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How To...

How to Wash and Care for Leotards

Interested in extending the life of new leotards? Here are some tips on how to give dancewear a little special loving care during cleaning.

Although it seems to be the most convenient method, washing leotards in the washer and dryer with the rest of the laundry is not always the best option.

The best way to clean leotards is to wash them by hand. Don’t worry, this does not mean it will take many long hours to do your wash. The few extra minutes spent washing by hand will be well worth it and can extend the life of leotards by months.

Here’s how to get started. If stubborn stains exist, first spot-clean the garment with a stain treatment. Next, fill a clean sink with cold water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Use enough water to submerge the entire leotard until it is soaked through.

To clean, squeeze the soapy water throughout the leotard fabric. If the leotard is especially soiled, let it soak for an extra 10-15 minutes for a thorough cleansing.

Next, rinse the leotard with cold water until no more suds appear. Do not wring the leotard. Use a towel to squeeze the leotard and remove excess water.

Refrain from putting the leotard in the dryer, even if you don’t have the time to wash by hand. A dryer can damage the leotard’s elasticity and reduce any moisture wicking qualities contained in the fabric. Instead lay it flat to dry. Be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight and away from any windows or heat vents to prevent color fading.

By following the simple steps above, your leotards will retain their color and shape throughout the entire dance season.

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About Kristen

Kristen Padden has more than 20 years experience working as a dance choreographer, educator, and performer. She received a BA in Dance from Point Park University and enjoyed a professional career in New York City following college. "The art of dance is a wonderful form of creative expression and I love sharing that with students of all ages." Kristen also enjoys writing, especially about her favorite subject ... dance!

2 Responses to “How to Wash and Care for Leotards”

  1. On July 9, 2011 at 8:48 am Laurie responded with... #

    Soaking new dark colored cotton lycra leotards in a laundry tub of cold water: 1 cup vinegar mix for a few hours followed with the above washing helps to set the colors. The leotards do not fade nearly as quickly as those which have not had this done.

    • On August 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm admin responded with... #

      Thanks for the additional tip Laurie!

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