If youve just signed up for dance class then youve probably just bought or are about to buy a dance leotard. By learning to dance, this new piece of dancewear will be getting a great deal of use so you need to know how to take the best care of it so it lasts as long as possible.
First of all, make sure you keep any care tags that come with the leotard. These can be printed on a label thats sewn to the inside of the garment, on the fabric on the inside of the leotard itself, but occasionally you may find them on the cardboard tags attached to the garment when you purchase it. You should keep these in case they differ slightly from these instructions.
When your leotard needs washing, try not to get it mixed up with your other dirty laundry, as this will help ensure that stains from your other clothes dont transfer onto your leotard. If you do find any marks or stains on your leotard you should try to get these out before you give it a full wash. Its common to get sweat stains on your leotard as a result of strenuous dance classes so be sure to check under the arms. If there are any stains or small marks, its possible to spot-clean these with a stain removal stick or gentle pre-wash liquid according to the directions of the product. Leaving a drop of neat washing detergent on the stain for a few minutes can work equally as well.
The washing instructions on your dance leotard may instruct that you can machine-wash the garment. However, taking a little extra time to wash your garment by hand will take better care of the fabric that its made from. If your leotard has any metallic threads or foil effects such as glistening or hologram fabrics then repeated washing of the garment will quickly dull the leotard. Washing such a fabric in the washing machine will speed up this dulling of the garment. If youve recently bought a competition dance leotard then its definitely not recommended to put this in the washing machine! These leotards are often made to order, more expensive than a regular leotard and carry more sentimental value. Its therefore a better idea to carefully hand wash these to prevent fading or excessive wear.
When you hand wash your leotard, us a mild detergent such as a non-bio and avoid using any fabric softners as this can damage the fabric. Use at least enough water to completely cover the leotard. If youre unsure, more water us usually better than less. Once your dance leotard is submerged in the water, squeeze the soapy water through the fabric for a couple of minutes. Unless there is a stain that requires a little gentle rubbing, avoid rubbing the fabric against itself or anything else.
Once youve finished washing the leotard, the next step is to rinse it in clean water. Gently squeeze the fabric to make sure that all signs of detergent are removed and that the water runs clear. When squeezing your leotard, make sure that you do not wring or twist it as this will pull the garment out of shape. Any surplus water still remaining in the garment after this process should be removed by squeezing the leotard in a towel.
To dry your leotard, you can hang it out but it will hold its shape for longer if you lay it flat. If you do choose to hang it outside, then make sure that it is out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.
Quick tip: If you do not have the time to hand wash your leotard and you want to wash it in the washing machine, wash on a delicate cycle with plenty of water. As soon as the cycle has finished, remove the leotard from the machine to dry.
I. Evans is a resident writer for Dance Gear Direct Ltd., a UK company specialising in competitively priced quality dance wear. Visit http://www.dancegeardirect.co.uk/ for more information about ballet shoes and jazz shoes.