two people wearing compression socks

How to Wash Compression Socks Clean

Compression socks are popular for people who want to promote blood flow, reduce swelling, and prevent vascular problems. Compression socks are commonly recommended for athletes, pregnant women, frequent travellers, and recovering from surgery.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how to wash and maintain your compression socks to extend their life and effectiveness.

Why Should You Wear Compression Socks?

athlete wearing compression socks

Wear compression socks for various reasons, such as reducing swelling, improving blood circulation, and preventing blood clots. They support the veins, making it easier for blood to flow back to the heart. Regularly wearing compression socks can help alleviate discomfort and prevent various health issues.

What are Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings are similar to compression socks but extend up to the thigh or waist. They provide the same benefits as compression socks and are often recommended for people with more severe symptoms or conditions that require additional support.

The Importance of Proper Care for Compression Garments

Taking care of your compression garments is essential to maintain their effectiveness and prolong lifespan. Proper washing and drying techniques can help preserve your socks or stockings’ elasticity and compression levels.

How Often Should You Wash Your Compression Socks?

Anything that can help you with your health and provide you with a better experiences must be taken care of. Whether it is that snugly weighted blanket in your bed or your socks, washing your compression socks regularly is essential to keep them clean and fresh. Depending on the material and antimicrobial properties, you can wear compression socks 3-5 times before each wash. Regular washing also helps maintain the sock’s elasticity and support.

Machine Washing Compression Socks: Best Practices

Machine washing compression socks are a convenient way to clean them. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Launder with like colors
  2. Use cold water, gentle cycle
  3. Use a mild detergent without bleach
  4. Avoid using chlorine bleach, fabric softener, or dryer sheets

Hand Washing Compression Socks: Step-by-Step Guide

Hand washing compression socks is an effective and gentle method for cleaning your socks, preserving their elasticity and compression levels. Follow these detailed steps for the best results:

Step 1: Prepare the Washing Space Find a clean, small tub or basin for washing your compression socks. Ensure that the space is free of dirt and debris to prevent any damage to the socks during the washing process.

Step 2: Fill the Tub or Basin with Cold Water Cold water is recommended for washing compression socks, as hot water can damage the fibers and affect their elasticity. Fill the tub or basin with enough cold water to submerge your socks completely.

Step 3: Add a Mild, Bleach-Free Soap Select a gentle, bleach-free detergent to clean your compression socks without causing damage. Add a small amount of soap to the water and mix it in until it’s evenly distributed.

Step 4: Submerge the Socks and Mix the Detergent Place your compression socks in the soapy water, ensuring they are fully submerged. Gently mix the detergent and water with your hands, making sure that the socks are thoroughly soaked.

Step 5: Let the Socks Soak Allow your compression socks to sit in the soapy water for 5-10 minutes. This will help the detergent penetrate the fibers and remove dirt, sweat, and any odors.

Step 6: Gently Agitate the Socks After soaking, use your hands to gently agitate the socks in the soapy water. This will help dislodge any remaining dirt or debris. Be careful not to stretch or twist the socks, as this can damage the fibers and affect their compression capabilities.

Step 7: Rinse Thoroughly with Cold Water Once you’ve agitated the socks, it’s time to rinse them. Remove the socks from the soapy water and hold them under a stream of cold water. Make sure to rinse them thoroughly, removing all traces of soap. You can also fill the tub or basin with clean, cold water and submerge the socks, gently swishing them around to rinse out the soap.

Step 8: Remove Excess Water After rinsing, gently squeeze the socks to remove excess water. Be careful not to wring or twist the socks, as this can damage the fibers and affect the compression. Instead, gently press the socks between your hands or against the side of the tub or basin to remove the water.

Step 9: Hang to Dry Finally, hang your compression socks to dry. It’s essential to avoid using a dryer or exposing them to direct sunlight, as heat can damage the material and reduce the sock’s effectiveness. Hang the socks in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources, allowing them to air dry.

Following these detailed steps, you can effectively hand wash your compression socks, ensuring they remain clean, functional, and comfortable for continued use.

How to Dry Compression Socks Properly

To dry compression socks effectively, gently remove excess water and hang them to dry. Avoid using a dryer or exposing them to direct sunlight, as heat can damage the material and reduce the sock’s effectiveness.

Tips for Maintaining Compression Sock Elasticity

To preserve the elasticity of your compression sock, avoid exposing them to high heat and harsh chemicals. Follow the washing and drying instructions provided by the manufacturer and replace the socks when they lose their compression properties.

When to Replace Your Compression Socks

Over time, compression socks lose their elasticity and effectiveness. Replace your compression socks every 3-6 months or when you notice a significant decrease in their compression levels.

The Difference Between Medical Compression Stockings and Regular Compression Socks

A doctor typically prescribes medical compression stockings for specific medical conditions and provides higher compression levels. Regular compression socks offer similar benefits but at a lower compression level, making them suitable for everyday wear.

Advantages of Graduated Compression

Graduated compression is a technology used in compression socks and stockings to provide varying compression levels along the leg. It offers more support near the ankle and becomes looser near the calf, promoting better blood circulation and making them more comfortable to wear.

How to Choose the Right Compression Sock

Selecting the right compression sock is essential for comfort and effectiveness. Consider factors such as compression level, size, calf width, and style when choosing a pair that suits your needs.

Properly Putting on Compression Socks

Wearing compression socks correctly ensures maximum benefits. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or watch instructional videos to learn how to put on compression socks properly.

Can Regular Socks Replace Compression Socks?

Regular socks do not offer the same benefits as compression socks. Graduated compression is a medical technology that promotes blood circulation and prevents vascular issues, whereas regular socks do not provide these benefits.

Wearing Compression Socks for Specific Medical Conditions

Compression socks can be used to treat symptoms of various medical conditions, including:

  • Varicose veins and spider veins
  • Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
  • Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS)
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Shin splints
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Lymphedema

Do You Need a Prescription for Compression Socks?

You don’t need a prescription to buy regular compression socks. However, a prescription may be required for medical compression stockings, depending on the compression level and specific medical conditions.

The Importance of Consistency in Wearing Compression Socks

To experience the full benefits of compression socks, wearing them consistently is essential. Inconsistent use may result in diminished effectiveness and reduced health benefits.


Proper care and maintenance of your compression socks will help prolong their life and ensure they continue providing the support and benefits you need. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can keep your compression socks clean, effective, and ready to wear.

By maintaining a consistent washing and drying routine and replacing your socks when needed, you’ll continue to experience the many advantages of compression socks. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or specific medical conditions that may require a different type of compression.

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