How to Wash Knee Sleeves

Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves have grown in popularity in recent years, and they’re also a good investment for anyone who suffers from knee pain.  

However, there is a lot of contradictory advice on how to care for them.  We’ve compiled a simple guide to help you keep your knee sleeves in excellent condition.

One of the main pieces of advice we can categorically say will keep your knee sleeves usable for years is to wash them regularly.  Not only will it keep the knee sleeve looking like new, it may also save your relationship with your significant other who will appreciate not receiving wafts of what can only be described as rotten socks mixed with expired yoghurt. 

In this article we will go through a step-by-step guide on how to wash knee sleeves without destroying them.

How to Wash Knee Sleeves

How to Wash Knee Sleeves – Tried and Tested methods. 

Knee sleeves are great for a whole range of activities, but they can be a bit of a pain to keep clean. Don’t worry though, once you know how, it’s easy to wash knee sleeves and get them in perfect condition again.

There are many suggestions out there for how to wash knee sleeves, but we are going to go through the methods we have personally used to get those knee sleeves clean and odor free.  

Hand Washing your Knee Sleeves

The first method we are going to use is the good old manual method of washing your knee compression sleeves – by hand.  

hand washing knee sleeves

You are going to need the following:

  • Bucket (or empty sink)
  • Hot water 
  • clothes washing detergent

This method is really simple.  We recommend using this method when you have limited space in your home and/or you don’t have a washing machine.  We are going to soak and rinse the knee sleeve to clean and deodorize the material. 

To hand wash your knee sleeve, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a bucket or sink with warm water.  You should fill to a depth of water that will comfortably cover the knee sleeves. 
  2. Add a capful of clothes washing detergent or soap to the hot water and swirl/swish around so you can no longer see the detergent. 
  3. Place the knee sleeves into the water detergent mixture and ensure they are covered.  You may find the sleeves float.  This is ok – you can simply come back every 15 minutes and move the knee sleeves around so all parts of the sleeve are continually wet. 
  4. After 45 – 60 minutes of soaking, rinse the knee sleeves under fresh tap water and wring out as much moisture as possible.  
  5. Hang out to air dry.  

Machine Washing your Knee Sleeves

machine washing knee sleeves

This version of how to wash knee sleeves is very similar to the hand washing method, however there is an added step at the end to include your knee sleeves in your regular laundry.  

We find this helps to get any deep set stains out of the sleeves, as well as provide an overall deeper clean. 

We recommend using this method for particularly smelly knee sleeves, or if you haven’t had a chance to clean your sleeves for a long period. 

You are going to need the following:

  • Bucket (or empty sink)
  • 1 Gallon of water (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • washing machine
  • mild detergent or laundry detergent (not dish soap)

To hand wash your knee sleeve, follow these steps:

  1. Follow steps 1 – 4 of the hand washing method (above) except instead of laundry detergent, use 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1 gallon (3.79 liters) on water.   The vinegar is great of neutralizing any odors that your sleeves may have collected during use. 
  2. After you have soaked your sleeves, wring out any excess water and include them in your regular load of laundry on a gentle cycle setting.  If possible, use a warm water wash on your laundry cycle to provide a more thorough clean.  You can disgard any excess water.
  3. Now simply hang your sleeves out for air drying.  

What NOT to do When Washing Your Knee Sleeves

Now, there are a few things to avoid when people first start looking at washing your knee sleeves. 

Here is a quick list of how NOT to wash knee sleeves:

  • DO NOT place the knee sleeves in the dryer!  The neoprene fabric that most knee sleeves are made from will lose its elastic properties and you will find yourself buying another pair of knee sleeves.
  • DO NOT bleach your knee sleeves! You may think bleach is the first go-to solution for fixing those smelly sleeves.  However, most knee sleeves use fabric coloring and using bleach will discolor your sleeves.  The harsh chemicals may also alter the elasticity properties of your sleeve, making them become loose and slip while you are running or training. 
  • DO NOT use a heavy-duty setting on your washing machine.  Heavy-duty settings can frey or damage your knee sleeves, which will inevitably shorten the lifespan of your sleeves. 

Other Products to Use for How to Wash Knee Sleeves

Below are a couple of other products we have found useful for cleaning your neoprene sleeves:

Final Thoughts on How to Wash Knee Sleeves

You wouldn’t wear a month old set of workout clothes to the gym – so why would you wear a sweaty knee sleeve that hasn’t been cleaned?

Cleaning your knee sleeves should be a regular part of your maintenance of your gym/running gear.  With the easy step-by-step guidelines we have provided above, you can quickly establish a regular cleaning regime that will keep you working out odor free (with no embarrasing smells!).