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The Best Ways to Wash Knee & Elbow Sleeves

July 30, 2023

Knee sleeves are a type of garment that’s designed to protect the knee from injury or damage. They slide over the knees and are suitable for a variety of sports from basketball to lifting.

Advantages of Knee Sleeves:

how to wash knee sleeves

  • They offer compression, which will help you recover more quickly after a training session
  • They provide lateral stability by limiting patella movement
  • They can increase your proprioception (the sense through which we perceive our body)

Disadvantages of Knee Sleeves:

  • They can be pricey
  • They can develop an odor after a while

Washing Your Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves are in constant contact with your skin, meaning that they will absorb sweat as you move around.

That’s why it’s so important to wash them after each wear. The last thing that you want is to have smelly knee sleeves.

They’re not that hard to clean either – you can either put them in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes or wash them by hand.

How to Wash Knee Sleeves and Compression Braces

Most knee sleeves are made from neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber, which makes them easy to wash.

Machine Wash Your Knee Sleeves

Start by turning the sleeve inside out. That will expose the inner layer – the one that came into contact with your sweat – so that it’ll be easier for the detergent to wash it away.

knee sleeve washing instructions

While it’s not necessary, we highly recommend putting your knee sleeve in a mesh laundry bag.

That will prevent them from being tossed around during the cycle. It’ll also keep the sleeves together and prevent them from getting ‘lost’.

Measure one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent and add it to the tub.

Next, choose a gentle or delicate cycle and wash with cold water. Avoid using hot water as it can cause the fabric to shrink.

Note: It’s perfectly fine to wash your knee sleeves with other garments – even your gym bag. Just keep them separate from delicate items such as bras or underwear as the rubber sleeves can damage the fabrics.

Remove the sleeves from the machine once the washing cycle is finished.

Using your hands, gently squeeze out some of the extra water and lay them on a clean towel. You can then roll it up to remove more water.

Transfer the knee sleeves to a clean, flat surface and allow them to air dry.

Never wring or twist the sleeves like a towel or rag – that will cause the neoprene material to stretch out.

Depending on how thick the sleeves are, it can take several hours for them to dry completely.

Hand Washing Knee Sleeves

The first step is to fill a container or sink with warm water. Measure a bit of ACTIVE Detergent, add it to the water, and agitate it with your hand to dissolve the powder.

hand washing knee sleeves

You can also add a bit of baking soda if odor is an issue.

Turn the knee sleeves inside out and place them in the solution.

Make sure they’re completely immersed – press down on them with your hands if you have to.

Gently rub the material, paying extra attention to the crease as dirt tends to accumulate in that area.

Let the knee sleeves soak for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing with water.

You can do this by refilling the sink with clean water and submerging it again or holding it under the faucet.

Squeeze the sleeves gently to remove out some of the excess water and lay them on a flat surface to dry afterward.

Remember, never twist or wring the item as that will stretch out the elastic.

What About Elbow Sleeves?

Elbow sleeves are similar to knee sleeves, except they’re designed to protect the elbows instead of the knees.

Advantages of Elbow Sleeves

  • They will improve blood circulation, which will help prevent swelling and inflammation
  • They will act as a mini shield, protecting the skin from scratches and other injuries
  • They can help you maintain your body temperature
  • They can prevent muscle soreness to some degree after exercise

Disadvantages of Elbow Sleeves:

  • They can develop an odor

Washing Instructions For Elbow Sleeves

Machine Washing Your Elbow Sleeves

what do elbow sleeves doStart by turning your elbow sleeves inside out – that will give the water and detergent better access to the inner layer, where most of the sweat is.

Consider putting them in a mesh laundry bag if you’re washing them with other clothes (avoid delicates as there’s a chance that they can get damaged by the sleeves).

Pour one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent into the dispenser and close the door.

Choose a gentle cycle—remember to use cold water. Hot water can cause the elbow sleeves to warp and shrink. Skip the fabric conditioner.

When the washing cycle is finished, take out the sleeves.

Remove the excess moisture by squeezing them gently with your hand. From there, lay the sleeves flat on a clean surface to air dry, away from direct sunlight.

Avoid hanging them up on a clothesline.

It can take several hours for the sleeves to dry completely, depending on their thickness. Do not tumble dry.

Hand Wash Your Elbow Sleeves

how to wash elbow sleevesStart by filling the sink 2/3 full with warm water. Next, add one scoop ACTIVE Detergent, making sure the powder is thoroughly dissolved before putting your sleeves in.

Let them soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Work the soapy water into the sleeve with your hand and rinse with clean water.

Remember, you don’t want there to be any residue on the fabric.

Squeeze out some of the extra water before transferring the sleeve to a clean towel.

If necessary, you can also roll it up to get rid of more moisture.

The last step is to let it air dry. Never put it in the dryer – the heat can cause it to shrink or warp, even on the lowest setting.

How to Wash Knee Sleeves – FAQs

What’s the best way to clean knee sleeves?

Knee sleeves are machine washable. You can also hand wash them in the sink with a bit of mild detergent, such as the one by ACTIVE.

What kind of laundry detergent should you use for knee sleeves?

ACTIVE Detergent is the best choice for knee sleeves. It’s gentle yet powerful and will eliminate all odors, oils, and sweat.

What’s the best way to deodorize knee sleeves?

Distilled white vinegar can be used to neutralize smells.

Simply add half to one cup during the final rinse cycle. You can also soak the sleeves in a white vinegar water solution.

Leave them in for 15-20 minutes before rinsing with water.

What’s the difference between knee sleeves and knee pads?

Knee sleeves are designed for compression while knee pads are designed to prevent your knee from impact injuries.

For those with both, you can machine wash them together, as long as you seperate them with laundry bags.

Remember to turn the knee sleeves and knee pads inside out before washing.

Should you wash knee sleeves with cold or hot water?

Knee sleeves should always be washed with cold water. Avoid using scalding hot water as the heat can cause the neoprene material to deteriorate over time.

Is it better to hand wash your knee sleeves?

Hand washing is much gentler than using the washing machine. For one thing, you won’t be exposing the sleeves to any agitation, which over time, can cause the material to wear out.

Given that, it’s best to wash them by hand if you want them to last.

Can you wash the sleeves with dish soap?

You can use dish soap in a pinch but it won’t be nearly as effective as ACTIVE Detergent, which is specially formulated for these types of garments.

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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