So how do you care for, or wash, your stretch Spandex and Lycra garments? October 11 2018
Stretch, its official~!
We have become a Stretch obsessed world.... in LOVE with Spandex, Lycra and Elastane garments that hold us in and make us feel oh-so-cozy (see my earlier blog post on why shapewear is good for you) .. Spandex, a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity, is a synthetic made fiber manufactured from polyurethane. Spandex was invented in 1958 by chemist Joseph Shivers at DuPont's Laboratory in Waynesboro, Virginia and introduced to the public in 1962 in revolutionizing clothing.
An estimated 88% of women's clothing sold in the United States contained spandex in 2016. So how do we care for these garments and fibers?
Modern fabrics need modern care labels. Why is stretch often labeled as - Lycra, Spandex or Elastane? The name Spandex is an anagram for the word "expands", because that is exactly what the fiber does, expand and contract back to its original shape. Lycra is the trade name given by Dupont for their stretch yarns, while Elastane is the European version of the same. Don't be fooled they are all virtually the same "stretch" yarns.
Spandex and Lycra cannot be cared for like a tee shirts and jeans, thrown in the wash on hot and into the dryer on high heat. It will quickly wear down the fibers and breaking the "stretch" factor resulting in anything but stretch. Which is why we recommend the following.
So what's in a ....wash degree? What most of us don't know is that the temperature labels represent the maximum washing temperature, not the recommended one. The recommended one for all stretch garments is Cold, not Warm and not Hot. Cold water setting us usually around 60° Fahrenheit or 15° Celsius. (check your own washing machine manual)
Here are the best tips to wash your STRETCH garments:
- Always use the Cool or Cold water setting, for washing and rinsing, all Stretch garments. This will greatly reduce shrinking, fading, color bleeding and the breakdown in fibers, thus saving the "stretch".
- Never use chlorine bleach to whiten or remove stains from any fabric containing spandex as it will destroy the fibers. Oxygen-based bleach, like; Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, is safe to use on whiles or colors to brighten and remove stains.
- Never use fabric softeners or dryer sheets. Fabric softeners leave a residue on spandex that can dull the finish and attract bacteria that causes excessive odor. Including being harmful to the environment.
- Always Hang DRY, do not put any spandex garments in a hot clothes dryer. Hang to drip dry away from direct heat and sun or dry flat. If quicker drying is necessary, use a a low temp "fluf" cycle for a short while and check the garment frequently.
- Do not Dry-clean at home spandex garments. If you do have clothes that are a blend of fibers and contain spandex, lycra, or elastane and are labeled as dry clean only, a professional cleaner will know how to handle them.
- And never ever... iron clothes that are solely made of spandex, certainly not 100 percent spandex fabrics. ( this comes from personal experience when I was 13, so you can trust me on this one, your iron will not be happy and neither will you) Garments that have a small amount of spandex, 2 - 5% added to other fibers, use a low setting with steam, remember to keep the iron moving on the fabric at all times, do not leave the iron on one spot for too long, or melting can and will occur.
- Place delicates and treasured pieces, like our slimming separates line of stretch clothing, , in a Laundry wash bag to insure against stretching or snags in the wash.
Washing at lower temperatures will extend the life of your garments, making them feel new and fresh longer. Plus, a lower temperature is a lot better for your electricity bill and for the environment. Going from Hot to Warm temperature, roughly 104° to 86°, for example can save up to 60% of your energy consumption. Thats a lot of $'s you can be putting back into your wardrobe!!! YEAH! If only it was so easy to care for your face in cold water!! LOL!
Spandex garments are often times breathable in their knit original and have a wick away finish to absorb heat, as such they do not need to be washed so often, if not soiled. The quickest way to wear out your garment is to wash them too much or in a harsh detergent. Ever seen your leggings get a funny grey look fresh out of the dryer? This is because the fibers are getting broken down creating a hairy like surface that catches the light making them look old and grey. Do not put spandex in the dryer it will break down the fibers with loose its capacity to recover or stretch back to its original shape.
Not all soaps are alike.. as you may have guessed we are crazy for fabric, especially the fabric in our garments which is a luxurious high twist Rayon Spandex knit. So caring for your good fabric is vital to the life of the garment. I recommend using Woolight Dark for all your dark clothing ( Sadly, I am not being paid to tell you this either) but seriously.. I have soap allergies, as a lot more people do these days, and the chemicals in soaps is damaging to the fibers of our clothing, so using a smaller amount, please read the instructions, of a mild soap is vital for your garment and your skin too. Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener is super for anything light in color that needs refreshing. But please don't use bleach!
Email us if you have any questions.. at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure and check out our other blogs on our website at www.parisgordon.com
Happy Washing everyone!