Cleaning Your Compression Socks
Compression garments must be washed after each use, and they need to be cleaned carefully to avoid compromising the material. Here are the steps to properly clean compression garments, first by hand and then in the washing machine:
- Fill a sink, tub or basin with warm water. Pour in a small amount of a mild detergent while using your hand to agitate the water ensuring the detergent is evenly distributed.
- Place your compression garments into the warm water allowing the garment to soak through. Using your hand, gently move your items through the water and gently message the garments. This process should take no longer than a few minutes.
- Once you feel that your items are clean, pour out the soapy water and repeat step 1 and 2, this time without adding the mild detergent. If your garment has a silicone band, additional cleaning may be necessary from time to time to remove the build up from it. (*We will discuss this below in greater detail).
- Finish by rinsing your garments, while gently squeezing the material ensuring the soap is thoroughly removed from your garments. Do not pull, stretch, or twist the stockings, as this can stretch out the material and compromise its proper fit.
- Being careful not to wring out your garments take a bath towel and lay on a flat surface. Place the stocking on the towel and begin to roll the towel with the garment inside in a snug fashion and allow to sit for a few minutes. This will help remove the excess water. Remove the garment from the towel and place on a flat surface or hanger and allow to dry over night. Do not hang garments directly in the sunlight as this may cause fading and discoloration.
- If there are stains or dirt trapped in the silicone bands, it is advised to treat these areas first.
- Place the compression socks in a mesh garment bag to protect them during the wash cycle.
- Set the washing machine on warm, gentle or delicates cycle according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Add mild soap or detergent — or the cleaning product recommended from the sock manufacturer — to the machine. Do not use chlorine bleach, fabric softeners, or Woolite as these are known to damage or weaken the compression fabric.
- After the wash cycle completes, remove the socks and gently press any excess water from them. Lay them flat in a cool or warm place to dry. Do not wring the material or place the garments near a heat source.
*Cleaning Silicone Top Band
Silicone bands will typically require a little additional care from time to time. If you notice your garment sliding down and no longer seems to grip your leg like it originally did then it just needs additional cleaning. Dead skin cells, oils from the body, and lotion tend to build up over time preventing your silicone band from griping properly. While wearing you garment, fold the top band down exposing the silicone portion that is to be cleaned. Take a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol on it and gently wipe the silicone area only. Allow 30 seconds to dry and your band should grab like brand new.
Replacing Your Socks
Even the most well-cared-for compression socks will stretch out and lose their elasticity over time, though having more than one pair and rotating them will prolong the life of the garments. Most manufacturers claim that their compression socks last six months before the material breaks down. Most consumers replace their socks and support stockings every three to six months, especially if they’re wearing the same few products over and over again. Here’s an easy general rule to remember: If the compression garments are no longer difficult to don, then they’ve probably lost their compression qualities and it’s time to replace them.
Taking proper care of your compression socks will lengthen their life and ensure that you get the full benefits of compression therapy. Follow these steps to keep your compression socks and support stockings in top-notch shape.