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How to Care for Hosiery to Make It Last Longer

March 30, 2020 4 min read

It doesn’t matter if you spent $5 or $50 on them – discovering a snag in your stockings is never fun. But especially when you’ve invested in high-quality hosiery, a little TLC is so worth it to ensure it stays looking flawless for as many wears as possible.

Whether you are new to buying hosiery or just fed up of your purchases wearing out quickly, here’s our advice to keep your stockings, hold-ups and pantyhose in perfect condition.

Putting on stockings

Hosiery care: wearing

Use hosiery gloves

Hosiery gloves are an essential wardrobe accessory if you regularly wear sheer hosiery. These soft gloves provide protection while you’re putting it on or removing it, making sure you don’t put a nail through the delicate fabric, or snag it on a ring.

Scrunch and roll

Hosiery can be damaged through excessive tugging. Particularly-delicate styles such as silk stockings may even tear. The best way to put your hosiery on is to scrunch it all the way down to the toe and get that into position first, next roll it over your foot and up to your knee, and then do the same on the other leg before going higher. If they don’t reach where you want them to, don’t yank them up! Instead, roll them back down and start again, this time pulling a little more.

Wear socks with boots

Anywhere that your pantyhose or stockings are under friction, they’ll slowly wear down. Mostly, that means the areas around your heel and toes. Boots make it easy to hide a pair of socks over your hosiery, which will dramatically reduce the wear to them.

Buy reinforced styles

Obviously, putting socks over your hosiery isn’t feasible for most footwear styles. That’s why it pays to look for stockings and pantyhose that have reinforced toe and heel sections, meaning the fabric is a little thicker here for durability.

Avoid abrasive surfaces

This last one seems like common sense, but so many hosiery snags happen from absentmindedly brushing past furniture, or sitting on wooden benches. So when you have sheer or lace/net hosiery on (which is prone to catching on things), do your best to keep your legs away from anything rough!

Hosiery care: washing

Hand wash!

Hand washing is absolutely the best way to clean your hosiery, and needn’t take too much time. Just fill a sink or basin with water, swirl in some detergent, leave your hosiery to soak, and then rinse it clean. You can even buy specialist delicates detergents that don’t need rinsing out.

Use a wash bag

If you must use a washing machine, a mesh wash bag will be a small investment that pays for itself ten times over in how many pairs of stockings or pantyhose it saves from ruin! It protects the hosiery from snagging on other garments, plus reduces the build-up of lint.

Avoid hot temperatures

Regardless of how you choose to wash your hosiery, always use cold or lukewarm water. Most modern hosiery contains elastane, which is what gives it its stretchy, second-skin like fit. But high temperatures break down elastane, leading to pantyhose that slip down the hips and sag at the crotch. This is also why you should never, ever tumble-dry your hosiery, where even a ‘low heat’ setting is around 50°C.

Press, don’t wring

Before air-drying your hosiery, you’ll want to get as much excess water out as possible so it dries quickly and doesn’t drip. Although it’s tempting to wring it out, twisting hosiery can snap the elastane fibres. Instead, gently squeeze it or press it between a towel. Then, preferably, lay the hosiery flat to dry rather than hanging it so it doesn’t get stretched out.

Hosiery in drawer

Hosiery care: storage

No knotting!

Some people tie stockings together to keep them as a pair. Please don’t! This is another way that twisting hosiery can damage the elastic and cause it to lose its shape. There are better ways to avoid misplaced matching stockings, such as neatly folding the two legs together.

Use protective pouches or packaging

If you throw your hosiery in with the rest of the lingerie, there’s a chance that delicate styles could snag on bra hooks. Even if it has its own drawer, the drawer itself might have some rough edges! So to take really good care of your hosiery, pop it back inside its original packaging, or use fabric storage pouches.

Run in pantyhose

And if it does get damaged?

Smooth snags away

If the snag is very minor, you may be able to pull or ‘massage’ the weave back into place. Gently pull on either side of the snag, in the direction of the yarn, and if it remains visible try simply rubbing the area.

Clear nail polish

Dabbing a little clear nail polish onto a tear can prevent it from getting bigger or turning into a ladder. However, it will show so use the polish sparingly.

Darn holes if you can

People did it in the past, why not today? With a needle and thread, many hosiery holes are fixable. Darning works best on opaque hosiery and when the hole is at the toe or below the foot, where your stitches will be less visible.  

How do you care for your hosiery? Share your best tips in the comments below!


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