks sitting in your laundry hamper:
- Machine wash. Generally, it’s fine to wash your compression socks in the washing machine. Be sure to confirm for your specific pair before proceeding.
- Pick the right detergent. It’s important to use an appropriate detergent when washing your compression socks. Pick a product like WIN Activewear Detergent, which has been designed specifically to treat synthetic materials commonly found in activewear.
- Avoid bleach. While color-safe bleach may be safe for your compression socks, be careful not to use chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach could damage the fibers that make up the garment, reducing its elastic properties and leading to discoloration.
- Gentle cycle, cold or warm water. When you set your washing machine, select a gentle cycle, and stay away from hot water. Then, go ahead and toss in those compression socks—along with any other activewear pieces that need to be cleaned.
- Air dry. The hot environment inside the dryer can be damaging to compression garments, which may result in the material being weakened and losing its compression properties. Technical garments, especially compressions socks, should be dried on low or no heat to help prevent damage.
- Similar plan for hand washing. If you prefer to hand wash your socks, you’ll follow a similar process. Avoid hot water and use an appropriate soap. Once they are washed, the compression socks should be air dried, as described above.
This sock-washing process may look daunting at first glance, but it’s actually pretty simple. Whether you use a washing machine or not, the three key elements are avoiding hot water, using the right detergent, and allowing the socks to air dry. Hit on these three points, and you should be on the right track.
Wash Every Time
Although it can be a bit of a chore, it’s best to wash your compression socks—and other similar garments—after every use. If you allow the sweat and oils from your skin to stay in the socks without cleaning them, their elastic properties may suffer. This means that if you don’t wash your socks regularly, you won’t get as much use out of the socks in the long run. Given the cost of most brands of compression socks, that won’t be great for your bank account.
Air Them Out
Imagine that you like to use your compression socks for running. Maybe you wear them out on a trail or on your daily treadmill run. In either case, when you’re done running, you take your socks off and zip them up in your gym bag.
Unfortunately, putting your sweaty socks in a closed bag will prevent them from drying, which can make them harder to clean. If possible, hang them up, or if they must stay in your bag, at least leave the bag unzipped so the socks can breathe.
Try WIN Detergent
For great results when cleaning compression socks, use a detergent that is suited for the task. WIN Detergent fits that bill nicely. Our detergent has been formulated specifically to deal with the kinds of synthetic fibers used in compression socks and other types of athletic clothing. Place your order today to see the difference!