Wrist wraps get used more than any piece of equipment, and they do not take very long to get dirty and are very smelly.
Once your wrist wraps have trapped enough of your sweat and gym dirt in them, and you can start to smell their stink wafting out of your gym bag and lingering on your wrists after a gym session, it’s time to wash them.
- Know the manufacturer’s instructions for washing wraps. Most brands recommend that you hand wash their wrist wraps in lukewarm water with a gentle cloth and detergent, and then leave them to air dry.
- If machine washing, place your wrist wraps in a laundry mesh bag or cinched pillowcase to avoid tangled wraps and ruining your delicates.
- Generally, you should wash your wrist wraps every 1-2 weeks, but this can be less or more frequently depending on your type of workout, how often you wear them, and how much you sweat.
2 Methods To Wash Your Wrist Wraps
Like most articles of clothing or training gear, there are 2 main methods of washing your wrist wraps: washing them by hand or machine-washing them.
1. Washing Wrist Wraps By Hand
Many experts (including myself) recommend only washing your wrist wraps by hand.
We’ll dive deeper into how to do this later, but just know that this method requires some soapy water or detergent, a clean cloth, and a few extra minutes in your day.
1. Longevity. The main pro to washing your wrist wraps by hand is that it will almost always increase their longevity.
Machine washing can be quite hard on your wrist wraps, especially depending on the material that they are made out of. This means that hand washing your wrist wraps can keep the velcro intact, keep them stiffer for longer, and helps them retain their intended shape.
Because of these benefits, you may want to hand wash your wrist wraps if you want to hold onto them longer.
2. Better Results. More often than not, giving your wrist wraps a good hand washing will deliver better results than simply machine washing them.
This is mainly because hand washing your wraps is a more individualized, labour intensive process than simply throwing them in the machine like any other article of clothing.
If your wrist wraps are particularly pungent, or you just really value them and want to provide the best care possible, you may want to hand wash them to provide maximum results.
1. Time. The main con to hand washing your wrist wraps is the extra time associated with doing so.
Clearly, taking the time to make a soapy washing solution and properly scrubbing each wrap will take longer than throwing them in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry.
2. Cost. If you crunch the numbers, you may find that washing your wrist wraps by themselves in their own cleaning solution is much more expensive than throwing them in with your laundry.
While this cost may be minimal on an infrequent basis, it can add up over time and is something to consider.
Washing Wrist Wraps Using A Machine
The other obvious method of washing your wrist wraps will be to toss them in the laundry machine with other articles of clothing.
1. Speed. The biggest advantage of machine washing your wrist wraps is the element of speed and efficiency.
Rather than committing to hand wash them, you save yourself time, energy, and effort by simply throwing them into your next load of laundry and moving on with your day.
2. Consistency. As is the case with most activities that can be done by hand, or by a machine, the machine is more consistent.
While you may get a more intense wash doing it by hand, machine washing your wrist wraps is going to give you a more consistent experience.
As long as you find that machine washing your wraps gets them to the level of cleanliness and odourlessness as you need, it might make sense to use the laundry machine and get the most consistent wash possible every time.
3. Less Expensive. In contrast to the con of hand washing your wraps mentioned above, machine washing your wrist wraps will almost always be less expensive.
You simply have to place them in the washing machine with a load of laundry that you were going to do anyway, so you are incurring literally no extra cost to wash your wraps.
1. Longevity. The modern washing machine can be rougher on your wrist wraps compared to hand washing them. This means that machine washing can decrease the longevity of your wraps.
This con mainly depends on the fabric that your wrist wraps are made out of. Typically, the more flexible wraps made out of elastic and polyester are more susceptible to damage over time.
Whereas stiffer wraps made out of rubber and less polyester may be more durable and can stand up to a machine wash.
2. Damage to Your Laundry. In addition to potentially damaging your wraps, washing your wrist wraps in the laundry can damage your other articles of clothing.
This con is primarily due to the velcro straps that most wrist wraps have. This velcro is very unforgiving on most other fabrics, and can lead to some unwanted consequences if you don’t place your wraps in a laundry bag.
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How To Wash Your Wrist Wraps
Hand Washing Wrist Wraps: Step-By-Step
Step 1: Gather Your Items
First, you need to gather all the items that you will use to wash your wrist wraps. This includes laundry detergent, a clean and non-abrasive cloth, gloves, and a large bowl or sink.
Step 2: Fill Your Container with Warm Water
Next, you will fill your container with warm water. I usually use my sink, as this is easiest. However, if your sink stopper does not hold water well, any large bowl will do.
Check your specific detergent’s label, but most recommend using lukewarm water as it is the best for removing stains and dirt. Be careful with the temperature, as very hot water will scald you and may put your wraps at higher risk of shrinking.
Step 3: Mix the Detergent in the Water
Next, mix the detergent in warm water and make sure that it has fully dissolved.
Follow the instructions on the package when deciding how much of the mixture to use for your volume of water.
Step 4: Clean Your Wraps with a Clean, Non-Abrasive Cloth
This is pretty simple.
After you have made the solution and submerged your wraps in soapy water, use your clean cloth to rub the cleaning solution all over the wraps.
At this stage, I recommend putting on gloves to save your hands from any damaging chemicals.
Step 5: Rinse and Squeeze Your Wraps
Once you feel like your wraps have been adequately cleaned, make sure to thoroughly squeeze out any excess water residue.
This will help them dry faster and will reduce the risk of any leftover detergent irritating your skin later on.
I never twist or stretch the wraps when I am squeezing them out. This can damage the wraps by pulling fibers out of the fabric and weakening their intended shape.
Step 6: Air Dry Your Wraps
I always recommend air drying your wrist wraps in a temperature-controlled, shaded area.
Direct sunlight may work faster, but that exposure can shrink the material of your wrist wraps, similar to machine drying them.
Machine Washing Wrist Wraps: Step-By-Step
Step 1: Attach the Velcro
The first step of washing your wrist wraps in the laundry machine needs to be attaching the velcro strips together.
You do not need to fully wind up your wraps, but having the two loose ends connected will save you the trouble of untangling your wraps after their wash.
Further, velcro can be very damaging to other articles of fabric in the laundry machine. Attaching the loose ends reduces your risk of the velcro catching on and fraying the rest of your clothes.
Step 2: Place Your Wraps in a Laundry Bag
A pro tip is to always use a laundry bag when washing your wrist wraps in the laundry machine.
Using one of these is what allows you to throw your wraps in the wash with the rest of your clothing, as it will completely eliminate the risk of the velcro on your wraps ruining your more delicate clothing items.
If you do not have a laundry bag, you can simply place your wrist wraps in a pillow case that you can cinch shut with a hair tie or rubber band.
Step 3: Wash on Cold
Always wash your wrist wraps when you are using the laundry machine.
I noted above that most powdered detergents are designed for warm water, but that does not need to be followed when using the laundry machine.
Instead, cold water will reduce the risk of your wraps shrinking, and will be less likely to break them down over time so that they can retain their shape and stiff support.
Step 4: Air-Dry, or Use Machine Dryer (Be Cautious)
If you have the time, I would recommend skipping the machine dryer and instead opting of the air dry approach that I described above.
Air drying puts your wraps at much less risk of damage; however, if you want to machine dry, be sure to check the drying instructions on your wraps to make sure that they are able to be placed in your laundry dryer.
Remember that some fabric may shrink when using the laundry dryer, so this will greatly depend on the specific wrist wraps you own and the manufacturer’s instructions.
5 Considerations For Washing Wraps
The biggest consideration that you need to take into account when washing your wrist wraps is simply knowing what they are made of.
Most companies use some blend of elastic, rubber, and polyester in their wrist wraps.
This variability of materials is the main determining factor that changes whether the brand allows for machine washing, or may recommend hand wash only.
As such, the provided care instructions and material of the wraps should be your guiding beacon when deciding how to wash your wrist wraps.
As a great example, the Gymreapers Wrist Wraps - 18” Weightlifting Wrist Support has specific washing instructions that state you should only hand wash them with gentle soap, and they should be left out to air dry.
A further consideration is the temperature of the water when washing your wrist wraps.
As stated above, you often want to hand wash in lukewarm water, but should only machine wash in cold water.
This is a good rule of thumb, but I always recommend reading both the care instructions on your wrist wraps and on your specific detergent to make sure that you are covering all of your bases.
Type of Detergent
Any laundry detergent should suffice when washing your wrist wraps, but it is clear that some detergents are more up to the job than others when it comes to removing gym germs and unwanted scents.
I recommend any laundry detergent that specifically brands itself as a “sports” detergent. Typically, these are the best detergents for tougher gym products that may be dirtier and stinker than your average load of laundry.
Again, as mentioned above, you need to be aware of the velcro on your wrist wraps when washing them.
The best way to keep the velcro intact, and avoid damaging other clothes with it, is simply to hand wash your wrist wraps.
Otherwise, always be sure to attach the two ends of the velcro straps and place your wraps in a laundry bag when machine washing.
By Themselves, or In a Load of Laundry?
A final consideration is whether or not you will wash your wrist wraps by themselves, or in a regular load of laundry.
As I stated above, two of the main benefits of washing your wraps in the machine is that you are saving both time and money. Placing them in their own separate load kills both of these benefits.
As such, I recommend placing your wrist wraps in a regular load of laundry. This will ensure you keep those time and cost savings, and there will be no risk of ruining your laundry as long as you use a bag or pillowcase.
If you are concerned about your wraps not getting the cleaning they deserve in your regular load of laundry with normal detergent, you can implement the detergent tip mentioned above and do a separate load of all your gym gear at once.
This means that your wrist wraps, and all of your other gym essentials, can be washed together in a special “sports” detergent, which will give them the wash they deserve and still be efficient enough to save you time.
How Often Should You Wash Your Wrist Wraps?
This will really depend on a variety of factors, including what you use your wrist wraps for, their material, and your own hygiene.
A general rule of thumb is to wash them about once a week, or every 4-5 uses. This is generally acceptable, as the wraps shouldn’t be washed too frequently (this will reduce their lifespan) but should be washed well before they noticeably stink.
As a personal example, I use my wrist wraps for powerlifting workouts in which I don’t sweat as much as most people in the gym. On top of that, my wraps are very stiff and do not absorb moisture as much as some more flexible wraps.
Accordingly, I only wash my wraps after every 12-15 sessions, but I would wash them much more if I were moving and sweating as much as a CrossFitter or Olympic Weightlifter.
How Long Do Wrist Wraps Take To Dry After Washing?
This question really depends on what drying technique you employ.
If your wrist wraps are safe to machine dry, you can expect them to be dry and ready to use in 30-50 minutes.
However, if you air dry your wrist wraps after hand washing them, I typically recommend waiting 8-12 hours. You want to make sure that they are fully dried out before using them again, to avoid breaking down the material or trapping the detergent chemicals within them.
Personally, I usually wash my wraps before bed the day before a rest day. This takes a very small amount of planning and gives them plenty of time to fully dry out before using them in my next training session.
Can You Iron Your Wrist Wraps?
I do not recommend ironing your wrist wraps.
As I stated above, the heat from machine drying or direct sunlight exposure is often enough to ruin the shape and structure of your wrist wraps, so ironing them would be quite a lot worse.
I suppose that if the washing instructions of your wrist wraps specifically state that they can be machine dried on high, or ironed, then you can attempt it. However, I do not see a scenario where this will be necessary.