Care and Keeping - Making Your Dancewear Last Longer

11:08 AM

Okay, I have a confession to make.

I'm wearing the same pair of tights today in class that I wore in high school. (*hides face*).

Most of them have zero holes, and they still hold their stretch. (though they're a bit rough around the crotchal region. But hey, skirts, right?)

Also, my leotards are the same ones I wore through high school... and the pink one in this video? That belonged to my ballet teacher when she was in high school, and she gave it to me while I was in high school. That leo has been through some sweat!

If you take care of your dancewear, it'll last you a long time (including your pointes!). Here are some tips on keeping your dancewear clean and in good condition so you get the longest use out of it possible.

While you're at it, check out Dancewear Solutions! They have 20% off sitewide and free shipping (in US) with code Fireworks!

dancewear, washing dancewear, how to wash your dancewear

Thanks for visiting! Just so you know, my blog contains affiliate links, which generate commission for me off your purchase. All reviews are 100% my own opinion. Any item featured may have been received free in exchange for promotion or review, but does not in any way affect my review.


Rule #1 - Your detergent matters. 

Did you know that for the past... FOREVER... people have been washing clothes with soap made from alkalis? Alkalis don't distinguish between fabric and food/sweat/dirt/etc stains, it just viciously attacks everything. If you use an alkalis-based detergent, your clothes will wear out faster and become dingy quicker.

The lint screen after washing with alkalis soap vs enzyme soap. Less lint = fewer clothing fibers destroyed!

Try using an enzyme-based detergent that dissolves and lifts dirt from the fabric without damaging it! The detergent I use is plant-based, highly concentrated, and comes out to $0.16 per load (whereas most storebought detergents are anywhere from $0.25-$0.50). Let me know if you'd like the link!

Rule #2 - Elastic doesn't like heat.

Wash your tights, leos, and elastic headbands in warm water, not hot. Always hang them to dry instead of putting them in the dryer.

Hang your dancewear to dry instead of putting it in the dryer! This helps retain the elasticity of the fabric.

Rule #3 - Wash it in a bag. 

Washing your delicate dancewear in a lingerie bag or mesh bag helps keep it from snagging on anything in the wash! I like these open mesh bags because the water and soap get in just fine, but they still protect my clothes.

Did you know you can wash leather shoes? Just don't put them in the dryer or they'll shrink! Also, avoid using fabric softeners on them, as that will make them slippery.

Rule #4 - When washing shoes, don't put them in the dryer. 

Shoes are often best washed by hand with lukewarm water and a magic eraser, but ballet leather and canvas shoes can be thrown in the wash as well! Just make sure you stuff them with paper towels and put them on top of the dryer rather than putting them inside. They will shrink up a lot!

*also, don't use fabric softener in the load, it makes your shoes slick!

Rule #5 - Don't forget to wash your dance bag, too! 

You wash your dancewear, but do you wash your dance bag? Your bag will get nasty over time. If you can't wash it, make sure to empty it completely, vacuum/shake it out (outside!) and wipe it down with a rag and some disinfectant, and don't forget to put some Odor Eaters in there!


Rule #6 - Check your nails and jewelry before putting on your tights. 

This seems obvious, but I picked a brand new pair of tights because it caught on my nail one time. And they were my nice Zarely tights! #devistated.

Rule #7 - If you get a pick on your tights, DON'T PULL IT. 

You can literally leave it there and nothing bad will happen. It will only be a problem if you pull at/on it. You can also put a dab of clear nail polish (hint - get it at the dollar store!) or fraycheck on the pick to keep it from getting worse. This is a great tip for young dancers.

Rule #8 - Even though it's more convenient, your dance clothing will last longer (especially the stretchy stuff) if you don't wear it under your regular clothes all day. 

Some dancers like to wear their tights/leo under their regular clothes during the day, to make changing easier and faster when it's time for dance. Unless you have less than 10 minutes between an academic and dance class, there's no reason to do this, as it will wear out the stretch in your dancewear faster.


Rule #9 - Let your stuff (bag, shoes, skirts) air out between uses.

Sweat and moisture will build up in your dance bag, so it's important to let your supplies air out, even if your bag has mesh sections. Moisture will break down your shoes and will make your skirts nasty!

Rule #10 - Keep a deodorizer or moisture absorber in your bag and shoes at all times. 

Here is a handy tutorial on how to make an awesome shoe deodorizer. Make a few of them, and keep one in each shoe, and a few in the bottom of your dance bag! You can also take those Silacone packets that come in new shoes and new handbags and put a few of those in your dancebag (though I wouldn't do this for young children).

One method, that I call "moisture packing," involves taking paper towels lightly dusted with baking soda and packing your shoes with them. Let them air out for one day, then pack them for another day to absorb any other moisture in the shoe. This is awesome for making pointe shoes last longer!

Rule #11 - Have multiple pairs of shoes that you alternate. 

Especially for jazz and pointe shoes, this helps shoes last way longer! Between alternating, moisture packing, and letting them air out, your shoes could double their lifespan!

Rule 12 - Keep your dancewear organized in a way that separates the dirty from the clean. 

Try to avoid "the chair" or "the pile of not quite clean but not quite dirty." If it's too dirty to put back in your closet with your clean clothes, then it's dirty enough to be washed. This isn't really a tip to help you keep your dancewear nicer longer, but it does make everything easier to find.

And a bonus lucky #13 - Wash your skirts once in a while too! Put them in the tub with some of that special soap I mentioned above and swish them around. You will be amazed at how dirty they get!

Check out my articles on DIY De-Stink Spray, Odor Eaters, and Keeping Dancewear Organized!

Don't forget to follow my Pinterest board on all my favorite leotards, costumes, warmups, and dancewear!

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