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How to Wash Leggings and Yoga Pants

March 16, 2024

Proper washing is key if you want to maintain the shape, color, and performance of your leggings.

What’s the best way to wash them? What type of detergent should you use? Can you use fabric softener? Keep reading for all the answers!

Choosing the Right Detergent for Your Leggings

Mild detergents, with less aggressive washing agents, are recommended for leggings due to their delicate fabrics.

Sport-Specific Detergents Like ACTIVE

active detergent

If your leggings are made from synthetic materials like spandex, nylon, or polyester, use ACTIVE Detergent. It will:

  • Penetrate and clean technical fabrics
  • Effectively remove odors without the need for masking fragrances
  • Maintain the breathability and moisture-wicking properties of athletic fabrics by not clogging their ‘pores’

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Avoid using detergents with harsh chemicals such as optical brighteners and fabric softeners. These chemicals can reduce the breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities of your leggings and interfere with their stretchiness and ability to retain elasticity over time.

Washing Techniques for Different Legging Materials

Different legging materials necessitate different washing methods. For leggings made of blended materials, refer to the care label for washing instructions, using the guidelines for the most delicate material in the blend.

When cleaning wool or silk leggings, always remember to:

  • Turn them inside out to preserve the fabric’s quality and appearance
  • If your leggings have lost their tight fit, wash them in cool water
  • Lay them flat to air dry to help them retain their original shape

Cotton Leggings

To help maintain color and mitigate fading, cotton leggings should be cared for in the following way:

  1. Turn the leggings inside out before washing.
  2. Use a mesh washing bag to prevent snagging inside the washing machine.
  3. Wash them on a gentle cycle using cool water with a low spin setting to avoid shrinkage and damage

Synthetic Leggings

synthetic leggings

Synthetic leggings are more durable than their cotton counterparts and are more resistant to chafing and everyday wear. However, they need special care to preserve their longevity. Here are some tips for washing synthetic leggings:

  1. Wash them in cool water
  2. If they’re made from spandex, nylon, polyester, or rayon, use a delicate or hand-wash cycle with cool water
  3. Avoid exposing synthetic leggings to the high heat of a dryer, as it can reduce the ability of the moisture-wicking material and damage the fabric

Wool and Silk Leggings

Wool and silk leggings are considered delicate clothing due to their delicate nature and require particular attention. Avoid high heat or vigorous washing cycles that can damage the fibers. Instead, opt for a delicate or hand-wash cycle.

After washing, air-dry them flat on a drying rack or a flat, moisture-resistant surface to prevent misshaping. Avoid placing silk leggings in a clothes dryer, as the high heat can permanently damage the delicate fabric.

The washing instructions in this guide are compatible with all types of leggings fabrics from all brands including:

  • 90 Degree by Reflex
  • Colorfulkoala
  • ECHT
  • Ewedoos
  • Fengbay
  • Fullsoft
  • Glyder
  • HeathYoga
  • HeyNuts
  • Hiskywin
  • Homma
  • IUGA
  • Just My Size
  • Justice
  • K-Deer
  • Leggings Depot
  • Lingswallow
  • Lorna Jane
  • Neleus
  • Ododos
  • Phisockat
  • Satina
  • Sunzel
  • Syrinx
  • Tiktok Style
  • TSLA
  • Ultracor
  • Yogipace

Proper Washing Machine Settings for Leggings

Most leggings should be washed on a cold water cycle or delicate cycle to preserve their elasticity and prevent fabric damage. High-performance activewear leggings, in particular, should be washed on a delicate cycle with cold water.

Also, remember to wash leggings with similar-weight items or in a mesh bag to avoid stretching and tangling with heavier garments.

Cold Water Cycle

Cold water will help prevent shrinkage, color fading, and wrinkling of your leggings. Modern laundry detergents such as ACTIVE also contain enzymes that activate at temperatures as low as 60°F, meaning your clothes will get thoroughly clean even in cold water cycles.

In contrast, using warm or hot water may not provide any additional benefits and could potentially damage your leggings.

However, remember to avoid fabric softeners when washing leggings, as they can leave a residue that will compromise the material’s breathability and moisture-wicking properties.

Delicate or Hand-Wash Cycle

The delicate wash cycle, a gentle machine equivalent to handwashing, can keep your leggings in the best shape by protecting them from the harm that can occur during more aggressive washing cycles. It’s the shortest and gentlest cycle on a washing machine, generally lasting only between four and seven minutes during the wash portion to minimize fabric stress. After the wash portion, the rinse cycle will remove all detergent residue to maintain the quality of your leggings.

Hand-Washing Leggings: Step-By-Step Guide

handwashing leggings

Hand-washing can help preserve the leggings’ form and prolong their life, especially for delicate clothing. Here’s a step-by-step guide to hand-washing your leggings:

  1. Fill a basin with cool to lukewarm water
  2. Add a small amount of ACTIVE Detergent to the basin and dissolve the powder
  3. Submerge the leggings and gently swish them through the sudsy water without using a brush to avoid fabric damage

After washing, rinse the leggings with cold water, avoid wringing, and let them air dry.

Preparing the Washing Solution

The first step in hand-washing leggings is preparing the washing solution. Here’s how:

  1. Measure half a scoop of ACTIVE Detergent powder
  2. Fill the sink with lukewarm or warm water as indicated by the care labels of the leggings and mix in the detergent
  3. Ensure that the detergent is fully dissolved in the water to create a consistent washing solution before immersing the leggings

Washing and Rinsing Process

Once your washing solution is ready, follow these steps to clean your leggings:

  1. Turn your leggings inside out and soak them in the solution for about five minutes
  2. Swish the leggings gently through the water without scrubbing or twisting to clean them
  3. Rinse the leggings several times in fresh cold water by pushing the garment up and down until all soap residue is removed

Removing Excess Water

Avoid wringing out your leggings as that can stretch or distort the fabric, leading to damage. Instead, gently squeeze out the excess water without twisting the fabric.

Roll the washed leggings in a clean, dry towel and press to absorb water without wringing or twisting.

Drying Leggings the Right Way

Tumble drying can shrink leggings, damage stretchy fabrics, and warp the fibers, resulting in leggings that no longer fit properly.

Instead of using the dryer, lay the leggings flat and allow them to air dry. Also, avoid using clips and pants hangers.

Air Drying

air drying

Air drying is the safest option for leggings, especially those made from blended materials, as it will help prevent shrinkage and keep the fabric’s integrity intact. Here’s how to air-dry your leggings:

  1. After pressing the leggings in a towel, lay them flat on another dry towel
  2. Place the towels with the leggings on a moisture-resistant surface
  3. Flip the leggings periodically to ensure even drying without damage

You can also line-dry the leggings in a well-ventilated area.

Avoiding the Dryer

While it might seem quick and convenient to toss them in the dryer, using them can make the leggings lose their elasticity over time, causing them to become misshapen and not fit properly. Frequent tumbling in a dryer can also lead to premature damage, such as snagging, shrinking, or warping.

Caring for Activewear and Gym Leggings

Activewear and gym leggings should be washed after every use to prevent natural odors from becoming embedded in the fibers. Synthetic leggings, in particular, are prone to trapping odors, making it crucial to wash them after each workout session.

Odor Removal Techniques

Pre-treating synthetic leggings with white vinegar is an effective way to remove odors. Simply soak the leggings in cold water mixed with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar for half an hour before washing.

Stain Treatment

Stains on leggings can be a nuisance, but with the right treatment, you can remove them easily. Here are some tips for treating different types of stains:

  • For body oil stains, gently apply a laundry stain remover or liquid detergent on the stain using your fingertips, avoiding scrubbing to prevent fabric damage
  • For deodorant marks, try rubbing the stain with a pair of clean pantyhose or a dryer sheet
  • For grass stains, create a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide with liquid dish soap, then cover the stain with it and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes before washing

Storage Solutions

storage solutions

How you store your yoga pants and leggings can affect how long they’ll last. Here are some tips:

  1. Fold or roll them neatly before storing them to avoid creases and wrinkles
  2. Store them vertically and alternate their direction to maximize space and maintain accessibility

Check Your Leggings Regularly

Addressing small issues such as loose threads or minor holes quickly will prevent further damage and extend the life of your leggings.

How to Wash Leggings – Overview

Caring for your leggings means more than just tossing them in the washer and dryer. From choosing the right detergent and washing techniques to proper drying and storage, every step is crucial.

Remember, the longevity of your leggings largely depends on how you care for them. So be sure to follow the tips we’ve provided to keep your favorite pair looking and feeling their best for years to come!

Washing Yoga Pants and Leggings – FAQs

How do you wash leggings without ruining them?

To wash your leggings without ruining them, wash and hang dry them immediately after use, making sure to use cool water.

How many times should I wear leggings before washing?

You should wash leggings after every wear to maintain their elasticity and to eliminate any sweat or odors. This is especially important for activewear and if you have sensitive skin.

Do leggings shrink in the wash?

Yes, leggings can shrink in the wash, especially if they contain cotton and other fabrics like spandex or polyester. Be sure to follow the care instructions to prevent shrinking.

Should you put leggings in the dryer?

No, it’s not recommended that you put leggings in the dryer as the hot air can damage the stretchy fibers over time. It’s best to hang them dry on a rack or clothesline instead.

Can you wash leggings in the washing machine?

Yes, you can wash leggings in the washing machine. Turn them inside out, use cold water, a gentle cycle, and ACTIVE Detergent to maintain their color and shape.

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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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