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How To Wash Your Compression Stockings

How To Wash Your Compression Stockings

Compression hosiery, also known as support stockings, are designed to improve circulation, increase blood flow, and prevent blood clots in the lower extremities. They are often recommended for individuals with varicose veins or venous insufficiency in their legs; people at risk of a deep vein thrombosis; pregnant women who experience swelling due to increased blood flow; and patients recovering from surgery. 

Compression socks and compression hosiery come in various compression level options, with high-compression maternity pantyhose costing as much as $175. Graduated compression stockings are expensive, but with proper care they will last a long time. Follow these washing instructions for best results.

How Long Will It Take to Clean Compression Socks and Stockings?

Plan on several hours for cleaning compression socks and stockings. Whether you decide to wash them by hand or machine, these compression garments should always be hung or laid flat to dry.

What You Need to Know Before Cleaning Compression Socks and Stockings

Before cleaning your compression legwear, be sure to read the care guidelines. For hygiene reasons, daily washing is a good idea. However, if you are washing pantyhose, it may be sufficient to hand wash the feet daily and launder the entire garment every few days.

What You’ll Need to Clean Your Compression Hosiery

To machine wash your compression hosiery, you will need:

  • Washing Machine
  • Towel and drying rack
  • Mesh Laundry Bag
  • Gentle detergent like Heritage Park All-Purpose Detergent

To hand wash your compression hosiery you will need:

  • A basin, tub, or sink
  • Towel and drying rack
  • Gentle detergent like Heritage Park All Purpose Detergent

How To Wash Your Compression Hosiery in the Machine

  1. Machine washing your compression hosiery is an option if you have a machine that runs on a delicate/hand wash cycle and mesh laundry bags.
  2.  Wash compression hosiery in its own small load. These garments should be washed separately to protect them. You may combine socks and hosiery in the same load if the socks are color safe.
  3. Place your socks and stockings in mesh garment bags, even on a gentle cycle. This will protect them from damage inside the machine or wrapping around the agitator mechanism.
  4. Choose a delicate wash cycle and a cool or lukewarm temperature (Hot water will damage the elastic fibers).
  5. Use a small amount of mild detergent. Choose a detergent that is free from harsh chemicals, brighteners, and bleach.
  6. Never use bleach or fabric softener on compression legwear. It will damage the fabric and minimize the compression therapy benefits.
  7. Lay the stockings on a towel or hang dry.

How to Wash Your Compression Hosiery By Hand

Hand washing your compression hosiery is an efficient option that can be done on a daily basis. For compression pantyhose, hand washing simply the feet of the garment will refresh it for wear the next day.

  1. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water. 
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 1
  2. Add a mild detergent to the water. 
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 2
  3. Gently swirl the stockings in the water for a few minutes.
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 3
  4. Do not wring or twist the stockings, as this can stretch or damage them.
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 4
  5. Let stockings soak for 10 - 15 minutes.
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 5
  6. Drain the water and gently squeeze the stockings
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 6
  7. Rinse the stockings thoroughly with cool water until all the soap is gone.
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 7
  8. Squeeze out any excess water, but do not twist or wring the stockings.
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 8
  9. Lay the stockings flat on a clean towel and roll the towel or pat the towel to remove any remaining water.
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 9a

    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 9b
  10. Hang the stockings to air dry. Do not put them in the dryer, as the heat can damage the elastic fibers.
    How To Wash Your Compression Stockings step 10

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about washing medical compression stockings:

Can I put my compression hosiery in the dryer?

No, the heat from the dryer will damage the elastic and reduce the benefits of compression. Moreover, as compression leg wear is already tight by design, you do not want to shrink it any further.

How should I store my compression socks and stockings?

Store your compression stockings and legwear in a cool, dry place. Make sure they are clean before putting them away, and lay them flat or gently folded away from direct sunlight. You can also use a breathable storage bag to protect them from dust and debris.

How do I remove stains from my compression legwear?

Most stains that you are likely to get will come out of your compression legwear by rinsing with cool water (blood, for example) or with gentle agitation either in the machine or basin. We recommend using a concentrated detergent to remove stains as opposed to a harsh, commercial stain remover.

Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent is a gentle, pH-neutral detergent that is made to clean fine fabrics without causing damage. It is perfect for washing your expensive compression socks, pantyhose, and legwear. Choose Fragrance-Free/Hypoallergenic or lightly fragranced Shore Breeze, Spring Magnolia, or Lavender Mist scents.

Heritage Park Laundry Essentials

At Heritage Park, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels, and cloths, we found many commercially available "gentle detergents" either damaged our fabrics or didn't get the job done, leaving stains. We knew we could do better. So we developed a formula with the perfect balance of powerful -- yet safe -- ingredients designed to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on luxury linens. Please connect with us at (800) 977-1841 or visit our store or email us with any product feedback or cleaning questions.

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