How to Care for Your Compression Stockings
Although they are garments appropriate for everyday wear, compression stockings are important pieces of medical “equipment”. Unlike ordinary stockings, they require a bit more care and attention. Medical-grade graduated compression wear items are designed to alleviate your symptoms of fluid accumulation due to lymphedema.
They are important components of your treatment and their effectiveness depends on proper care. Appropriate care will ensure your stockings remain effective as long as possible. It will also help reduce the chance you will develop skin problems or infections.
Some manufacturers note that you may notice, at first, that your hosiery squeezes your ankles. This is a desirable design feature, as it encourages fluid return out of your swollen lower extremity tissues and back toward the heart. Some patients may find this sensation slightly uncomfortable initially.
Garment makers suggest easing into your therapy by donning stocking for just a few hours at a time, at first. Gradually increase your wearing time as you grow accustomed to these sensations, until you are comfortable wearing your stockings for as long as your healthcare provider recommended.
- Periodically check your compression wear items for wrinkles. Wrinkling is to be avoided, as it may be counter-productive.
- Doff (take off) your compression hosiery before retiring for bed each evening.
- Don (put on) your stocking immediately upon rising in the morning, before your legs have time to begin swelling.
- Resist the temptation to skip wearing your stocking on occasion. They are an important part of your therapy, and must be worn consistently in order to be maximally effective.
- Stockings are washable. Wash by machine or by hand on a regular basis.
- To wash by machine, place your garments in a mesh bag before washing on the gentle cycle. The bag will help protect your hosiery.
- Use only the minimum amount of mild detergent recommended by your washing machine’s manufacturer. Today’s high efficiency machines work best with relatively small amounts of appropriate detergent.
- Do NOT use chlorine bleach when washing your stockings.
- Do NOT use fabric softeners.
- For best results, hang to air dry.
- Consider purchasing an extra set so you can easily wash and dry one pair while wearing the other. Consistent wear is an important part of your therapy.
Cleaning and Care
If your stockings feature no-slip/better-grip silicone bands, be sure to turn them inside out before laundering. Consider washing this band by hand to be sure any lotion or powder is removed before machine washing.
Your garments are durable and made using the finest materials and craftsmanship. They will however, begin to deteriorate over time with repeated use and washings. Proper, diligent care will help extend their life, but it’s important to assess the integrity of the material from time to time. Garments such as stocking or arm sleeves will probably need to be replaced every three to six months with continuous use.
Check your garment’s manufacturer label for guidance regarding additional or garment-specific care instructions.