How to Wash Compression Socks

Whether they’re mild, moderate, firm, extra-firm, or medical-grade, and no matter if they’re closed-toed, opened toed, or footless, and regardless of whether they’re ankle-, knee-, thigh- or waist-high – and whatever the reason you’re using them, you want to make sure that your compression socks stay in great shape. That means that they not only need to be washed regularly, but they also have to be washed properly.

While they may function differently than standard socks, like their traditional counterparts, compression stockings can get pretty dirty, sweaty, and stinky. They wrap around your feet, legs, or both, and dead skin cells, sweat, dirt, and debris can collect in the fibers, and after a while, they can become pretty gross and uncomfortable. When they need to be cleaned, tossing your compression socks into the washing machine along with the rest of your laundry may be tempting; however, you definitely want to avoid that temptation. Why? Well, because compression socks aren’t like the socks that you wear to the gym, while you’re running errands, or when you’re just lounging around the house and want to keep your tootsies toasty warm.

So, how do you wash compression socks properly? Keep on reading for some handy tips that you can use to keep your therapeutic hosiery nice and clean, and in tip-top condition for as long as possible.

How to Wash Compression Socks

Compression Sock Care

While the name “socks” may be in the title, compression socks definitely aren’t like your standard socks. They’re made of unique materials and are specially designed so that they can deliver pressure and provide support to the legs, ankles, and/or feet. In order for these socks to provide the benefits that they are designed to offer, the fabric and fit needs to maintain the initial design. Compression socks are pricier than traditional socks, too.

In order to maintain the appropriate fit and the proper pressure – and to avoid the need to replace them on a frequent basis – compression socks have to be washed properly. If you toss them in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry, there’s a good chance that they can tear, shrink, loosen, and even lose the amount of pressure that they were originally designed to deliver, rendering them completely useless, and necessitating replacement. That’s why washing them properly is so important.

When washed appropriately, compression socks can last for about 3 to 6 months, on average (depending on how often you wear them and the type of conditions they are exposed to, of course). But how does proper compression sock washing entail? Keep on reading to find out.

Compression Sock Washing Tips

Before we dive into washing tips, first let’s discuss how often compression socks should be washed. A lot of people think that they can go a few days in between washings; however, that definitely isn’t the case. Just like standard stocks, you should really wash compression socks after each wear. Dead skin cells shed and get trapped in the fibers of the socks, as does sweat, dirt, and debris.

As you can imagine, if you wear them several times without washing, they’re going to get pretty uncomfortable; not to mention stinky. Washing your compression socks after each wear will not only maintain their comfort and keep them smelling fresh, but it will also help to keep your socks free of harmful bacteria that could potentially lead to infections.

How to Wash Compression Socks

Washing Instructions

While it might sound intimidating, washing compression socks is actually pretty simple and straightforward. You can either wash them by hand or by machine, and whichever method you use, here’s a look at some basic points that you’re going to keep in mind when you’re washing your compression socks:

  • Never, ever wash compression socks in hot water. Doing so will certainly damage the material.
  • Avoid wringing out the socks too tightly. Gentle wringing only.
  • Don’t pull the compression socks in any direction while they are wet. Doing so can misshapen the socks, which will not only affect their comfort, but will also affect the therapeutic benefits that they provide.
  • Avoid fabric softeners, bleach, and detergents that are intended for wool, as they can damage the elasticity, and thus the compression level, of the socks.
  • Avoid drying the compression socks in a machine dryer, as doing so could damage the materials.
  • Avoid placing them in direct sunlight while they are drying, as the heat and UV rays can damage the material.

Compression Sock Machine Washing Steps

  • Inspect the socks for any stains or pieces of dirt and debris that may be hanging off of the stocks. Use blotting for stains and dust off any pieces of debris.
  • Place the socks in a mesh garment bag (the type that is intended for intimates and other delicates). Never wash them bare as doing so could end up snagging and stretching out the material.
  • Use cold or room temperature water only. No hot water!
  • If washing in the machine, use a gentle cycle.
  • When the cycle is complete, gently squeeze out any water.
  • Hang dry the socks. Do not machine dry, as doing so could end up damaging the material.

Compression Sock Hand Washing Steps

  • Fill up a sink or bucket with cold or room temperature water. Hot water will damage the elasticity of the socks.
  • Place a small amount of gentle detergent in the water.
  • Gently lather the compression socks in the soapy water.
  • Let the socks sit and sock in the soapy water for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the compression socks and rinse them in clean water to remove suds and debris.
  • Gently wring out the compression socks to remove excess water.
  • Hang the compression socks on a drying rack or lay flat to dry.

Summing It Up

And there you have it! By using the simple, easy to follow tips outlined above, you can either machine wash or hand wash your compression socks, ensuring that they remain comfortable, supportive, and healthy. With proper washing on a regular basis, you can also prolong the life and get more wear out of your compression socks.