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How Elastic Strips Work and How to Take Care of Them so They Last

Posted by Kylie Naugle on 18th Oct 2016

The ability for all elastic strips to be stretched out and bounce back is provided by either the latex or spandex that is built into it. These expanding materials are held in place by nylon or other cloth material.

The Inner Workings of Elastic Strips

The latex or spandex is the stretchable component inside the elastic strips. This component needs to be woven into the other non-stretchable materials inside the strips. It is the weave that makes it possible for the latex to expand and contract while it interacts with the non-stretchable material that is present. Without this special weaving being utilized by the manufacturers of the elastic strips, their ability to stretch out and return would be severely inhibited.

Increasing the Longevity of the Elastic Strips Present in your Garments

Both the latex and spandex in the elastic strips that are used today can last for years, but if they are not properly cared for, they can lose their ability to remain flexible. It all depends on how the person treats the garments when they are worn and washed.

The most damaging thing a person can do to a garment that has elastic strips is to add bleach when washing the item. Bleach is a basic component, which means it has a pH greater than 7. The bleach dries out the latex or spandex inhibiting its ability to bounce back once it has been stretched out. Many people use bleach when washing their clothes, especially white undergarments, but this will damage the latex or spandex that is inside the elastic waistband. Sometimes bleach is necessary for stains, but it should be used sparingly to help extend the life of your elastics.

Another factor that can diminish the lifespan of your elastics is exposing them to heat. It is best to keep your elastics out of they dryer, but even hanging them out in the sun can cause damage. It is best to hang the clothing with the elastic parts towards the ground and away from the direct sunlight. If you must use a dryer, keep it on the low heat setting. The clothing will take longer to dry, but it will help keep the bounce in your elastics.

When it’s Time to Replace the Elastic Strips in your Garments

After so many washes, people start to notice the elastic in their clothing does not bounce back as it once did. The elastic material might even break. This happens when it becomes too dried out, and as of now, there is no known way to revitalize the elastic once it gets to this point. Unless you want to wear the now saggy clothes, it is time to replace the elastic strips. If you do not want to replace the strips, you can throw the item out and buy a new one, but the easiest thing to do is take proper care of your clothing and the elastics inside of them. This way your elastics last longer, and you can keep enjoying your clothes.