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So Fresh and So Clean: "How To Wash A Dance Costume" Video Tutorial

Posted by Trista on Jul 25, 2017


If we have to pick one single piece of advice it’s this: don’t be afraid to wash your costume!

We know, we know! The thought of something going wrong and potentially ruining your costume is enough to make you want to ignore the stinky mess! But not cleaning your costume can potentially cause more damage than just the smell factor.

Laundering your garment to promote longevity and to keep it sparkling fresh. With proper care, a well-constructed garment should last you several years. Rest assured, you can easily do it yourself without risking damage to your costume.

Check out the video tutorial and tips below from the experts in our laundry department on how to wash a dance costume, cheer uniform, or skating dress without worry!

How to Wash A Dance Costume or Skating Dress in 6 Basic Steps


do not dry clean

Step 1: Do Not Dry Clean

The thought of handing off the messy task to a professional may seem  enticing, but don’t even think about dry cleaning your costume!  

Why? The chemicals used in the dry cleaning process can actually damage specialty fabrics and adhesive applied finishes.  These items will all will all dull, reducing their sparkle factor: 

We’ve heard a few horror stories of all of the rhinestones falling off a costume after dry-cleaning. Considering the amount of time and energy it takes to apply stones by hand, re-stoning is a task no one would want to repeat! 



spot clean

Step 2: Spot Clean as Needed

Before washing, spot clean troublesome areas with a spot cleaner.  It’s best to use a product that is gentle and won’t damage your specialty fabrics.  

  • We DON'T recommend:
    • Shout 
    • Household detergents - they are too harsh and may leave permanent damage
    • Bleach - never use bleach!

For more advice on removing specific stains, check out these separate video tutorials:



hand wash

Step 3: Hand Wash

What's worse than a stinky or stained costume?  How about one that is ruined beyond repair. Regular hand washing can actually extend the life of your costume by removing perspiration and chemical residues (like hairspray and makeup), which promote wear and break down specialty fabrics.  

  1. What you'll need:
  2. Prepare a wash basin with cold water. This is crucial!
  3. Add detergent - Add a small amount of mild detergent such as Forever New or Dreft.
  4. Avoid harsh chemicals - we do not recommend using common household laundry detergents, even if they say they’re mild! And, it is important you do not use bleach!  Don’t be fooled by Woolite though, it’s not actually a mild soap! We don’t recommend it.
  5. Prevent color bleeding - If you have colors that could bleed, add ice, or Carbona Color Grabber to the basin.
  6. Use a mesh laundry bag - For garments with rhinestones, heat transfer sequin and vinyl turn the piece inside-out and place it in a garment bag before washing to protect against abrasion.  
  7. Wash gently - Place your garment in the prepared wash basin and gently scrub. Do not soak or leave your costume unattended while washing.
  8. Rinse with cold water to remove the soap.
  9. Remove excess water - Promptly remove your costume from the basin and gently ring and blot out excess water. You may need to use several light towels or a friend to help this process!  Continue until you have no excess water dripping from the garment! 



line dry

Step 4: Hang to Dry

Once the water has been properly removed from the garment, hang it in a dry area.  If you have multiple pieces, make sure to keep the garments separated. Never hang them together and avoid having them touch each other – especially with dark colors next to light colors.

And never put your costume in the dryer!  Your spandex-based fabric is made up of elastic fibers, meaning it will shrink when exposed to heat! Definitely not fun.



do not iron

Step 5: Do Not Iron - Use a Steamer

The best way to get any wrinkles out of your garment is to use a steamer! Whatever you do, don’t use an iron! Your specialty fabrics will melt if an iron is applied, leaving burn marks. 



line dryStep 6 - Clean & Dry Storage

The only way to store your garments should be to hang them in a garment bag. Avoid plastic or nylon bags, as these will trap odors,  letting them fester and grow. Please don’t throw them in your gym bag either!

We recommend hanging your costume in a breathable garment bag – believe it or not, a pillowcase with a hole cut at the top is a great option. And ALWAYS make sure your garments are dry before storing. Damp items will mold or mildew, and again, lead to a smelly mess. 



Hopefully this helps take away the anxiety of garment care - if you follow these 6 steps, you’ll have your garment "so fresh and so clean, clean" in no-time!

Still have anxiety about garment care or don't have time to tackle the job yourself? No worries! We’re equipped with a talented team of cleaning experts that can have your dance costume, skate dress, or cheerleading uniform sparkling in no time! Contact us to inquire about our washing services! 


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Topics: Garment Care, Budget Tips

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