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How to Wash a Knee Brace: Your Guide to Washing Knee Braces

If you’re looking for support and relief from knee-related injuries, pain, and discomfort, a knee brace is likely your best friend. Whether you use a knee brace to prevent injuries when you workout, or to help in your healing or rehab from surgery or an existing injury, you’ve likely wondered how to wash a knee brace at some stage. 

Keeping your knee brace clean is important in making sure it lasts for years to come, stays hygienic, and continues to deliver therapeutic benefits. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at everything you need to know about washing knee braces, to help you keep your brace well-maintained and working properly. 

As well as explaining how to clean a knee brace safely, we’ll also offer up some tips and advice for general knee brace care and maintenance to help you extend the lifespan of your brace and protect your investment. 

Why Washing Knee Braces is So Important

Regularly washing your knee brace is not just a matter of personal hygiene; it plays a critical role in maintaining its effectiveness and ensuring optimal performance. Here’s why learning how to wash a knee brace is so important. 

Health & Hygiene Implications: The Consequences of Neglecting Knee Brace Cleaning

Wearing a knee brace can create an environment that’s both sweaty and ideal for bacterial growth. Over time, this can lead to unpleasant odors, skin irritation, and even infections. Neglecting regular cleaning and allowing sweat, dirt, and bacteria to build up on the brace's surface can compromise its integrity and may even pose a risk to your health. 

Performance Factor: How a Clean Knee Brace Improves Its Effectiveness

A clean knee brace functions more effectively and offers better support to your injured or vulnerable knee. By maintaining a fresh and hygienic brace, you can ensure its longevity and optimize its performance. A clean knee brace also feels more comfortable!

Many knee braces, especially compression sleeves, rely on a snug fit to provide adequate compression and support. When dirt and sweat accumulate on the brace's surface, it can lose its elasticity and fail to offer the desired level of compression. Regular cleaning helps preserve the brace's tightness, promoting better circulation and support to the injured area.

Can You Wash a Knee Brace Without Damaging it, Though?

Can you wash a knee brace without causing any damage, or will knee brace shrink in the wash?  You might wonder if cleaning could potentially harm or compromise your brace's functionality. Let’s see whether that’s really the case.

Will Knee Brace Shrink in the Wash?

Many people washing knee braces wonder, will a knee brace shrink in the wash? Many knee braces are made from materials like neoprene, which can be prone to shrinking under certain conditions. While some knee braces may have washing instructions that prohibit the use of hot water or high-heat drying, not all knee braces are susceptible to significant shrinkage. 

As long as you learn how to wash a knee brace carefully and follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions for your knee brace, you don’t need to worry about your brace shrinking, even if it’s made from materials that can be prone to shrinking when not treated properly. 

Concerns Over Damaging Knee Brace Velcro, Hinges, and More

Another common worry is whether washing knee braces will damage their integral components, such as Velcro straps, hinges, or other support structures. Luckily, most high-quality knee braces are designed with durability in mind, and proper washing techniques can help preserve these vital elements.

The Good News? Learning How to Wash a Knee Brace Properly Avoids These Problems!

The best way to make sure you don’t damage your knee brace is to learn how to clean a knee brace properly. By adhering to the manufacturer's cleaning instructions and taking a few precautionary measures, you can keep your knee brace clean and functional for an extended period.

How to Wash a Knee Brace to Eliminate Odor Without Compromising its Function

Let’s talk about how to wash a knee brace properly, without causing any damage or affecting its functionality. Follow these steps for washing knee braces to keep your brace smelling fresh and working properly. 

Preliminary Steps: Removing Detachable Parts, Checking Material Guidelines

Before washing your knee brace, make sure you remove any detachable parts, such as hinges or metal inserts. Check the manufacturer's instructions to ensure these components can be separated for cleaning, and whether there are specific instructions for how to wash a knee brace with hinges. 

Make sure you verify the material guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Different knee braces are made from various materials like neoprene, fabric, or elastic. For example, learning how to wash a Breg knee brace isn’t the same as how to clean Donjoy knee braces, due to different materials and manufacturer guidelines between Donjoy vs Breg products. 

Understanding the specific material your brace is made of will help you choose appropriate cleaning agents and methods.

Cleaning Agents: What's Safe to Use on Your Knee Brace

When selecting a cleaning agent, opt for a mild detergent or soap. Avoid harsh chemicals, bleach, or fabric softeners, as they can damage the brace's materials and irritate your skin. A mild detergent will effectively remove sweat, dirt, and bacteria without compromising the brace's integrity.

If your knee brace has a strong odor, you can also use a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar to help neutralize the smell. Dilute the vinegar solution and gently wipe the brace with a cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly with water to remove any residual vinegar. 

Washing Steps: Hand-Washing Vs Machine Washing

Hand-washing is often the preferred method for washing knee braces, as it allows for more gentle and controlled cleaning. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add the mild detergent. Immerse your knee brace and gently agitate it to dislodge dirt and sweat. Pay special attention to the areas with Velcro straps and hinges, but handle them carefully. 

If you do choose to machine wash your knee brace, use a gentle cycle with cold or lukewarm water. Place the brace in a mesh laundry bag to protect it from tangling or snagging during the wash cycle. Avoid using bleach or strong detergents in the washing machine, as they can damage the brace's materials.

Drying Methods: Tips to Prevent Shrinkage and Damage

Can you wash a knee brace without shrinking or damaging it? Yes! The key lies in how you dry your knee brace. Air drying is the safest method for most knee braces. Lay the brace flat on a clean towel and gently pat it to remove excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the brace, as this can damage it.

Never use a high-heat dryer to dry your knee brace, as you may shrink the brace or damage the Velcro straps or hinges. Instead, allow the brace to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. If you must speed up the drying process, use a fan or a low heat setting in the dryer, but make sure to keep an eye on it.

More Advice on Caring For Your Knee Brace

Taking proper care of your knee brace is essential to ensure it remains in top condition and provides the support and comfort you need. In addition to regular cleaning, here are a few other things you can do to properly care for your knee brace. 

Preventive Maintenance Tips

Preventive maintenance is crucial for preserving the quality and longevity of your knee brace. Take the time to inspect your knee brace regularly. Check for any signs of wear, loose seams, or damaged components like Velcro straps or hinges. Addressing minor issues early can prevent them from escalating into more significant problems.

Always adhere to the manufacturer's care instructions, including washing guidelines, maintenance recommendations, and any restrictions on usage. If you use your knee brace regularly, consider rotating between multiple braces if you have them. This allows each brace to air out and dry thoroughly between uses, reducing the risk of odor and bacterial growth.

Storage When Not in Use

When you’re not using your knee brace, it’s important to store it properly. Always ensure your knee brace is completely dry before storing it, as moisture can lead to mildew and bacteria growth. Choose a clean and dry area to store your knee brace. Avoid storing it in places where it can come into contact with sharp objects or be bent, torn, or otherwise damaged.

Dealing with Common Issues: Stains, Tears, Loose Fittings

Despite your best efforts, your knee brace may encounter some issues over time. For stains, follow the cleaning steps mentioned earlier, and consider using a stain remover that is safe for the brace's material. Spot-test the stain remover on an inconspicuous area of your brace first.

Small tears or loose seams can often be repaired with fabric glue or needle and thread. Sometimes, loose fittings can also be repaired in this way, but other times you may need to contact the manufacturer to ask about replacement parts like Velcro straps or hinges. 

Even With a Proper Cleaning Regimen, Your Knee Brace May Be Beyond Saving

Even if you learn how to clean a knee brace properly, there may come a time when your brace has reached the end of its useful life. Depending on how long you wear a knee brace in a day, wear and tear can eventually take a toll on any brace, impacting its functionality and support. 

When to Replace Your Knee Brace: Signs of Wear and Tear

While knee braces are designed to be durable, they can only last so long. Check your knee brace regularly for any visible signs of damage, such as tears, fraying, or detached components. Significant wear in these areas may indicate that the brace can no longer provide the necessary support.

If you notice a decline in your brace's ability to support your knee or feel that it no longer offers the same level of compression, it may be due to the brace's worn-out materials. For compression sleeves and braces with elastic properties, loss of elasticity can be frustrating, as it’s difficult to keep your brace secured. If you’re constantly wondering how to keep a knee brace from sliding down, the issue likely lies in the elastic.

Ortho Bracing Has Your Replacement Knee Brace Waiting For You!

Learning how to wash a knee brace with hinges properly can extend the lifespan of your brace, but eventually, it will need replacing. When that time comes, Ortho Bracing is here to help you find the perfect replacement. 

We stock only the most reputable brands - you can find a Breg knee brace, Donjoy knee brace, or Breg Fusion knee brace for prices you won’t believe. Plus, our support team is available 24/7 to help you choose the best brace for your needs, and our next-day shipping means your replacement brace will be on the way before you know it. 

Ortho Bracing isn’t only your home for top-rated knee braces. One of the best ways to rehab a knee injury or recover from surgery is with cold therapy, and we have your every need covered. You can find the best cold therapy machines at Ortho Bracing to reduce post-surgery swelling, including Breg products, Donjoy products, Aircast products, and polar ice machines. We can also show you how to use Breg Polar Care Cube for knee treatment, and help you understand when you should use cold therapy during your rehab program. 

Whether you need a knee brace, cold therapy unit, or other orthopedic essentials, Ortho Bracing has the best selection of reliable products at prices you won’t see anywhere else.

Wrapping Up Our Guide on How to Clean a Knee Brace

Today, we’ve shown you how to clean a knee brace properly, to can extend the longevity of your brace and make sure it’s hygienic for every use. One of the most important things to remember when it comes to how to clean a knee brace is that each brand may have slightly different requirements. 

Following the manufacturer’s guidelines is key if you’re looking to preserve your brace for as long as possible. Don’t forget that how to wash a Breg knee brace isn’t the same as learning how to clean Donjoy knee braces - make sure you have the care instructions for your specific brace.

At Ortho Bracing, we have a great selection of knee braces from leading brands, at better prices than even your doctor can offer you. If you’re looking for a replacement knee brace that will stand the test of time, you won’t be disappointed when you invest in a quality brace from the recovery and rehab specialists at Ortho Bracing. 

Get your new knee brace from Ortho Bracing today, and see the difference in your recovery.