On a regular basis we get a lot of questions about our garment care instructions. To explain how to care for the garments, first we must explain the composition of the garments. Our garments are made up of interwoven Lycra (spandex/elastane) and nylon fibers; the tension of the Lycra at which these garments are knit, along with the size, determines the compression of the garment. Caring for these advanced fibers as instructed will insure that your garments last the 4-6 months with optimal compression.
When washing your arm sleeve, gauntlet or glove we recommend that they are placed in a lingerie bag or garment bag. We ask this so that the garments are protected from getting snagged on anything else in your wash or on the washing machine that may have hooks, velcro, or other abrasive fibers that can rough up or snag the delicate Lycra and nylon garments. Do not put other non-compression garments in the bag with your arm sleeves, gauntlets and gloves. You can wash your garments with other delicates laundry, as long as those garments are separate from your compression garments.
Once the garments are secured in a lingerie bag, simply put the lingerie bag into your washing machine. Please beware that if you wash with other clothing, colors from your other garments can bleed onto your arm sleeve, gauntlet or glove. Please wash your garments on the delicate setting in water no warmer than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re unsure of the settings on your machine, it is best to err on the side of cooler water than risking washing the garments in water that is too hot. The delicate Lycra fibers cannot withstand the temperatures of the hot water in combination with the agitation of the washer. Washing our garments in hot water can stretch the garment beyond repair, cause fading and can break down the DIVA Diamond Band (if you chose to have one on your arm sleeve).
After you’ve set your washing machine to the delicate setting, next we must choose the right detergent. This is a much simpler task: any regular detergent without additives is fine to use. In the office we use All free & clear detergent pods, but any comparable product is perfect. What we’re looking for in a detergent is first that it is not too abrasive in its cleaning and second that it rinses off clean. Laundry additives such as, but not limited to, bleach, Oxyclean or 20 Mule Team Borax are too abrasive for our Lycra garments and can break down the delicate fibers and compromise the compression. On the other hand, laundry additives like softener ‘gunk’ up the fibers, reduce breathability and interfere with the garment’s ability to wick moisture.
Once your arm sleeve, gauntlet or glove is clean then it must be dried. Do not take your garments out of the lingerie bag, simply move the garments in the lingerie bag from the washer to the dryer. Dry your garments on low heat. Your dry time all depends on how many garments you’re drying and the settings on your machine. We get a lot of questions as to why we recommend machine drying our garments. The truth is that low consistent heat from the dryer actually helps the Lycra fibers stretched out by wear to contract to their previous shape and maintain the desired compression. It all comes down to the way the Lycra and nylon fibers interact. With compression wear, the Lycra fibers are wrapped in the nylon fibers and are therefore not exposed and can tolerate the low heat of the drier quite well. In shapewear the Lycra and nylon are interwoven into each other and the spandex fibers are exposed directly, they are much more affected by heat, that is why it is not recommended to machine dry other delicates such as bras. Neither compression garments nor shapewear should be dried at high heat. If you do not have a low setting on your machine or are unsure as to the heat ranges on your machine, then it is best to dry your garments on the ‘Air Dry’ setting or alternatively hang your garments on a dryer rack.
The biggest question we get is as to why we recommend against hand washing our garments. And the answer is simple; the agitation from hand washing puts a direct pressure on the Lycra fibers and can break and stretch them beyond repair. Another aspect of hand washing that is detrimental to the delicate Lycra fibers is wringing the garment dry, which stretches and breaks the Lycra fibers guaranteeing direct damage to the garment and reducing its useful lifespan. In comparison, in the washer the garments are in a lingerie bag and they are gently swished around by the laundry agitator, there is no direct stretching involved. The spin cycle removes the moisture from the garments without wringing or stretching the garments. If you absolutely must hand wash, please note that it does void our product warranty.
Now that we’ve demystified the washing instructions, we often get asked how often the garments should be laundered? The general recommendation is to launder the garments as needed. If you’re able to invest in a few garments you rotate, then it is a great idea to launder the garments after each use, which will also prolong the useful life of each garment and can extend the overall lifespan. But, if you have one garment, then wash the garment when you’re able, but especially if they get soiled or if they are starting to feel stretched out.
We hope that these detailed garment care instructions help explain some things about caring for your garment. If you do have additional questions, please Garment Care Question.