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How to care for and clean compression socks

Compression socks are a special therapeutic type of socks knit out of fabrics of varied strengths. These special socks are designed to help with proper blood flow in your leg and are often purchased as a result of a doctor’s prescription. Healthy people are also likely to use the socks for various reasons.

You may have acquired the ready-made compression socks or had them custom fit to your specific needs. One thing is however clear here: the socks need good care and cleaning.

How then do you take care of these socks to get the best out of them?

Ideally, caring for your compression socks begins with the usage and how you wear or remove them. When you wear compression socks, always ensure that they run smoothly along the leg with no wrinkling or bunching.

When donning your sock, it is important to ensure that you do not tear the fabric as this only means that you would have to replace the stockings.

Taking care of the socks also begins with changing them every other day. It helps preserve the fabric’s fit, which means that having at two or more pairs will be a great idea. This way, you can wash a pair that has collected dirt or sweat during the day and put on a fresh one the following morning.

How to clean your compression socks

Cleaning your compression socks involves washing them at the end of each day to avoid a buildup of dirt or sweat that can damage the fabric. Although daily washing is recommended, in a case where one cannot change the socks then the maximum will be two days.

Take the following steps when you wash your compression socks.

Step 1:

Dip used socks into a small basin or sink containing cool water. Remove the wet socks and place aside.

Step 2:

Add washing soap or detergent to the water and mix. Take the compression socks and submerge into the basin or sink for 5-10 minutes. (Note that some brands work best with specified washing products.)

Step 3:

After the 5-10 minutes, gently rub the compression socks to remove any dirt or oils from sweat. Pay attention to the silicon bands as they are likely to have the most dirt. Ensure you do not stretch the socks as you wash as this will interfere with its elasticity.

Step 4:

Once you are satisfied that the socks are clean, proceed to rinse them with cool water (warm water will likely damage the garment). Use enough water to remove all the soap.

Step 5:

Squeeze out or use a lint-free towel to suck most of the water. Do not wring them as that will damage the garment. Once most of the water is removed, place the stockings on a flat surface to dry. Drip drying isn’t advisable as that affects the shape of the socks due to the hanging weight. The surface should be cool as the direct sun or heat will damage the compression socks’ fibers and affect its fit and shape.

Things to remember when washing the compression socks

Always use soaps or cleaning products recommended for compression socks. It is advisable to find out what soap a particular brand recommends for their socks.

  • Do not dry clean the compression socks because the machine’s rotation can damage the fabric. If you use a machine, then it is best to have it on a gentle cycle.
  • Do not use a microwave or iron out the socks to dry them.
  • Do not use cleaners like chlorine bleach, fabric softeners and other delicate washing materials that are bound to interfere with the fabric’s fit. Go for the regular dish wash instead.

Protection for the socks can also extend to the additional wear that goes with the stockings. For instance, wearing regular socks over the compression stockings or shoes, sandals or other such wear will help keep the compression socks from damage.

Care for your compression socks by putting them on properly

The easiest way to care for the compression socks is to wear them according to the required or prescribed guidelines. When done properly, wearing compression socks in the morning and removing them at bedtime will help prolong their use. Note the following if you want to have the socks last up to six months.

  • Ensure your legs are dry and free from oils in the morning
  • Use rubber gloves to help pull the socks
  • Use the recommended method that involves beginning with the “heel pocket out.”
  • Ensure the socks do not wrinkle or bunch

When should you replace your compression socks?

If one adheres to all the guidelines and instructions regarding the care and protection of compression socks, then replacing them won’t be a big deal.  Having two or more pairs of compression socks will help prolong the individual pair’s use, and caring for them well can make them retain their fit.

Remember to wash your socks after each wearing as that will help them last longer. However, we need to replace the stockings after about three-four months of use, at most six months. this happens for various reasons, among them being that the socks lose their effect after a while. Most brand manufacturers say that their products should last about six months before users replace them.

How do you tell its time to replace your compression socks? You are also advised to replace the socks in the following situations:

  • If you find it difficult to wear the socks
  • When swelling in the legs increases
  • When you realize the fabric’s quality is becoming poorer
  • If you notice holes or thread runs in the socks
  • If the compression socks have lost their original shape

In case of increased swelling, the prescribed socks will not fit and an individual might have to consult their health care provider for further advice before seeking a replacement pair.

If you have added weight, you also might have to change the compression socks as that is likely to mean that the previous size won’t fit. The simple reason for changing the socks is that they won’t be able to provide the therapeutic value needed.  

As noted earlier, the process of washing and caring for compression socks is not too different from regular washing. However, you need to observe the stated guidelines to ensure they last longer and continue to offer the required therapy.

 If you take good care of your socks, then they should offer you the best and replacing them will occur in the four to six month period recommended by health care providers and brand manufacturers. Poor care will otherwise necessitate frequent replacement.