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How to Wash Gymnastics Leotards

Gymnastics Leotard Washing Instructions Info Graphic


Your new leotard just arrived and you can’t wait to wear it. You want to make sure it lasts through competition season and beyond, so here are a few quick tips on how to care for your new leo.

Before you wear the leotard we suggest soaking it in a mixture of cool water mixed with white vinegar (1 tablespoon of vinegar per quart of water) for around 30 minutes. This will help prevent the dye from bleeding when you wash it after practice.

As soon as you get home from the gym, rinse or wash the leotard as soon as possible. If you’re unable to wash it right away, you should still give it a cool rinse to remove any sweat, deodorant and body oil, which can build up and damage your leotard. While it’s ideal to wash your leotard immediately, rinsing is a good idea for the short-term.

When you’re ready to start the gym laundry, forget about using the washing machine. Hand-washing is the only way to go. Leotards are made using high-performance fabric and are often embellished with accents like crystals or sequins; the washing machine, even on the delicate cycle, can aggravate the fabric and the decorations.

Fill your sink with cold water. While you might think hot water is best to get out the germs and sweat left behind, it can damage the fabric. Cold water and soap is all you need to get to your leotard clean and smelling fresh. But don’t use just any soap. Regular laundry detergent, whether it’s liquid or powder, is often too strong for our leotards and can cause marks and pulls in the fabric. While Woolite is the gold standard for hand washables, that doesn’t hold true for leotards. In fact, Woolite, as well as liquid fabric softener, breaks down the glue used to attach adornments, causing them to “melt” off the fabric. We recommend using a mild liquid laundry detergent like Ivory Snow.

Add about a quarter-sized dollop of soap to a sink full of water. Turn your leotard inside out before placing it in the sink, and use your hands to move it through the water. Keep the fabric straight, rather than bunched up, and use your palms to rub the soap into the leotard, from one end to the other. Once the leotard has been lathered up, remove it from the soapy water and rinse it clean with cool, clean water. Continue to rinse until all of the bubbles have cleared away. Be sure all of the soap is removed; if not, it could build up and cause damage to the fabric.

Next, lay a towel on the floor and place the leotard from the sink directly to the towel. Do not hand-wring your leotard to remove the moisture, because it can damage the fibers. Lay the leotard flat, roll the towel up and gently squeeze out the water. Then lay it flat dry. Don’t use the dryer, even on the “air only” cycle, and do not dry the leotard in the sun.