Guide to compression arm sleeve care

It doesn’t matter which reason you use compression arm sleeves, to make them last while still offering the level of compression they were designed for they need to be well taken care of. When compression arm sleeves are worn, especially for long periods of time they will stretch out, most notably in and around the elbow. Not only do arm sleeves stretch during wear, salts and oils from your skin will build up in the fibers of the sleeve when worn. If not removed, these byproducts of perspiration will degrade the compression sleeve fibers over time. Regular washing of your compression arm sleeves will keep them in tip-top condition.

The typical life expectancy of a compression arm sleeve with daily wear is 6 months, but could be significantly longer if you use them only for sports and/or wear them for shorter periods of time. The lifespan of any compression arm sleeve can further be increased by utilizing several different pairs so that each sleeve is only worn every other or every third day at most. This will allow the elasticity of the fabric to return the sleeve to its original shape and size.

The most important thing you can do to lengthen the life of your compression arm sleeve is to wash it daily, or between each use if not worn on a daily basis. Manufacturers have their own specific washing and care instructions, and you should follow them, but below is a general guide to compression arm sleeve care.

Compression arm sleeves can be machine or hand washed. In either case always use a mild/Delicate detergent such as Ivory soft. Detergents should be free from bleach, chlorine, fabric softeners. Using any detergent containing bleach will reduce the lifespan of the sleeve. Fabric softeners should also be avoided. The washing water temperature is important to keep within a certain range, typically between 87 and 104 degrees F. Placing the sleeve in a mesh bag will help to protect it and always use the gentle cycle.

Hand washing procedure

  1. Fill a vessel or sink with water
  2. Dampen sleeve in water
  3. Add small amount of detergent
  4. Let sleeve soak
  5. Without stretching, rub the fibers of the sleeve together gently
  6. Empty the vessel and refill with water, rinse the sleeve. Gently rub the fibers together to rinse out salts, and oils. Empty and refill the vessel again, rinse compression sleeve.  
  7. Dry sleeve as indicated below

Drying compression garments can be done in the dryer or left to air dry. If using a dryer it is extremely important not to use any heat. First turn the sleeve inside out and tumble dry on cool.

To air dry simply place the sleeve on a towel. To speed drying try rolling the sleeve in a towel and gently squeezing the towel, then unrolling and allowing it to dry. Do not wring excess water out of compression sleeves, as this will stretch the fibers. If you plan on using a drying rack be sure to place the sleeve on towel on a drying rack so that the sleeve will not stretch out. Be sure not to hang any sleeve to dry as the water in the sleeve will add weight and it will become stretched. Also do not dry in the sun, UV light will damage the fibers in the sleeve resulting in a reduction in compression over time.

When to get a new sleeve?
Replace when the sleeve no longer returns to its original shape after washing or when it has holes in the sleeve or if starts to be easy to put on and doesn’t feel compressive when it is worn.

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