Knowing how to wash a knee brace properly is key to prolonging its life. This also ensures the garment works as intended. Now, there are three different ways to do this, each having distinct advantages over the other.
See, spraying and wiping offer the fastest way to clean one. Meanwhile, machine washing is less of a hassle to do than hand washing, but may not be suited for all types of knee braces.
Below we'll give all the necessary steps so you can wash your knee brace on whichever method you plan to use. Tap on the links below to quickly jump into each section:
1) Using a disinfectant spray and wipes
This speeds up the cleaning process since you don't really need to prepare a ton of things.
It's also the easiest and most convenient. You can use this method to clean your knee brace even while inside your car or at the office.
However, one drawback is that it doesn't give a satisfying deep clean, especially in those hard-to-reach areas around your knee brace.
Pick this method if you plan to clean your brace/sleeve but don't have enough time to do so thoroughly.
So how do you do it?
All you need are your knee brace, a deodorizing and disinfecting spray, and wet wipes. Follow that up by:
Lay your knee brace on a flat surface and take off any removable parts.
Spray the entirety of your knee brace on both its inner and outer linings.
Wipe around the fabric, pads, and straps.
Let it air dry for a few minutes.
2) By hand
This method is probably the best way to clean and maintain the integrity of the materials of your knee brace.
You can also do some deep spot-cleaning on areas where sweat, moisture, and dirt tend to accumulate.
Just be cautious about the type of laundry detergent you use, as some could cause contact dermatitis. This usually looks like red rashes or scales that form around the hand area. (1)
Wearing rubber gloves or using milder forms of detergent may help prevent this condition.
So how do I get started?
Remove any detachable parts and gather your cleaning materials, like a bucket, mild detergent, and towel. Then do the following:
Fill half of the bucket with warm water (hot water could damage the fabric).
Add a teaspoon of mild detergent and mix it with your hand.
Soak your knee brace inside the bucket.
You can let it sit for 10 minutes or knead the fabric to remove any dirt.
Rinse the brace by draining and filling the bucket with clean water.
Do not wring the brace. Instead, use the towel to press out excess water.
Hang and leave the brace to air dry.
3) Via machine wash
Using a washing machine makes your life easier and saves time to do other tasks.
You can pop the knee brace inside the washer and do your exercises while the machine does all the cleaning.
However, most braces cannot be cleaned using this method. You'll find this info on your knee brace's washing instructions. Check it first before you proceed.
I'm good to go - what should I do now?
Remove any detachable metal bars or hinges as this can damage your washer. Do these next steps right after:
Place your knee brace inside a mesh laundry bag before putting it inside the washer.
Set your machine in a gentle cycle.
Adjust the temperature so that it'll fill with cold water.
Put in some mild detergent but avoid applying fabric softener and bleach.
Once it's done, let your knee brace air dry.
Other tips to keep your knee brace clean
It doesn't take much time and effort to keep your knee brace in top condition, just do the following:
Schedule a cleaning period
This prevents your knee brace from being a breeding ground for bacteria and dirt, especially if you frequently wear one.
We recommend that you clean after every sporting event or labor-intensive work like gardening.
For those using it as part of their daily wear, we suggest deep cleaning your knee brace every week.
Avoid folding your knee brace
I know it's tempting to do this to save some space inside the closet. But folding and piling clothes on top of your brace could lead to creasing that can rub and irritate your skin.
So I say that you should just hang your knee brace or sleeve so it retains its overall snugness and fit around your leg.
Spot treatment when necessary
Certain spots around the knee brace attract more dirt and stain than others. This can lead to a foul odor and an unsightly appearance if you'll just leave it there until the next cleaning cycle.
You should, instead, spray and wipe problematic spots right away to keep things nice and tidy.
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions
Some types of braces and sleeves have delicate materials that require specialized cleaning instructions. This can sometimes include only using cold water or washing on a delicate cycle.
You can find these instructions on the packaging or the manufacturer's website. Follow these thoroughly to prolong the lifespan of your knee brace.
Can I wash my knee brace in the washing machine?
Check the packaging to see if you can wash your knee brace in the washing machine. If yes, then also inspect if there are removable parts you have to take off before doing so.
How do I get the smell out of my knee brace?
Using a mild detergent, soapy water or disinfectant sprays can get the smell out of your knee brace.
How do you wash a knee brace sleeve?
Going by hand, sprays, and the washer are some of the more effective ways to wash a knee brace sleeve.
Conclusion: How to clean a knee brace
Cleaning a knee brace is easy as long as you have the right tools for the job. You can just wipe away the stains, clean them by hand or use your reliable washer to get things done.
If your knee brace or sleeve comes with a set of cleaning instructions, please follow them properly.
Litchman G, Nair PA, Atwater AR, et al. Contact Dermatitis. [Updated 2022 Sep 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459230/