How To Care For Stretchy Lycra Clothing

Lycra, also known as Spandex or elastane, is made of a fiber blend that allows clothing to easily stretch and move with your body. Found in all types of clothing items, such as shirts, pants, tights, and even underwear, Lycra is loved for its comfort and body-hugging fit.

Many people wear Lycra clothing items, including athletic leggings and moisture-wicking tank tops, to exercise, but the stretchy fabric can help make everyday wear more flattering and comfortable as well. Lycra stretch fabric is designed to stay in place and not bag out at the elbows, knees, and other areas of the body.

You can find Lycra in both children's and adults' clothing, in everything from casual to dress and work wear. It's also easy and convenient to take on trips as you can easily fold it to fit into compact spaces, as stretch fabric is typically designed to be wrinkle-resistant.

In addition to being durable, comfortable, and stylish, Lycra pieces are generally easy to care for and maintain. To keep the stretchy clothing items looking and performing their best, it's important to follow a few simple rules. Here are some tips to consider.

1. Washing and Drying

Unless a clothing item's care label specifically recommends handwashing, you can wash your Lycra pieces in the washing machine on either on the cold-, cool-, or warm-water setting. Avoid using hot water to wash the stretchy fabric, which can damage the fibers over time.

You can place any delicate Lycra items, such as a bra, underwear, or swimming suit, in a mesh lingerie bag prior to washing them for extra protection. Wash the stretchy fabric on the machine's gentle cycle and avoid using harsh detergents or chlorine bleach.

If you need to remove stains, you may be able to use an oxygen beach-based cleaner, depending on what the item's care label states. Also patch-test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric prior to covering a larger area. 

Either air-dry the Lycra clothing pieces or dry them on the dryer's lowest-temperature setting. Avoid placing the items in the direct sun.

2. Storage 

You can either neatly fold your Lycra clothing items in a drawer, place them on a shelf, or hang them in a closet. Be sure to use padded hangers as sharp corners could cause the fabric to stretch out into unsightly bulges.

If a piece is particularly heavy, such as a beaded or embellished dress, consider folding it so the Lycra doesn't stretch out while hanging.