10 surprising ways you’re ruining your leggings without even knowing it

by PageFly Collaborator

10 surprising ways you’re ruining your leggings without even knowing it

Leggings and activewear are made for sport so they must be indestructible right? Unfortunately not 😞 This is a very common misconception that leads to many of us ruining our leggings without even realizing it.

While yes, your leggings and activewear are made to perform during exercise (sweat-wicking, compression, etc.), the technical fabrics are actually quite delicate and need to be carefully washed and used if you want them to last. Many of us care for our activewear in the same way we care for our cashmere and wool sweaters!

Here are 10 of the most common mistakes that you might be doing that are ruining your leggings:

#1 You’re washing your tights in warm/hot water

You’ve probably heard that clothes don’t get clean in cold water, well its time to be told that this is not true. Leggings and most activewear are often infused with elastane/spandex/lycra – the expensive stuff that makes your leggings stretchy and comfy.

Now, elastane and heat are not friends. In fact, elastane gets severely damaged when exposed to heat resulting in a loss of elasticity, saggy fabric, and worst of all, pilling.

It’s best practice to cold wash your leggings with the gentle/hand wash cycle in your machine or hand wash the old school way (as you would with your cashmere pieces). Also, try to find a washing detergent that works best in cold water.

#2 You’re not washing your tights inside out

Washing your leggings inside out is crucial for two reasons. First, it ensures that your leggings’ exterior isn’t exposed to unnecessary abrasion in the wash so they hold their look longer. This is crucial if you want to avoid fabric piling on your leggings!

Second, the inside of your leggings gets exposed to the most sweat and yuck stuff. Turning them inside out ensures you keep em fresh.

#3 You’re not washing your leggings separately, but together with high lint items and different fabrics

Look, I get that it’s tempting to throw all your same color clothes in the same wash. I mean it’s all black, its all good right? Not good.

Washing your spandex infused leggings together with rough fabrics such as denim or towels is a sure way to ruin your tights and welcome pilling. The softness of leggings can easily be ruined by rough fabrics, zips, and buttons.
Instead, you should wash your same colored activewear together.

Some of us even wash our leggings in a delicates bag.

#4 You’re using the tumble dryer…

Never ever tumble dry your tights, leggings or elastane infused activewear. NEVER! We’ve already mentioned how Elastane/spandex/lycra and heat do not get along.

The dryer is perhaps the worst thing you can ever do to destroy your leggings. Please avoid.

We recommend that you hang dry your activewear at room temperature on a drying rack.

#5 You’re exposing your leggings to too much heat (sun and drying cupboards)

In the Nordics, we love our drying cupboards or rooms. Again, high heat and leggings do not mix well. Please avoid if you want to prolong the life of your tights!

#6 You’re coming in contact with or sitting on rough surfaces

For those who have experience with track and field, you know what I’m talking about. Excessive friction on rough gym floors, running tracks, concrete, wood etc. is a sure way to say goodbye leggings and encourage pilling or worse, rips. This is also why you need to avoid velcro which will pull your leggings to bits, so keep velcro far away from your tights.

So when it’s time to do a core workout at the gym or box, we recommend that you use a mat to avoid unnecessary friction. Doing situps or hip raises on the gym floor is like rubbing your fabric on sand paper….

#7 You’re using too much detergent

By now you probably realize that the synthetic materials that make leggings and activewear are pretty sensitive. Using heavy detergents, and too much of it can quickly break down the fabric and encourage piling. Try to use more sensitive detergent and you don’t need too much of it!

#8 You’re using softener

Softener should be avoided as it adds a wax-like layer to your leggings. This layer of stuff reduces your leggings’ ability to wick moisture and get clean. Worst of all, the wax-like layer produced by the softener attracts bacteria growth, which can cause nasty smells.

#9 You’re leaving your sweaty leggings in your bag

We all know what happens when you leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher for too long…it stinks! Leaving your leggings in sweat, oils, salt is saying hello to bacteria growth and nasty smells. Always air dry your used activewear ASAP.

#10 You’re using the wrong tights for your activity

I often find people ruining their leggings from this overarching mistake. Most fabrics are designed for certain activities. For example, super soft and brushed/peached fabrics feel amazing but are usually less resistant to friction. I find many of my friends complaining about pilling, but then I find out they are using their soft peached yoga leggings during ab workouts at CrossFit ON THE ROUGH FLOOR…this goes back to point #5.

So there we have it folks, 10 things that you might be doing to destroy your leggings. Now that you know, please take care of your beloved activewear 🙏🏽

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