how do you properly wash and care for leggings
how do you properly wash and care for leggings

Leggings have become an essential item in our wardrobes, providing comfort and style for our everyday outfits. But have you ever wondered how to properly wash and care for these beloved items? With the multitude of fabrics and designs available, it can be tricky to navigate the world of leggings care. In this article, we will explore the best practices for washing and caring for your leggings, ensuring they stay in pristine condition for countless wears to come. So say goodbye to fading colors and stretched out waistbands – it’s time to uncover the secrets to maintaining your favorite leggings!

Choosing the Right Washing Method

When it comes to washing leggings, it’s important to choose the right method to ensure they remain clean and in good condition. There are a few factors to consider, including the care label instructions, sorting by color, and any specific treatments the leggings may need.

Read the Care Label

Before you begin washing your leggings, it is crucial to read and follow the care label instructions. The care label provides valuable information on the recommended washing method for your leggings, as well as any special instructions to keep in mind. Following these instructions will help prevent any damage or shrinking that could occur from incorrect washing methods.

Sort by Color

To prevent color bleeding and maintain the vibrancy of your leggings, it’s essential to sort them by color before washing. This means separating light-colored leggings from dark-colored ones. By doing so, you can avoid any unwanted color transfer and keep your leggings looking their best.

Consider Special Treatments

Sometimes, leggings may require special treatments due to specific materials or stains. For instance, if you have a pair of leather leggings, they may require different care compared to synthetic or cotton ones. Additionally, if you have stains on your leggings, pre-treating them before washing can help remove the stain more effectively. Always consider any special treatments necessary to ensure the best wash results and longevity of your leggings.

Hand Washing Leggings

Hand washing is a gentle and effective method for cleaning your leggings, especially if they are made of delicate or specialty materials. Follow these steps to hand wash your leggings properly:

Prepare the Washing Solution

Fill a clean basin or sink with cool water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they can damage the fabric.

Soak Leggings

Place your leggings in the washing solution and gently swish them around to ensure they are fully saturated. Let them soak for about 10-15 minutes to loosen any dirt or stains.

Gently Agitate

After soaking, gently agitate the leggings by softly rubbing the fabric against itself. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously, as it can cause stretching or damage.

Rinse Thoroughly

Once you’re satisfied with the agitation, drain the soapy water and rinse the leggings under cool running water until the water runs clear. Make sure to remove all the detergent residue to prevent any skin irritations or fabric issues.

Dry Properly

After rinsing, carefully squeeze out any excess water from the leggings. Avoid wringing or twisting them, as it can distort their shape. Instead, roll them in a clean towel to absorb the remaining moisture. Then, lay them flat on a clean, dry surface, away from direct sunlight, to air dry completely.

Machine Washing Leggings

If hand washing isn’t a convenient option for you, machine washing can also be an effective way to clean your leggings. Here are the steps to follow when machine washing your leggings:

Use a Mesh Laundry Bag

To protect your leggings from getting tangled or stretched in the washing machine, it’s recommended to place them inside a mesh laundry bag. This will prevent any snags or damage to the fabric while allowing them to get thoroughly clean.

Turn Them Inside Out

Turning your leggings inside out before placing them in the laundry bag can help protect the color and minimize friction with other garments. This simple step can help maintain the leggings’ appearance and prevent pilling.

Choose Appropriate Cycle

When selecting the washing cycle, opt for a gentle or delicate cycle to minimize the stress on the fabric. The gentle cycle provides a slower wash motion, reducing the risk of stretching or tearing the leggings. Avoid using the regular or heavy-duty cycle, as it can be too rough for most leggings.

Use Mild Detergent

Similar to hand washing, it’s crucial to use a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics. Avoid using too much detergent, as it can leave residue on the leggings. Follow the dosage instructions on the detergent packaging for best results.

Avoid Fabric Softeners

Fabric softeners may seem tempting to keep your leggings feeling soft and fresh, but they should be avoided. Fabric softeners can create a residue that affects the fabric’s breathability and elasticity. Instead, focus on using a mild detergent that will clean without compromising the leggings’ quality.

Drying Leggings

Properly drying your leggings is just as important as washing them to maintain their shape and color. Here are some drying methods to consider:

Air Drying

One of the best and safest ways to dry your leggings is by air drying. After gently squeezing out excess water, lay them flat on a clean, dry towel or hang them on a drying rack. Ensure that there is adequate air circulation to speed up the drying process. Avoid hanging leggings directly on a clothesline, as the weight can cause stretching or distortion.

Laying Flat

If you choose to lay your leggings flat to dry, make sure to shape them properly to avoid wrinkles or creases. Smooth out any folds and align the seams to maintain their original fit and appearance.

Avoid Sunlight

Direct sunlight can have damaging effects on the color and fabric of leggings, especially those made of delicate materials. To preserve the vibrancy and integrity of your leggings, it is best to dry them away from direct sunlight.

Machine Drying

While machine drying may be a convenient option for many garments, it is not recommended for leggings. The high heat and tumbling motion of the dryer can cause shrinkage, stretching, or potential damage to the fabric. Therefore, it’s best to avoid machine drying to extend the lifespan of your leggings.

Removing Stains

Stains happen, but they don’t have to ruin your leggings. Taking quick action and using the right stain-removal techniques can help restore your leggings to their original condition. Follow these steps to remove stains effectively:

Act Quickly

The faster you address a stain, the easier it will be to remove. As soon as you notice a stain on your leggings, act promptly to prevent it from setting into the fabric.

Pre-treat the Stain

Before washing, pre-treat the stained area with a stain remover or a small amount of liquid laundry detergent. Gently rub the stain remover into the fabric using a soft brush or your fingers. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to break down the stain.

Use Stain-Removal Products

For stubborn stains, consider using specific stain-removal products that are suitable for the fabric of your leggings. Follow the instructions on the product packaging, applying it directly to the stain and allowing it to penetrate the fabric before washing.

Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals

While it’s essential to remove stains effectively, it’s equally important to avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the fabric. Stick to gentle stain removers or natural alternatives that won’t compromise the integrity of your leggings.

Ironing and Steaming

Ironing and steaming leggings can help remove wrinkles and keep them looking polished. However, there are certain considerations to keep in mind to prevent any damage:

Avoid Ironing

In general, leggings do not require ironing unless specifically mentioned on the care label. Most leggings are made with stretchy materials that can be easily damaged by high heat. It’s best to avoid ironing altogether unless there is a specific need.

Use a Steamer

Instead of ironing, using a steamer provides a safer way to remove wrinkles from your leggings. Steamers gently release moisture, making it easier to smooth out any creases without applying direct heat.

Keep the Steamer Moving

When using a steamer, remember to keep it in constant motion to prevent excessive heat on a particular area. Move the steamer in a sweeping motion across the fabric to distribute the steam evenly.

Avoid Excessive Heat

If you do decide to iron your leggings, use the lowest temperature setting possible. Excessive heat can damage the fabric and cause it to lose its shape or elasticity. Always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure that the leggings can withstand the heat.

Storing Leggings

Proper storage is essential for maintaining the quality and lifespan of your leggings. Follow these tips to ensure they stay in excellent condition between wears:

Fold Them Properly

To prevent wrinkles and maintain the shape of your leggings, fold them neatly. Start by laying them flat and smoothing out any wrinkles. Then, fold in half lengthwise and fold again into thirds or quarters, depending on the size of your storage space.

Avoid Hanging

Hanging leggings can cause stretching and distortion along the waistband or seams. It’s best to fold them instead to maintain their shape and fit. If you prefer to hang them, use hangers with clips to minimize stress on the fabric.

Keep Away from Sunlight

Just as direct sunlight can fade colors when drying leggings, it can also cause fading when they’re stored. Choose a storage area away from sunlight exposure to preserve the vibrancy of your leggings for as long as possible.

Store in a Clean, Dry Place

Finding a clean, dry place to store your leggings is important to prevent any moisture or odors from affecting the fabric. Avoid storing them in damp areas or near moisture sources, such as the bathroom. Opt for a cool, dry space like a drawer or shelf.

Extending Lifespan

To maximize the lifespan of your leggings, consider implementing these practices:

Rotate Your Leggings

By rotating your leggings and not wearing the same pair every day, you can reduce wear and tear on individual pairs. This rotation allows the fabric of each pair to recover and maintain its shape for longer.

Avoid Over Washing

Leggings generally don’t need to be washed after every wear, unless they’re noticeably soiled or sweaty. Over-washing can cause unnecessary wear and tear, leading to a shorter lifespan. Instead, spot clean stains or use fabric fresheners to extend the time between washes.

Avoid Fabric Softeners

We can’t stress enough how fabric softeners should be avoided when it comes to leggings. Fabric softeners can leave a residue that affects the leggings’ breathability, elasticity, and performance. Stick to using mild detergents instead.

Handle with Care

When putting on or taking off your leggings, try not to yank them forcefully. Additionally, be cautious with sharp or rough surfaces that could snag the fabric. Handling your leggings with care will help prevent unnecessary damage and prolong their lifespan.

Quality Check

Regularly inspect your leggings for signs of wear and tear, such as loose threads or seams. Promptly repair any small issues before they worsen, ensuring that your leggings stay in good condition for as long as possible.

Tips for Special Legging Materials

Different leggings require different care. Here are some specific tips for various types of leggings:

Cotton Leggings

Cotton leggings are generally easy to care for. Follow the general washing guidelines, and avoid using excessive heat during drying or ironing to prevent shrinkage.

Synthetic Leggings

Synthetic leggings, such as those made of polyester or nylon, are known for their moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties. However, they can be sensitive to heat, so avoid high temperatures during washing and drying.

Leather Leggings

Leather leggings require special care to maintain their suppleness and appearance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which may include dry cleaning or using specific leather care products.

Mesh Leggings

Mesh leggings can be delicate, so it’s best to hand wash them to prevent snags or tears. Use a gentle detergent and avoid twisting or folding them during drying.

Velvet Leggings

Velvet leggings should be washed inside out to protect the fabric’s plush texture. Opt for hand washing or a gentle machine wash on a delicate cycle.

Preventing Common Issues

To keep your leggings looking their best, it’s important to be aware of and prevent common issues that may arise over time:


To prevent fading, wash your leggings inside out and in cool water. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight when drying or storing. Additionally, using mild detergents without optical brighteners can also help prevent color fading.


Pilling occurs when fibers rub against each other, causing small balls of fabric to form on the surface. To prevent pilling, turn your leggings inside out before washing. Avoid washing them with abrasive fabrics like denim or garments with zippers or Velcro.


Stretching can occur if leggings are pulled or tugged too aggressively during wear or washing. Handle your leggings gently and avoid using excessive force when putting them on or taking them off. Additionally, opt for air drying instead of machine drying to minimize the risk of stretching.


Sheerness refers to the transparency of leggings, which can make them appear see-through. To prevent this, choose leggings made with high-quality fabric density. If your leggings have become sheer over time, it may be time to replace them.

Loose Threads

Over time, loose threads may appear on the seams or edges of your leggings. Trim them carefully to prevent unravelling and further damage. Regularly inspect your leggings and address any loose threads promptly.

Properly caring for your leggings is key to maintaining their quality, appearance, and longevity. By following these washing, drying, storing, and maintenance tips, you can ensure that your leggings stay comfortable, functional, and stylish for numerous wears to come. Happy leggings care!

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Emma Davis
Hi there! I'm Emma Davis, a professional stylist and passionate about all things leggings. With years of experience in the fashion industry, I have developed a keen eye for trends and styles that flatter every body shape. My mission is to help women feel confident and comfortable in their leggings, and provide them with valuable tips and advice on how to make the most of this versatile wardrobe staple. As an expert in leggings, I have been featured in numerous fashion magazines and have worked with top brands in the industry. My expertise in styling and knowledge of fabrics and designs allows me to curate a collection of tips and tricks that will help you rock your leggings in any occasion, whether it's for a workout session or a stylish outfit for a night out. I understand that every woman is unique, and that's why I strive to provide inclusive and diverse content that caters to women of all shapes, sizes, and preferences. From outfit inspiration to finding the perfect pair of leggings for your body type, I'm here to guide you on your fashion journey. Through my website,, I aim to create a community where legging enthusiasts can come together to share their love for this versatile garment. Join me as we explore the world of leggings and empower ourselves to embrace comfort and style without compromising on fashion. Let's redefine the way we perceive leggings and unleash our inner fashionista! Stay tuned for exciting content, including style tips, outfit ideas, product reviews, and much more. Whether you're a leggings newbie or a seasoned fashionista, has something for everyone. Join me on this fashion adventure, and together, let's make leggings the ultimate wardrobe essential. Stay fabulous and legging-loving! Looking forward to connecting with you all!