For Parents Truth behind washing drying leotards

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Okay, so up to this point i have washed and dried all my dd's leos. But there is an alpha factor foil one i want to buy but the tag says DO NOT WASH.

So my question for those more experienced in leotard cleaning. Do you wash/dry your leos. Are there some you do and some you dont? Have you had any problems with certain brands?

I just dont want to buy a leotard i have to worry about getting thrown in the wash :)
Sep 19, 2008
I've never met a leo I couldn't wash in the machine! Rhinestones, foil, and metallic thread/embroidery will dull fast with machine washing though. If you don't want to hand wash it, turn it inside out when you toss it in the machine. I hang them up to dry on the shower rod.

If shrinking looks imminent, have DD put it on when it's still slightly damp. Just damp though, not super wet because she'll have to keep it on til its dry. Just have her do homework in it or something. I started doing that with DD's canvas ballet shoes after washing, it works for leos as well. I wouldn't ever risk washing a competition leo though, too expensive to mess up, plus the special order factor makes them a pain to replace quickly.
Feb 4, 2008
Region IV
I throw everything in the wash. Right now, my washer has a handwash cycle. Turn the garment inside out and throw it in. Before I had handwash, I used the delicate cycle, still no problems. Don't dry in the dryer, though, as the heat damages elasticity. Like Linsul, I put all the leos on hangers and hung them on the shower rod to dry.


Proud Parent
Mar 1, 2007
I'm with you on the hand washing thing. I am scared to death to ruin a comp leotard. Right now I have my DD's brand NEW comp leotard hanging up not washed yet. She wore it last weekend and now I am scared to wash it. I saved the instructions though becasue this year we replaced our GK with an Alpha factor andI wanted to make sure I got it right.

So...right from the tag..

Turn the garment inside out
Machine wash individually w/mild detergent on gentle cycle in large volume of cold water
Immediately after spin cycle, hang on thick coat hanger to dry (BTW, who has these hangers anymore, LOL)
NO handwashing
No machine drying
No ironing
No bleach, fabric softener or woolite

Now, my theory w/the hand washing is that I hate to waste a whole cycle for one tiny little leotard...and my washing maching has one heck of a spin cycle too. We have red, white, blue, foil in some spots, rhinestones in other areas of this leotard...I guess I just have to go by the directions and do it since DD needs it for next weekend.


Proud Parent
Mar 9, 2008
Wonder why it would say "no handwashing":confused:. Maybe they mean not to twist & wring it??? I would think hand washing & hanging to dry would be safest. I always used the handwash cycle, lots of water & Ivory Snow liquid baby laundry soap in my traditional washer...never had a problem. But my new washer is a Whirlpool Cabrio...I cannot choose the amt of water it adds. It's High Effeciency (like a front loader). Uses less water than traditional washers & special HE detergent. I'm nervous about throwing a competition leo in it. My plan was to wash it by hand when the time came:(. Anyone use a HE (low water)washer???

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
Blackie, I'm with you on doing a special load of laundry for a couple of leos. I have not ruined a leo yet by handwashing in mild soap. I just flip them inside out and let them soack for 2-3 minutes, take them out and throw them over the shower to dry. Most of my gymmie's leos are the metallic kind and they seem to hold up quite well to this kind of washing.
Oct 2, 2007
I know of someone who found out why they say "no hand washing." Apparently, the spin cycle keeps the fabrics from bleeding. The leotard in question had light and dark fabrics next to each other. The dark bled onto the light as it was drying. They never could fix it. :(

Personally, I've had great luck (as others have said) on the delicate cycle with the leotards turned inside out. I do also wash them alone just in case there might be something in the load that might snag them.
Sep 19, 2008
When I handwash I use the kitchen sink. Just clean it out, use one side for the soapy part, and the other side to rinse. If there's a dirty part I just rub the fabric together gently, then let it soak for a few. For the soap I just rinse out the liquid detergent dispenser cup into the soapy side since a little goes a long way.

Having the other side soapless and right next to the washing side is pretty convenient for the rinsing. After it starts rinsing clear with no bubbles, lay it flat and press parts to get the excess water out instead of wringing it out. The only bad part is running from the kitchen to the closest bathroom with a shower, I always manage to drip a lot still lol.
Jan 22, 2008
I machine wash all of DD's leo's wrong side out in cold with mild deterg. I do not use fab softner though. I tend to launder them with the DS under armours. I do dry all of them on low adn I haven't had any troubles. All of our foils are still shiney. I will not launder the comp leo though. I will only wach the bottom part by hand washing just because they have white on them and I have seen the blue bleed on them. So that i just what I have been instructed by a friend. No food or drinks but water while in comp leo. That is just me though


:(. Anyone use a HE (low water)washer???[/quote]

I use my HE front load washer for competition and practice leos and have never had a problem. I hang them to dry, as others have said.


I wash mine in the washing machine on the delicate cycle and actually put them in the dryer on the low heat setting. I've heard some people have had issues with color bleeding if they hung them to dry. DD's competition leo was red and white and the people who hung them had issues - those of us who immediately put them in the dryer on low heat didn't have any issues.
Feb 26, 2007
All of ours go on the delicate wash and I hang them to dry. I did have one suit that bled, ticked me off and I sent it back! Comp leo seems to do fine, but I wash it after each meet, mind you they only do 3 they grow out of their comp leo's well before they wear them out.
Anyone use a HE (low water)washer???

I have a Maytag Neptune front loader that senses how much water to use based on the size of the load. I usually wait until I have about 7 leos before I do a load. I turn the leos inside-out and wash on the hand washables cycle with a small amount of Dreft. Sometimes I program an extra rinse just to be sure that all of the soap is rinsed out. Then I put them in the dryer on air fluff (no heat).

Blackie6, thank you for posting the Alpha Factor washing instructions. I have been searching for our tag (I put it in a safe place & now can't find it:mad:) for the last two weeks. I knew Woolite & fabric softeners were No-Nos, but I couldn't remember if there were other detergents that were also on the list. Thank you! Thank you!!

I'm worried sick about washing the comp leo. I've already seen the aftermath of one not washed correctly. :eek:

Wish me luck and good luck to all of you too!


Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2008
Region 7
Up until last yr I had a plain old washer. Now I have a HE washer. I have always washed and dried all leo's in the same load as the kids regular clothes (I do separate loads for each child). I've never had any problems with foils or rhinestones, however, with their last comp leo that was a cheapo stock leo from GK, I did notice that the metallic threads on the sleeves have gotten less shiny.


Proud Parent
Mar 1, 2007

You are so welcome for the directions. This was the first Alpha Factor leo for us so I did make sure I saved the instructions! because this new leo has so many different BOLD colors (red, blue and white) I am so scared of washing it. LOL, my DD has her meet on early Sun morning and I still didn't wash it. I am also scared of possible "aftermath".
Jul 26, 2008
On the ones I make, I tell people to wash inside out, cold water on the gentle cycle, tumble dry low or no heat. Do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets.


Fabric softeners and dryer sheets tend to leave a residue behind that dull the shine on foils/holos. Not using them eliminates this.

Cold water is easier on the elastic fabrics.

Hanging to dry can lead to stretching of fabrics and can also lead to color transference if you have a combination of light & dark fabrics (particularly pinks & reds). Throwing them in the dryer on low/no heat dries them quicker and seems to stop the bleeding that may occur when two wet fabrics sit touching for a while.

Will you ruin a leo by just washing like you do everything else? No, probably not. I don't worry about it when one of ours doesn't get separated out and ends up in the regular load - that's life, and they are workout leos!! DD's comp leo gets treated with more care (obviously!).

I PERSONALLY think handwashing is too much work. LOL


My dd's competition leo is Alpha Factor with foil, rhinestones, etc. It has a combination of dark color and white. I wash it in the machine by itself in cold on a high water setting, turned inside out. Immediately take it out and hang dry. So far no problems!!
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