Learn how to wash spandex properly while maintaining its elasticity and keeping your clothes longer.
Spandex is a very popular fabric also known as elastane. It is a stretchy fabric used to make adjustable garments. It is used in swimsuits, jeans and sportswear. It is often confused with Lycra. These two fabrics are indeed very similar. However, spandex is the generic name for the fabric while Lycra is a brand name created by DuPont.
Spandex is never used alone. It is mixed with other natural or artificial fibres, such as cotton or polyester. The percentage of spandex in a garment varies by brand. The tight spandex fibres are a real sponge for perspiration and bad smells. Washing the spandex can be difficult if you are not familiar with the fabric. Check the manufacturer's label to determine how to wash spandex or follow these tips to preserve its shape and colour.
Handwashing by hand
Swimwear has a higher percentage of spandex and should therefore be washed by hand. Fill a sink with cold or warm water and use a mild detergent. Attack stubborn perspiration stains by lightly rubbing the fabric with mild soap and water, then soak for 15-20 minutes. Wipe off the clothing to remove soap. Rinse thoroughly with cold water until the water is clear.
Spandex mixed with cotton or polyester can be machine washed. Pre-treat stains with a stain remover or soak the fresh white spandex in a mixture of water and stain remover 10 to 20 minutes before washing.
To preserve their elasticity, wash clothes in cold water with similar colours, selecting a delicate cycle. Avoid washing it in large loads containing denim-type clothing or zippers that may cling to the fabric. Also, avoid washing it with towels or other cotton items that may leave lint on the spandex. Add a cup of distilled white vinegar to refresh a load of smelly sportswear.
For best results, dry it by hanging it in the air or in a clothes dryer at low temperatures. Remove it quickly to avoid wrinkles.
What you shouldn't do
Never use bleach. Check the manufacturer's label for chlorine-free bleach. Oxygenated bleach is a better alternative to chlorine-free bleach. They break down into oxygen atoms and do not have the toxic side effects of regular bleach, making them less harmful to you and the environment.
Spandex should never be dry-cleaned, as this may damage the fibres and keep the spandex dry, as it is generally not recommended to iron the spandex. If absolutely necessary, select as low as possible and place a towel or cloth between the garment and the iron.
With time and wear, spandex can lose its elasticity. If you take care to wash and dry your spandex clothes properly, it will help keep them in shape - and you too can stay in shape.