Compression socks are a special type of stocking that requires proper care and maintenance. Whether you’re an athlete using compression socks to optimize your training, wearing a compression sleeve to recover from surgery or reduce symptoms of edema or simply want extra comfort, support and circulation to your lower limbs, getting a pair of compression socks is a calculated investment. And with anything you put a little more money and thought into, you tend to appreciate it that much more. Here are some compression gear care tips and tricks that will ensure that your garment is in tip-top shape to help you to its best ability.
Place on Clean, Dry Skin
The thicker and longer fabric of compression socks can call for a bit more effort to put on when compared to the ordinary sock. Be sure that they are placed on clean, dry skin to make them easy to slip on. Not only does this ensure that unnecessary dirt doesn’t get trapped within the sock as it covers your lower limbs, it also prevents any irritation from moisture that could collect. If you have trouble putting the sock on, a quick hack is to dust some Gold Bond powder onto your feet and calves to soak up any extra moisture and allow the sock to slip on smoothly.
Reduce Stiffness in New Compression Socks
A fresh pair of compression socks that have never been worn are an exciting thing to have. After you’re done looking at and admiring your new gear, it’s time to put them on. You might find that they are a bit stiff at first—like a pair of jeans that have just come out of the dryer. To wear them in slightly, try washing them—either by hand or on the gentle cycle of your washing machine. This will help break in the fabric and relax the strands a bit so that they’re ready for your first wear.
Opt for Hand Washing Compression Gear
In order to extend the life of your compression socks, opt to hand wash them and lay them out to dry. This helps them avoid unnecessary roughness from washing machines and dryers and gives you the ability to control the amount of pressure used to scrub the fabric. The fibers that make up compression socks are a special synthetic blend that need to be handled with extra gentle care.
Wash with Gentle Detergent or Soap
While we’re on the subject of optimal care when it comes to washing socks, be sure to also use gentle laundry detergent or light soap. Choose detergent that is baby-safe if available. Not only does this avoid breaking down the fabric with harsher chemicals, it is also more ideal for your skin. Even the slightest amount of residue that’s left on your sock can irritate the skin that it surrounds due to its close proximity. By avoiding stronger detergents that are made with harsh chemicals, you not only protect the lifespan of the sock but also your skin.
Have an Extra Pair of Compression Socks on Deck
Buying one pair of compression socks is the first step, but getting an extra pair to have on deck is the key to consistently experiencing the benefits of compression gear. Compression socks should only be worn once daily. This helps to ensure that the socks are clean and do not collect bacteria. By having an extra pair to swap out while the other is being washed, cleaned and laid out to dry, you ensure that you can consistently have better blood circulation and in a clean sock that’s ready to work for you.
Replace Annually for Optimal Performance
Depending on how much you wear your compression socks, you should be cognizant of how often to replace them. The fabric blend that’s used in the compression design is specially woven to apply a specific amount of compression to the targeted areas of your body. Over time, this fabric will naturally wear down. And while that may be acceptable for regular socks, you’ve invested in this special type of sock for a purpose—and that’s to improve circulation in your limbs. For optimal performance, the sock should be replaced at least every year and a half. Think of it as a water filter—the whole point is for it to perform a specific task and the more you use it the less efficient it gets.
Avoid Improper Stretching of Fabric
Try not to yank your compression socks on if it is avoidable. Remember, the way compression socks are designed are so that they can apply a certain amount of compression pressure on your limbs to achieve an increase of blood flow, provide support during movement and reduce symptoms like swelling. When you stretch the fabric, it can slowly but surely decrease the function of the sock.
Compression Socks from PRO Compression
Now that you know how to properly care for compression socks, it’s time to get a pair and experience all the great benefits of graduated compression technology. PRO Compression has a wide collection of compression socks for men, women and kids to choose from. Shop our collection and see what a difference compression gear can make in your life.