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The Dos and Don'ts of How to Wash Leggings Properly

Since the 2010s, leggings have become a must-have wardrobe staple for many of us - and it’s not difficult to see why! They're versatile, comfortable, and perfect for everything from workouts to casual outings - it’s certainly not difficult to come up with new leggings outfit ideas!

However, when it comes to maintaining the longevity and quality of your leggings, proper care is essential. Washing leggings might seem like a straightforward task, but there are dos and don'ts that you should be aware of to ensure they stay in great condition. So, how do you wash leggings correctly? Let’s take a look.

How Often Should You Wash Leggings?

One of the first questions that often comes to mind is, "How often should you wash leggings?" The answer depends on how frequently you wear them and what activities you engage in while wearing them. In general, if you wear your leggings for light activities like running errands or lounging around the house, you can get away with washing them after every 3-4 wears. However, if you wear them for intense workouts, it's best to wash them after each use to remove sweat and bacteria that can cause odor and break down the fabric.

Washing Leggings: Expert Guide

So, when you do wash your leggings, what’s the best way to ensure you do so without damaging the fabric? Here are our dos and don’ts:


  • Use Cold Water: Always wash your leggings in cold water. Hot water can damage the elastic fibers in the fabric, causing them to lose their stretch and shape over time.
  • Use a Mild Detergent: Opt for a gentle, mild detergent specifically designed for delicates or activewear. While you might be tempted to do so, avoid using fabric softeners, as they can leave a residue that makes your leggings less breathable and less effective at moisture-wicking.
  • Empty the Pockets: Yes, you read that right! Some leggings do come with pockets now, so you’ll always want to ensure you empty them before washing. Don’t have pocket leggings but want to try them out? Take a look at our pocket leggings collection over on our website - they’re functional, fun, and versatile for any occasion!


  • Use Bleach: Never use bleach when washing your leggings; bleach can break down the fibers in spandex fabric and cause them to deteriorate quickly.
  • Wash with Rough Fabrics: Avoid washing your leggings with abrasive materials like jeans or items with zippers, as they can rub against the delicate fabric and lead to pilling or snags.

Can You Put Leggings in the Dryer?

a person pouring fabric conditioner in a washing machine

One common mistake people make when washing women's leggings is simply tossing them in the dryer once they’re out of the machine. While it may be tempting for the sake of convenience, heat can be damaging to the elastic fibers and spandex found in most leggings, so you’ll want to avoid this. To extend the life of your leggings, it's best to air-dry them by laying them flat on a clean, dry towel - this not only helps them maintain their shape but also prevents them from shrinking.

How Many Times Can You Wear Leggings Before Washing?

The frequency at which you wash your leggings largely depends on how you wear them, as well as your comfort level. If you're wearing leggings for light activities like running errands or working from home, you can typically get away with wearing them 3-4 times before washing. However, if you're using them for more intense activities like workouts, it's advisable to wash them after each use to prevent the buildup of sweat, oils, and bacteria. Wearing leggings with sweat build up can lead to rashes and body acne due to the compressed nature of the fit, so always have a fresh pair ready for your next workout.

How to Hand Wash Leggings

Handwashing your leggings is a gentle alternative to machine washing, which can help extend their lifespan. Here's how to do it:

  • Fill a basin or sink with cold water.
  • Add a small amount of mild detergent designed for delicates or activewear.
  • Submerge your leggings in the water and gently agitate them by swishing them around for a few minutes.
  • Allow them to soak for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Gently rub any stained or soiled areas with your fingers. Do NOT use bleach.
  • Rinse the leggings thoroughly with cold water until the soap residue is gone.
  • Gently press the excess water out of the leggings, while taking care to avoid wringing or twisting them.
  • Lay them flat on a clean, dry towel to air dry. And voila, you’re done!

Hand Washing or Machine Washing: Which is Better for Leggings?

When it comes to washing your leggings, the choice between handwashing and machine washing pretty much boils down to convenience, the fabric of your leggings, and your own personal preference. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, but the right choice may vary depending on the specific leggings and your lifestyle:

Machine Washing

If we’re honest, machine washing is the more convenient option for most people. It's quick, requires less effort, and can handle larger loads of laundry. For leggings made from sturdier materials, such as cotton or thicker spandex blends, machine washing is generally safe.


Handwashing, on the other hand, provides a more gentle approach to cleaning your leggings, and is particularly suitable for delicate or high-end leggings made from materials like nylon, Lycra, or moisture-wicking blends, which can benefit from the extra care.

Plus, one of the advantages of handwashing is that it allows you to spot-treat any stains or soiled areas more effectively. That being said, it does require more time and effort compared to machine washing, which can be a drawback for those with busy schedules. Ultimately, the best washing method for leggings comes down to what’s best for you, and the spare time you have when doing your laundry. While handwashing is beneficial, machine washing gets the job done too - just make sure to follow our steps above for the best results.

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1 comment

  • Stacey

    After washing my black leggings Several times the dye is still transferring onto things like my phone case my nails, my shirt, how can I keep this from happening?

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