Compression garments

When you need to replace your garment

Compression garments last about six months. Depending how often or how long you wear the garment, you may need to replace it before or after the six months.

Do not throw away old garments unless they no longer fit right. You can still wear them if you do messy activities.

How often garments should be washed

Wash the garments about every two to three days (when they look soiled or lack their elasticity). Washing the garment helps make the fabric elastic again.

How to wash the garments

Put the garment in a mesh bag. Set your washer to the delicate or gently cycle (in lukewarm water). Do not use bleach or fabric softener. Use a mild detergent. Special washing solutions are available.

To dry, put the garment on a towel and press firmly until almost dry. To finish drying, lay the garment flat on a towel or sweater rack. Do not put garments in the dryer or hang them on an outdoor clothesline.

Helpful hints when putting on your garment

  • Rubber gloves: Wearing rubber gloves will make putting on the garment much easier. They let you grip the fabric easily and let you smooth out the garment with little effort. Gloves also protect the garment from runs and snags caused by fingernails and jewelry.
  • Slip-on aids: A slip-on aid is available for arm, leg and foot garments. It is made of a smooth, silk-like material that lets you pull the garment over your hand/foot and heel easily. To use, you slip the aid over your hand/foot and insert your foot into the garment. When the garment is on, remove the slip-on aid through the foot area. A special lotion (made of small silicone beads) is also available as a slip-on aid for arm and leg garments. To use, you rub a small amount of lotion on your arm or leg. This makes the garment slide on easily.
  • Proper fit: It is important to notice that the fabric is woven in straight lines. After putting the garment on, make sure that all rows of seams and stitches run up and down your leg or arm. Use your rubber gloves to smooth and straighten the fabric. Make sure the lines travel straight from your ankle to thigh or from your wrist to upper arm.
  • Leg and foot guidelines: It is a common mistake to over-stretch the garment while putting it on. This can loosen the compression in the ankle and calf areas and cause binding (creasing) in the knee or thigh areas. The garment gives you different compression at different points. There is more pressure at your ankle and less at your thigh. The fabric usually shows closer knit at the ankle and calf and appears more stretched at the knee and thigh. If your garment always bunches up behind your knee, it is likely overstretched. To fix this, work the fabric down to the calf and distribute it evenly.
  • Adhesive lotion: Sometimes, the garments slide down your arm or leg. Sliding or rolling of the fabric can cause the garment to not work right. You may find it irritating to have to readjust it often. You can use adhesive lotion to fix this problem. The adhesive washes off your skin and out of the fabric easily with soap and water. To use, put on the garment, turn the border over and use the roll-on applicator on your skin just above the edge of the garment.Apply the lotion in a few spots. (You may need more.) Rotate where you put the beads of adhesive. This will help keep your skin from becoming irritated. Wait three to four minutes for the lotion to dry so it becomes tacky. Turn the garment border back around the perimeter until it sticks.
  • Skin moisturizers and lotions: The fabric in some garments won't work well with lotions.