Most dancers swear by the impact dancewear have on their attitude, mood, and performance whenever it’s time to perform. There is a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears that go into practicing and perfecting each move.
Every dancer wants that the dancewear that he has invested so much into lasts as long as possible, and should look "as-good-as-new" week after week at each practice. Fresh and clean dancewear is also necessary for class hygiene.
Whether practicing or performing, your expensive dancewear, dance costumes, and dance shoes need to be cleaned and cared for properly to make them last longer and save you the money needed to replace them.
The Golden Rule: Treat Your Dancewear as You would Treat Your Expensive Fragile Lingerie.
Let’s get into specifics of taking care of each category of your dancewear :
Earlier, leotards were made with normal knitted sports fabrics, but now they are created with high-performance materials. It needs special care to maintain their stretch and texture.
Leotards should be washed regularly- inside out- after each class- wash them by hand immediately after class by rinsing them with water and using washing gel in sweaty places.
Avoid dryers or warm heater, it may damage the elastane and cause disfigurement. Don’t use a clothespin, lay down flat to dry or hung on the clothes hanger. Take extra care of stretchy dancewear like this Bodywrappers Energy Team Metallic Shorts, as metallic threads are more delicate than regular fibers and could break or even tarnish during washing. Hand wash is the best option for the dazzling numbers.
Tights and leggings worn regularly start looking grungy and frayed, especially around heels and toes. Soak them in lukewarm water overnight and wash gently by hand with mild washing gel.
The washer may cause nits and runs, but if you have to, place them in a mesh bag and use a gentle cycle. Never use a hot dryer, and tumbling is not good for your tights.
Fix run in your tights- put on the tights, and gently paint both ends of the run using clear nail polish. Keep them on till the nail polish dries. Once the run is sealed, it will prevent the tights from splitting further.
These snug canvas bags are a great way to store your tights without getting them tangled in any of your other stuff. Mind your nails and jewelry too while wearing them to avoid getting your tights caught in them.
Shoes are your best buddies and since you are dancing and sweating in them, they get smelly and dirty very frequently.
All shoes -leather, canvas, cloth, satin or any other material, first try spot cleaning for stains and spots. If that doesn’t work, try hand-washing with appropriate cleaning agent- mild detergent for cloth/canvas and saddle soap for leather shoes.
It’s a great idea to wear the slippers when they are damp, to allow them to mold to your foot.
Never wear leather ballet slippers, leather pointe shoes or tap shoes near water as it can make leather brittle.
Suede leather soles attract dirt and grime like a magnet. Use appropriate suede leather cleaner, preferably after every wearing. Spray cleaning agent on a white cloth and wipe down the patent leather shoes to clean them.
Wash Canvas ballet slippers in the washing machine but make sure to use a small lingerie bag; using cold delicate cycle. Avoid fabric softener or bleaching agents.
3 Hacks for Too Sweaty or Too Grimmy Shoes
If your shoes are too sweaty or look too grimy, here are three hacks you can try.
1) Dust paper towels lightly with baking soda and pack your shoes with them. Let them air out for one day and repeat the process with fresh paper towels the next day. It helps in making your pointe shoes last longer!
2) If the washing has made your canvas ballet shoes dull, use a bit of matching foundation or pink tinted calamine lotion with a clean cloth or makeup sponge and dab at dull spots.
3) Soak your canvas ballet shoes in a bucket of lukewarm water for an hour and hand wash with mild washing gel. Use a toothbrush on hard to remove stains and dirty outsides. Towel dry.
Satin shoes have a tendency to fray so avoid them getting wet. You shouldn’t walk around in your dance shoes when it’s raining. Try and wear your dance shoes only during practice.
Heel protectors are a great option as they are placed on the tip of a shoe’s heel and protect heels from damage such as scuffing. Brush the soles of your dance shoes regularly with a shoe brush to remove dirt and debris and prevent material from wearing down.
Store your dance shoes in a cool, dry place, and never in a plastic bag to ensure proper airing and prevent premature damage.
Clip your toenails to avoid damage to the shoe. Use Pointe shoe covers during class to make to avoid staining Pointe shoes.
Sweat and dampness is the biggest enemy of your Pointe shoes as they are made of glue and fabric. Store your Pointe shoes in these elegant mesh bags available at On1Dancewear.com.
Tutus, Skirts, and Costumes
For ballet dancers, the tutu is a significant garment. To prevent crushing of simple tutus, hand wash with lukewarm water and a mild detergent are best. While rinsing shake gently and air dry. Remove any metal hoops, beads, sequins and trims etc before washing to avoid rust or breakage.
To retain wrinkles on wrinkled tutus, spray them with water and hang in the air to dry. Store Tutus, skirts, and other costumes made of delicate fabric neatly along with their matching shoes and accessories all in one place in these elegant garment bags.
Most costumes can be washed in cold water with mild detergent. Don’t wring, roll them in a towel to remove extra moisture, dry flat or air dry in shade. For costumes made of velvet, chiffon, leather or satin, a professional dry cleaner is advised.
Fabrics like cotton/polyester blends, nylon etc can be machine washed with low heat tumble dry. Delicate fabrics like lycra, spandex, tulle, cotton, linen or knits or embellished costumes should be hand washed.
Either way, “Go Gentle” is the operative word.
These are some tips and handy advice on cleaning practically everything that is dance related!
1) Look for the care label inside for the care and wash instructions for proper washing and storage.
2) Repair damage- like frayed tights- quickly to avoid replacing them.
3) Use the dancewear for what it is meant to be- especially children- to keep it in excellent condition.
4) Wash your Dancewear by hand wherever possible.
5) NEVER use hot water. DO NOT put them to dry in a dryer or hang near a direct source of heat like sunlight or radiators.
6) If the washing machine is a necessity, wash the delicate dancewear in a lingerie bag or mesh bag to avoid snagging.
7) Moisture and sweat build up in dance bags, so make sure you air out your supplies, even if the bag has mesh sections like this elegant duffle bag which comes as a separate “wet” pocket.
8) Have multiple pairs of dancewear that you could alternate- you could double the lifespan and won’t get bored of it!
9) Keep your dancewear organized -cleans and dirty ones should be separated. This Covet Dance "I Didn't Choose Dance" Duffle Bag serves the purpose just right!
10) Watch that soap! Your detergent matters- no matter what people have been doing, alkaline soaps don’t distinguish between fabric and food/sweat/dirt – it just viciously attacks everything. Alkaline detergents cause faster wearing out of clothes.
11) Don’t wear the stretchy stuff all day. If you are hopping from one activity to another, it might be easy to use your dance clothing like tights under your regular clothes, save time and changing easier. But it will wear out the stretch in your dancewear faster.
12) Delicate costumes like this elegant “Stained Glass” worship dress should be worn with care while putting on and taking it off, be sure you don’t over stretch and use it delicately.
13) You dance hard and so work up a sweat- it's most natural and perfectly okay! Just make sure that your outfit is completely dried before you put it away in a drawer or closet. Damp clothes mean mildew, smell and hard to remove stains. Use foam deodorizer or moisture absorber in your bag and shoes at all times.
14) Avoid cramming your garment into a small space, it needs to breathe, kept in a dry location away from sunlight- organize them better with this Dream Duffel Short Garment Bag
On1Dancewear is not all about looking good in dancewear, but also about taking care of it so your favorite dancewear looks and feels its best.
Follow these tips, tricks, and hacks for taking care of your dancewear – make sure it maintains its great looks and feel great each time you wear it!
What’s YOUR best dancewear caring and cleaning trick? We’d love to hear about them all in the comments!