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How to Wash Spandex, Lycra & Elastane

How to Wash Spandex, Lycra & Elastane

You likely have many garments made using spandex, which is also known as Lycra or elastane. No matter what you call it, this synthetic fiber needs to be cared for correctly to avoid damage and keep it in good condition. Here’s how to wash spandex!

When Possible, Hand Wash

We understand that you may not always have time to hand wash your spandex garments. However, when you do have the time, and you don’t mind doing a little bit of work, this is the best way to go. When you hand wash, you can treat your garments with care, staying away from the forces in a washing machine that might otherwise stretch or damage your clothes. The beauty of spandex garments is the way they can stretch and adapt to your body—but if you stretch them out too much during the washing process, they can become misshapen.

Use lukewarm water and an appropriate detergent for the job, such as WIN Sports Detergent, which is formulated specifically to treat synthetic materials like spandex. Put everything in a bucket or basin, gently moving the items around until they are clean and ready to move on to the drying phase.

Avoid the Dryer

Placing your clothes in the dryer may be the fastest way to get them ready to wear, but it can be hard on some materials. Spandex is one of those materials, so you’d be smart to avoid the dryer whenever possible.

As an alternative, lay your wet garment out on a towel and gently roll it up to remove some of the moisture. Then, simply hang it out—avoiding direct sunlight—and give it the time it needs to dry. This method may take longer than the dryer, but it will help the garment avoid damage and last longer.

If You Must Use the Washer & Dryer…

Hand washing and line drying are the ideal, but given real-life time constraints, it’s almost certain that you will need to machine wash your pieces from time to time. When you do, start by putting them in a mesh laundry bag to offer an extra layer of protection during the wash cycle.

Just as when hand washing, set your machine for moderate temperatures (not hot water). Also, you will want to select a more moderate spin setting. If your washing machine features a delicates cycle, that is the perfect choice for your spandex, Lycra, and elastane clothing. This setting provides a gentler ride in the machine and uses lower water temperatures.

Keep your spandex items in the mesh laundry bag for the drying cycle, and set the dryer on one of its lowest heat settings. This should help you avoid doing too much damage to your clothing—but you should still try to plan ahead and keep these pieces out of the dryer whenever possible.

What About Stains?

The key to getting rid of stains on spandex is to act quickly. Once you notice the stain, soak the garment in cold water along with a mild liquid detergent. It’s common mistake to use hot water, but that can set the stain in place rather than removing it. As long as you treat your stains relatively quickly and give them plenty of time to soak in the cold water, you’ll have a good chance of getting them out.

Avoid These Two Mistakes

We’ve already explained that it’s better to avoid your washer and dryer when washing spandex. With that said, there are two mistakes that you will want to avoid completely: using an iron and using bleach. The high, direct heat of an iron and the harsh chemicals of bleach can both ruin the fibers that make up your spandex garment, rendering the item useless. 

Try WIN Detergent

Do your spandex and other synthetic clothing items still stink even after washing? You may be using the wrong detergent, as most regular detergents are designed to treat cotton rather than synthetics. With a bottle of WIN Detergent waiting in your laundry room, you’ll always have the perfect detergent to deal with synthetic materials. Place an order today and see for yourself what a difference WIN can make!