How to Extend the Life of Your Leggings

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Let’s admit it: we’re wearing leggings everywhere these days. For a jog, running errands, work, play, you name it, leggings have become your closet’s workhorse. We all have that particular pair of black leggings that we can’t seem to get rid of. It’s easy to see why these elasticized pants are the fabric of the people—in addition to being incredibly comfortable, there’s a sense of sentimentality and affection about the skintight sportswear essential that jeans simply can’t match.

Casual wearing has been increasingly popular in recent years for business, leisure, and fitness. Workout leggings are a top contender for supportive and comfortable sportswear, regardless of the type of activity you enjoy. Leggings are a wonderfully versatile article of clothing for a woman to be in her closet, from yoga class to marathons! They’re also ideal for stylish and comfortable lounging outfits! However, despite their flexibility and stretch, they are not immortal (RIP to my many pairs that have pilled and stretched to the point of no return).  

But how can you keep a terrific pair of multi-functional leggings in the outstanding form once you’ve found them? Here’s how to wash leggings properly to keep them looking new for years to come, whether it’s due to less number or pilling of their synthetic fibers. You’ll have wonderful gym tights for hundreds of workout hours if you do it right. If you follow these procedures, your leggings will keep their technical properties, such as compression level, size, 4-way stretch, length, body shaping qualities, and high waist, as well as their color or printed pattern.

Remember, if you look after your clothes, they will look after you.

  • Buy Good Quality Leggings

If you’re lucky, a pair of cheap leggings will last you four months. A pair of high-quality will survive for years: In 2016, I made the first pair of leggings I ever made for myself (Just another Jam, in green). I’m still wearing them four years later; they’re as stretchy as they were when I first put them on, and the color hasn’t faded. This is true of any high-quality legging. I would have paid 45 euros a year if I had bought cheaper leggings: Over the course of four years, that adds up to a stunning 180 euros more than the sensible 70 euros paid on a good pair (or 17.50 euro a year).

Because the more ‘expensive’ pair of leggings is of higher quality, they are squat proof, moisture-wicking, retain their stretch and color, and are comfortable, making them an absolute bargain in the long term, and more sustainable for your pocketbook and the environment.

(Buy quality over quantity, your wallet and your wardrobe will thank you)

  • Don’t Over Wash

The frequency with which leggings should be washed is a popular issue, much like how often you should wash your pyjamas. Although there is no magic number, Whiting believes that the less a garment is washed, the longer it will survive. The scent test is a good indicator: if you’ve just finished hot yoga or a marathon (or any other strenuous workout), your leggings are obviously in desperate need of a wash. However, if you’ve been laying around in your home all day, you might want to hold off. “As long as you’re not sweating much or working out, leggings can last 3 to 4 years before needing to be washed.”

  • Take Proper Washing Precautions

There are a few presets to bear in mind if you decide to wash. To prevent pilling and stretching, we suggest starting with an activewear-based detergent. Leggings are typically constructed of spandex, nylon, and cotton fabric mixes that are susceptible to elasticity loss and sticking, especially after a wash cycle. Always wash on a delicate cycle with cool water and a low spin to avoid shrinkage. Before tossing your leggings into the washer, we suggest turning them inside out. This simple step will ensure that your colors stay vibrant and your blacks stay dark for longer.

  • Do Not Use Fabric Softeners

Fabric softeners are leggings’ kryptonite. This is particularly true if your leggings are composed of a moisture-wicking fabric like spandex or polyester. Silicon is found in most fabric softeners, which can reduce the effectiveness of their absorptive and moisture-wicking qualities. We recommend soaking objects in a bath of a half cup of vinegar and cool water for a period before washing if they have an odor that won’t go away. Vinegar’s odor-absorbing, bacteria-fighting characteristics can help remove odors from perspiration and give your leggings an extra dose of clean.

  • Do Not Tumble Dry

Avoid using the dryer and instead air-dry your sportswear to ensure that it fits like new. The intense heat of the dryer can distort individual fiber strands from your leggings and damage the cloth, resulting in permanent tears and holes. When hang-drying your leggings, keep in mind that the weight of the water may stretch them out, so lay them flat to preserve their flexibility and avoid warping.

  • Remove the Pilling from the Fabric

You can’t entirely avoid pilling even if you follow all of the wash directions to the letter (since it also happens from wearing). Pilling develops in regions where there is the most contact, so if you run in leggings every day, you might even see pilling on the inside area of the leg. What’s the good news? Pilling isn’t a long-term solution! To remove unattractive balls of fluff from the fabric, gently slide a sweater comb over the afflicted region in one direction.

  • Immediate Wash or Hang to Dry

If you’ve done a sweaty high-impact workout, we recommend washing your tights/leggings/sports bra afterwards. If you haven’t sweated much, hang your tights, t-shirt, sports bra, or other athletic clothing to dry and ventilate. It will also be odor-free as a result of this.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can gym tights be washed alongside other clothes like jeans, towels, and sweaters?

We don’t recommend washing your gym leggings with other textiles. This is because synthetic fibers are commonly used in leggings, yoga pants, tights, and other sportswear, and synthetic fibers do not want to be mixed with other laundry products. Jeans, sweaters, towels, and cotton T-shirts should all be avoided. Cotton fibers develop lint when washed together, which sticks to the synthetic fiber. This may wear down the synthetic fabric over time, causing the gym legging to lose technical features including anti-shake, 4-way stretch, compression, and overall quality.

We recommend that you have a separate basket designated for sportswear. Wash the sportswear with the rest of the laundry when the bucket is full. Remember to turn the leggings inside out to reduce friction on the exterior finish, even when laundering with similar textiles. 

  1. How do you wash your gym leggings?

When washing your exercise tights, use a mild detergent or a sporting detergent. Avoid using bleach-based detergents. Fabric softener inhibits the natural knitting and ventilation in the leggings, therefore avoiding using it. A fabric softener can form a thin layer on the fabric as well. The tights’ technical qualities will diminish over time as a result of using it.

  1. What do you use to wash your gym leggings?

Here are some suggestions for laundering gym leggings:

  • When laundering your gym tights, use a moderate detergent or a detergent developed for sportswear/wool clothes
  • Avoid bleach
  • Avoid fabric softener
  1. Is it okay to put tights/sportswear in the dryer?

No, never put your tights or sportswear in the dryer after laundering them. All athletic clothing should be hung to dry. The technical properties of the fabric will allow it to dry quickly at room temperature.

  1. What’s the best way to wash white or light-colored leggings?

White leggings should be washed in the same manner as other leggings. We don’t recommend you wash your exercise leggings with other fabrics. Bleach should not be used. If you have a stubborn stain that needs to be removed, try applying “Gallespe” (Bile soap) on it. This soap may be used on anything that can be machine cleaned and eliminate stains like oil and fat. Follow the directions for using the soap. 

  1. How often should your leggings be washed?

It all depends on how hard you work out. We suggest that you wash it shortly after usage if you get too sweaty. If you’re doing low-impact exercises like yoga, you can just hang it up to dry and ventilate it – but don’t put it in your gym bag.

  1. Will the tights, however, be clean after being washed at 30°C (86°F) in the washer?

Yes, even if you wash your tights/leggings at a low temperature, they will be clean and safe to wear. We used to believe that clothes required to be cleaned at a temperature of at least 40°C to be clean. This is a misconception, as the science indicates that 30°C laundry is just as excellent as 40°C laundry with a proper detergent. What’s the bright side? The garments survive considerably longer when the washing temperature is reduced, and it is also good for the environment!

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